How Patient Data Gets Stolen in Dental Practices


Password security: It's a simple concept. Make sure each member of your dental practice team has their own password for accessing patient information.

According to Pat Little, D.D.S., F.A.G.D., C.F.E., CEO and Founder of Dental Risk Concepts and Prosperident, many dentists don’t take this simple step to make sure their patient data is secure. In this clip, Little discusses this common error and others that dentists are making.

Interview Transcript (Modified for Readability)

“One of the more common oversights I see in the dental office setting is password security. As simple as that is, and as long as we’ve been dealing with passwords, it is amazing how lax we still are in our password security. I would say, first and foremost, make sure you have secure passwords. But what’s amazing is I go into so many dental offices and they’re either not using passwords, or everyone in the office is using the same username and password because it’s more convenient that way. The problem is anybody can get access to that computer — potentially even a patient. Sometimes, when patients are left unattended in a treatment room, they have access to the computer.

But really, a lot of hacking that goes on exterior to the dental office, they’re not really brilliant hackers. They just have to be able to guess simple passwords or simple security questions.

That’s an issue. Being overheard saying things on the telephone so that someone in the reception area can overhear it. Just leaving charts out in the open. Phishing attempts — one of the more common ways to have identity compromised now is receiving emails from somebody you think is from a bigger company, for example, or maybe an attorney. It looks official, and because they’re in such a hurry, they just assume it’s OK. They click on the link and now they’ve opened themselves up to exposing all of their data on their server.

Really, I would say passwords and phishing attempts are your more common methods right now of getting hit with identity theft.”

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