If your dental practice is running on Windows XP you may have some security issues come next year. Microsoft recently announced that effective April 8, 2014, it will no longer release any security patches or extend support for its Windows XP operating system. What does this mean for your dental practice? If your practice is running Windows XP on its computers, you will need to upgrade to the Windows 7 or Windows 8 operating system to stay compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) laws.
Maintaining HIPAA and HITECH Compliance
What should you do to ensure you remain compliant with HIPAA and HITECH? Here are a few things you can do:
- Perform an audit on your dental practice’s IT systems to determine if you have Windows XP running on your systems.
- If you find that you have Windows XP in your practice, determine what computers have it and what computers have the ability to run a newer operating system.
- For those computers that are unable to run a newer operating system, you may have to decide whether or not to replace those computers with newer ones.
- Consider the prospect of virtualization, and how it could cut costs for your practice.
If you find your dental practice is in a position where it needs to upgrade or replace its computer operating systems to stay compliant, it’s best you start the process sooner than later. The amount of time and effort that this project could cost your practice is potentially high, but is outweighed by the liability you could face from HIPAA and HITECH. To further assist you in your upgrade/compliance efforts, check out this Microsoft support site to determine if your computer(s) can run Windows 8 (the newest operating system).
Contact Our Dental Practice Professionals
This news may raise some concerns for your dental practice and can be overwhelming if you have to make changes. If you need help, contact Rea & Associates. Our team of Bright Dental CPAs can help you get through it and determine the steps you need to take to ensure compliance.