Do We Really Need Dental Technology?
If you’re like most dental offices, you’re probably bombarded by vendors that promise if you sign with them, you’ll:
- Produce more results
- Have more time
- Save thousands of dollars
- Show up at the top of Google
- Acquire 50 new patients a week
Did I mention you also still have the daily “to-do” list?
But, let me be clear.
I’m not saying these programs don’t work – they are critical.
Who has the time to compare each one to determine which is the right fit?
I need all my time in the office spent on patient care.
So let’s look at all the different areas of technology that we use each day; if we were to lose its use suddenly, we would be lost.
This may include:
- Dental office software
- Digital x-rays
- Appointment reminders
- Credit card processing
- Patient communications such as the telephone system
- The internet (our world as we know it stops)
So how do we determine if we pick the technology that’s good, better, best, or simply what works for our office structure?
I’ve broken each area down when it comes to implementing new technology in your office.
Keep reading to learn these tips on how to make your dental office stronger.
The main structure in dental technology is your phone system and internet access.
Both are crucial to our daily routines and must be the best, most reliable, or best available.
When looking into the newest technology, the decision boils down to the use of fiber, cloud, or landlines.
Fiber connection is what I chose for the internet simply because if Mother Nature decides that we need some wind damage or flooding, the fiber is not affected; we can still communicate with our patients.
The next step is software, a necessary investment for the practice.
Ease of use is the most important component. The next is cost.
Then there is compatibility; what the practice can start with and upgrade as needed, or move to a completely different platform without losing important patient information during the integration.
Another component to consider is the capability of expansion as the practice grows.
Many add-on options can be considered as well, such as:
- Dental website
- Patient communication
- Payment processing
- And more
I suggest narrowing your choices down to the top three, then comparing side by side for:
- Customer service
There’s no wrong choice – only which is best for your organization.
A constant process
Technology is changing nearly every week.
The frustration lies in what we have versus what is newly developed.
There’s always something newer and better that will make our workday flow smoothly; however, the time put into the research is little to no time at all.
I recently implemented two new policies that I feel confident will help eliminate some frustration and confusion.
The first is to pick 90 minutes one day a month to hear about new and improved technology.
All appointments are set up as computer meetings, preferably after an email from the vendor outlining the product, and I have questions written down before the call.
Secondly, I ask the vendor to give me 30 days before they contact us again for our decision to move forward or decline.
Some state that they have a special running for two weeks only; I simply state that if that is a stipulation, I’ll politely decline.
This allows us to look at our current products and the cost before rendering a decision.
What’s best for YOU?
The world of technology in the dental field is rapidly evolving.
We simply cannot buy or subscribe to everything out there, or our offices would all be bankrupt.
Try evaluating what you are using now once every quarter, and if you see that the cost outweighs the benefits, it’s time to try something new.
Many resources can help guide you (AADOM is my first go-to). There are even some that will provide company negotiating with your credit card processor to ensure the lowest possible rate for your office.
We have better things to do (like patient care) rather than allow technology to get in the way.
Remember that technology’s goal in the dental office is to provide excellent patient care, not complicate it.
Meet the Author
Cindy McCourt, MS, FAADOM, began her career in 1981 as a dental assistant and in 2021 celebrated 40 years in dentistry.
She currently serves as the Practice Manager for Lake Highlands Dental, a private multi-specialty practice in Dallas, Texas. Cindy holds a degree in Business and a master’s degree in Management.
She was inducted as an AADOM Fellow in 2017 and will be inducted into the 2022 class of AADOM Masters. In addition, she received AADOM’s Practice Administrator of Distinction Award in 2017 and 2018, and the Dental Practice of the Year Award from Dentrix in 2019.
Cindy has a passion for helping people and serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in foster care.