I recently celebrated my 10 year anniversary in Orthodontics, yikes, and I started thinking about the changes that I have seen in the market and in my thought process.
I attended a dental technology conference 2 years ago and heard a statement that has stuck with me. The CEO of Sirona said that the single most important thing about technology are the integrations tying the technology together and not the technology itself. This absolutely blew my mind because it is 100% true..and it came from the CEO of a company that spends millions a year on developing/researching technology.
His example…When you go to Apple and you decide to buy a product, you are not walking to the front of the store to pay for the item. The SECOND you decide to buy an Apple product they take your credit card and charge you at the very spot you made that decision. They walk the product to you and you walk out the door. There process is absolutely seamless…there is no wasted time, or steps, in between you wanting the product and you getting the product. THIS should be the model that you follow when buying/implementing technology into your practice.
Bottom line..having/implementing a technology is completely different than having a SYSTEM. A system is defined as a combination of related parts organized into a complex whole. People will often buy a new technology at a show (i.e. intraoral scanners) with no idea how they are going to implement that new technology into their office. Was the ‘show savings’ worth the disruption this new technology may cause to office flow without a plan to implement it?
Dental Technology Terms
There are two terms that are thrown around A LOT in this industry and it is extremely important to know the difference.
Bridge: This requires a common language to pass information from one technology to another. Your digital x-ray uses a bridge, called a TWAIN interface, to capture x-rays directly into your software.
Integration: This happens when the technology you want to use works with your other systems in a transparent manner. This happens when offices use AnywhereDolphin, Dolphin Mobile, Emdeon, X-Charge, Orthobanc, Vanco, etc. and their system ‘just works’.
In the ideal world every piece of technology you own would be integrated together, but we all know the world is not perfect. So, we are forced to utilize 2, or more, separate systems or hope for some type of bridge/integration with the systems we already own.
Think of all the different steps that are completed with each patient that walks through your door. Each step has multiple technologies that you may rely on as part of your system. This could include online health history forms, x-ray systems, impression systems, billing systems, insurance systems, bracket/treatment systems, online systems, etc. By changing a single technology along the way, how do the other steps change?
What Technology will You Buy Next?
In my January Poll about technology…folks were interested in Digital Models, Tablets, 3D printers and Cloud Services.
Digital models may change: the way you market your practice, storage, your patient flow, insurance, support agreements, software, staff assignments.
Cloud software may change every single integration you have in your practice…this may be good or bad. As I have mentioned in my previous post…Cloud is not for everyone.
There is no such thing as a simple change…every change is significant in a practice with systems in place that are being executed.
Your practice management/imaging system SHOULD tie all of your technologies together in some way. My favorite thing about working at Dolphin is that we have a solution for virtually every piece of technology available on the market today. I have been here for 5 years and I feel like I learn something new about our system every day…and I have seen what we have behind the curtain…trust me when I say that we have some game changing tools on the horizon!!! If you have registered for the 2014 Users Meeting in Chicago, it is completely sold out at this point, you will know exactly what I am talking about. If not, you will see it soon! 🙂