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    How to transform a dental practice from low-tech to high-tech

    Still walking the analog path? It’s time to take the plunge. Here’s how to easily move to the digital highway.

     

    It’s not really difficult or time-consuming to do once you get used to it. Remember also that nothing really builds success quite like having success. That means that in a very short time, everyone is going to be loving this, and that just makes the rest of the process easier.

    Once charting is accepted, move to imaging
    By this, I mean either/or/both digital radiography and intraoral cameras. The power of seeing things on a screen cannot be disregarded.  Patients look at screens all day everyday, and they expect to see it in health care, as well. This is an area that cannot be emphasized enough.

    Also, when the clinical team starts to see things on a computer screen, you and it will begin to see and explain things much better. That means referrals and production go up, and staff/doctor satisfaction will follow. Trust me; this is a win/win/win.

    More from Dr. Flucke: How to ensure the entire dental team is on board with technology

    Research your choices
    By this, I mean that each dental software usually has some hardware, such as sensors, they work better with than others.

    Contact your dental software providers and ask them what your best choices are. The software companies want you to be successful and will be more than thrilled to help you with this decision. The last thing you want to do is to increase efficiency and then reduce it again by not bringing in the right hardware.

    If you are going to be spending this kind of money, please be sure to spend it wisely.

    Make sure you get up to speed
    Remember about eating the elephant one bite at a time. Make sure you and your staff members are very comfortable with existing technologies before adding more. If you don’t follow this rule, staff and doctor frustration can follow.

    Related reading: 5 technologies your practice needs to invest in now

    Continue reading on Page 3 ...

    The easiest way for technology to fail is to overwhelm people with it.  Humans are creatures of habit, and if we cannot use new technology comfortably, the easiest solution people have is to go back doing things the way they used to. That means your technology will now gather dust.

    Include the team
    Always try to keep in mind the “who” in who will use this the most. If it is something the staff will use much more than the doctor, remember to include these members in the decision-making process.

    Now, I understand the doctor is paying for it, but the staff has to “use” it.  If you get its buy-in of the idea before the purchase, you’ve just overcome one more hurdle.

    Also, listen to your team members. They want you successful, and they don’t want to slow things down.

    More from Dr. Flucke: How DEXIS CariVu changed his practice for the better

    Wrapping up
    So there you are: A quick guide to getting your office digitally “up to speed.”
    The main reasons against technology that I hear are costs and that it doesn’t really help that much. For those of you thinking along those lines, I’d remind you of dial telephones, no remotes and fax machines. Anyone want those as state-of-the-art today? 

    About the author
    John Flucke, DDS, is the chief dental editor and technology editor for Dental Products Report and dentistry’s “technology evangelist.” He practices in Lee’s Summit, Mo., and has followed his passions for both dentistry and technology to become a respected speaker and clinical tester of the latest in dental technology with a focus on things that provide better care and better experiences for patients. He blogs about technology and life at blog.denticle.com.

    Related reading: A change whose time has clearly come: Implementing new technology

    Dr. John Flucke
    Dr. John Flucke is in private practice in Lee’s Summit, Mo. He also serves as technology editor for Dental Products Report magazine and ...

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