The 4 key questions to ask before investing in new technologies

September 21, 2015
Dr. Roger P. Levin
Dr. Roger P. Levin
Dr. Roger P. Levin

Dr. Roger P. Levin is the CEO of Levin Group, a leading dental management consulting firm. Founded in 1985, Levin Group has worked with over 30,000 dental practices. Dr. Levin is one of the most sought-after speakers in dentistry and is a leading authority on dental practice success and sustainable growth. Through extensive research and cutting-edge innovation, Dr. Levin is a recognized expert on propelling practices into the top 10 percent. He has authored 65 books and over 4,000 articles on dental practice management and marketing. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Time magazine and is the creator of the Levin Group Tip of the Day, which has over 30,000 subscribers. To contact Dr. Levin, visit www.levingroup.com or email rlevin@levingroup.com.

Decisions about whether to purchase new technology for your dental practice have become more challenging for two reasons.

 

Decisions about whether to purchase new technology for your dental practice have become more challenging for two reasons. On one hand, emerging technologies are more alluring than ever, seemingly offering unprecedented benefits for you, your staff and your patients. On the other, today’s tight, unforgiving dental market leaves little financial margin for error. An unwise investment in what seems like breakthrough technology might end up breaking the bank.

There are undoubtedly new products out there right now that will prove to be game changers for dental practices in terms of patient care and overall satisfaction, as well as operating efficiency and profitability. The question is, which ones?

You’ll have to come up with the right answers for your office, based on your particular situation and goals, but there are four general standards of judgment you can apply no matter what technology you’re considering.

Related reading: 5 ways technology improves your dental practice

1. Will it improve (or at least not reduce) the quality of patient care?

Any technology that promises to benefit patients probably merits a closer look. But beware of exaggerated claims and unintended consequences. Some improvements are not worth the cost or effort they will require, and what you gain in one area may be

undermined by losses in another. Before buying, take the time to investigate supposed benefits, and think through all aspects of using the new technology.

2. Will it increase your and your staff’s speed and efficiency?

If you can find ways to streamline procedures without reducing the quality of clinical care and if new technologies will enable team members to perform their jobs better without undermining customer service, then you may be looking at worthwhile upgrades for your

practice. It’s only natural for manufacturers to present what they’re selling in glowing terms. It’s only proper for you to scrutinize all such claims closely. Make sure the new technology will have a positive impact on performance.

Hot read: How technology saves your practice time and money

 

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3. Will there be a significant return on investment in a reasonable amount of time?

Note that I’m not saying simply, “Will there be a return on investment?” It should be significant and not incidental. And it should materialize within a short period of time and not years down the road. The right technology should improve your bottom line almost immediately.

4. Will you and your staff be able to master the new technology quickly?

If it takes new skills and systems to make the most of something new, be realistic about the true costs of climbing that learning curve. When calculating ROI, factor in training and startup expenses.

More on saving money: 3 ways ignoring patient complaints is costing your money

To ensure you identify truly beneficial new technology that will somehow improve your practice, ask yourself those four questions, along with this one: Does it solve a problem you actually have?

Note: GP Seminar Savings: Save $100 on a two-day seminar or $50 on a one-day seminar by Dr. Levin when you register 30 days in advance. Choose your seminar and get your savings here.

More on technology: 5 reasons to upgrade your technology to the cloud