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Recently, more and more labs have been switching to cloud-based management software. One of the options availble for labs is LabStar. We recently spoke with Jeffrey Noles, CEO of LabStar, about his company's innovations, why labs should turn to the cloud and how lab owners can be assured of online security.
1. What were you hearing from the dental lab industry that made you decide to start LabStar?
LabStar is four years old. Starting in the summer of 2010, we spent 18 months collecting and adjusting LabStar according to weekly feedback from six labs. It was a hectic but ideal way to build lab software from scratch: constant feedback from operating dental labs. It helped us build our current momentum-over 100 labs signed up for LabStar in 2013. What really attracted me to the dental lab industry was that although labs were unhappy with their software, existing providers weren’t being pushed to improve. For a technologist it was an ideal opportunity: build a cutting-edge software business in an industry eager for better options.
Related: Read the impetus behind the name "LabStar"
2. What’s your professional background? How did you bring that experience to the lab market?
For the past 20 years, I’ve managed technology businesses ranging from eBay’s Asia Pacific customer support to a small e-commerce website. In 2007, I set up and operated a dental lab serving about 100 offices affiliated with a very large dental practice management group. We delivered 40,000 crown units in a year … and we learned A LOT of lessons about running a dental lab-especially the importance of proactive client management. We incorporated those lessons in the design of LabStar.
3. Why is management software important for the dental lab?
LabStar helps dental labs in two ways: 1) By increasing overall efficiency and 2) by transforming client relationships. The first is what lab software should do-help labs create, manage, invoice, ship and document hundreds if not thousands of cases each month. The second is just as important but often overlooked: creating new channels to communicate and interact with your clients to build loyalty for the long term.
4. Why is having management software in the cloud important for the dental lab?
Using cloud software means strengthening data security, increasing the number of data backups, reducing IT expenses by moving servers into the cloud, accessing your software from anywhere, connecting seamlessly to other services such as credit card processing or shipment tracking, and always using the most updated software. Put simply, cloud-based lab software is easier, less expensive, and more secure than older in-house software.
5. How does LabStar help the lab tech manage his/her workflow?
We spend a lot of time designing easy-to-use workflows that each lab can customize. Labs assign technicians to certain cases and/or tasks. Technicians use LabStar to move cases through customized workflows with barcodes, checkboxes or touchscreens on tablets.
6. What have you heard from clients who have been using LabStar?
The most consistent feedback is about LabStar’s ease-of-use. We’re the only lab software to really invest in software design-our team includes a full-time designer whose only job is to make LabStar easy to use. Our customers also love the client portals since it’s such a powerful sales and loyalty tool with their doctors.
Turn to page 18 in this issue of DLP to learn more about how cloud computing is pushing labs forward
7. How can LabStar help labs bring in more clients, and better serve their existing client base?
LabStar’s dental lab-specific CRM features help labs find and recruit new clients. For serving existing clients, the most popular feature is the client portal-labs love the portals because they cut down on unnecessary phone calls … clients love the portals since they can create their own cases, track case status, look up and print invoices, make credit card payments and more.
8. Plenty has been written about hacking scandals. How do you ensure security for LabStar?
LabStar is hosted on the Amazon hosting platform using secure, hardened databases with full encryption between the user’s browser and our servers. It’s HIPAA-compliant and we quadruple backup our data three times each day. With our current security and backup configuration, Amazon reckons they might lose one data object every half million years.
Related: Keeping your data safe on the cloud
9. What makes LabStar stand out among the competition?
LabStar connects everything dental-dental labs, dentists, digital dentistry, credit card processing, UPS/FedEx and anything else that will help make our customers succeed. LabStar is easy to use, cloud-based, and evolving with our labs-when a lab signs up, they can expect to stay at the cutting edge of technology and usability. And unique among dental lab software, our tiered pricing structure aligns our incentives with our customers since we succeed only when our labs succeed.
10. What does the future hold for LabStar?
We are a growing company and we’re committed to growing with our customers. As we cement our leadership role with dental lab software we’re on track to sign up 100 more dental labs in 2014. We’re eager to help dental labs thrive and grow, so please contact us for a personalized demo!