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Dr. Lorne Lavine, founder and president of The Digital Dentist, has more than 30 years invested in the dental and dental technology fields. A graduate of USC, he earned his DMD from Boston University and completed his residency at the Eastman Dental Center in Rochester, N.Y. He received his specialty training at the University of Washington and went into private practice in Vermont until moving to California in 2002 to establish TDD, a company that focuses on the specialized technological and HIPAA needs of the dental community. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 866-204-3398.
Cloud computing is already a dominating technology. Here's why you should utilize it for your dental practice.
Most people are confused by the concept of the cloud-but you’re already using it every day.
As anyone who has to use technology daily knows (and that applies to everyone reading this article!), technology is a quickly moving target. Technologies that seemed so fresh and new just a few short years ago now seem passé and outdated. However, one concept has emerged that can help to future proof technologies - cloud computing.
What, exactly, is the cloud? The answer really depends on who you ask. In a recent survey conducted by a dental magazine, doctors were asked "what are the general benefits of using the cloud to manage your practice?" Unfortunately, more than half of the respondents said that they don’t know what the cloud is. Many people are unaware that you’ve probably already been using the cloud for years. We use the cloud every day when we access the Internet to shop online, to bank online, to buy a plane ticket, send mail using Gmail or socialize via Facebook.
In its simplest terms, the cloud means web-based applications. To expand on that, it means that the programs that you would normally install and run on your computer are instead installed on high-end servers at another location. To access those programs, you simply need an interface to the data, and in almost all cases, this is a web-browser, such as Edge, Firefox or Chrome. So, you’re using the Internet to access the programs and files that you want to use.
So, now that you know what the cloud is, what are the benefits of using the cloud? Well, here are just a few that most cloud users already know:
So, there are obvious benefits to using cloud applications in our non-dental lives, but what about our dental practices? Does the cloud make sense for a dentist? In a word - yes! A well–designed dental cloud application can easily handle all the basic functions of a dental office, such as scheduling, billing and charting.
One area where many dental cloud-based programs have fallen short is the ability to handle real-time management of images such as digital x-rays. However, that is changing as many of them, such as Dentrix Ascend, have released image management modules that will work with multiple sensors.
As I already mentioned, cloud-based dental programs eliminate many of the hassles of running a modern dental practice, such as software installation, IT support, and not needing to handle data backup or remote access software.
I’m often asked if cloud-based dental software is the future - and my answer is usually no! Why? Because the cloud is here now and has been here for some time. It’s not the future, it’s the present, and dental offices should seriously consider these types of programs if they want to future-proof themselves.