So you want to be a practice owner someday: Developing a technology plan

Editor’s note: This is the fourth article in a summer series of New Dentist Now blog posts on practice ownership. To read other articles from the series, click here.

Dental technologies have evolved at a remarkable pace over the past decade due to the digitization of medical equipment. While the investment in digital technology can be significant, the benefits are real, and many – from increased production and expanded services, to improved administrative efficiencies and greater patient comfort, according to Wells Fargo Practice Finance, the practice lender endorsed by ADA Business Resources. In fact, the goal for every new dentist today should be a fully digitized practice that makes one-day dentistry possible.

Jumping into the ‘digital waterfall’

There is a tangible connection between integrating new technologies as they become available, and positioning your business for future success. One way to ensure you are not left behind in the face of advancing technology is to jump head-first into the “digital waterfall” – a sequence of digitized dental solutions that typically occurs in phases and forms the basis for the transition to a fully digitized practice. Each phase of the digital waterfall lays the foundation for the next.

SIX PHASES OF THE DIGITAL WATERFALL

Phase

Digital System Outcome

1

System hardware Network construction with offsite backup

2

Practice management software Computerized patient information and website templates

3

Patient clinical records Ability to create a digital patient record (electronic health record or EHR)

4

Digital imaging Digital radiography and oral x-rays, for example

5

CAD/CAM impressions Capturing dental impressions digitally, eliminating molds

6

3D digital imaging Unlimited views of the bone structure of the teeth, face and neck

 

No matter where you are in digitizing your practice, work with your equipment supplier to create a technology plan with a key investment perhaps every three to five years. As you work towards a full digital platform for your practice, you will find you are not only more effective in treating your patients, but more competitive as well.

 

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