Automate, Automate, Automate…

February 23, 2007

It’s good to know we are not alone in our quest to make sense of technology for dentists….as a critical tool for improving everything in their operation (not just patient acquisition).

Today the Wall Street Journal ran a front page story about micropractices, which said “Some physicians and institutions are trying to harness technology to make family practices more manageable and profitable for doctors.” Amen to that, I say.

Well, I’ve got news for you: Dentists need to do this, too! In fact, in this competitive day and age, dentists have no choice. The bigger message dentists should take away from this article is that technology is not an add-on anymore, it’s a necessity if you want to improve your practice’s profitability, growth, and customer satisfaction.

Here’s why…tech can help you improve your patient experience from start to finish…from finding you, to the reminder platform for appointments, ongoing newsletters made easy, customized wellness mailings based on diagnosis, getting timely feedback from your patients, sharing with them positive anecdotes, creating two-way communication via ‘ask the dentist’ features on a web-site, etc…

It helps you with profitability as you can better plan your days and utilization of your time and your staff, you can process your claims faster (one of our board members Fred Horowitz has a great electronic claims management company named www.ansdirect.com – one of many players in the area but they help dentists get reimbursed much faster, lessen the hassle of dealing with the carriers, etc…), reduce appointment no-shows, and lower the costs of mailings, etc…Fred’s so passionate about it, he leads an industry association on the topic http://www.cooperativeexchange.org/

Personally, as a happy dental patient (thank you Dr. Tedford), I can tell you that I appreciate immediate access to tips from my dentist, emergency questions and answers, targeted content, etc…if you are not thinking about this, someone else will.

And it’s great to see more and more dentists—and reporters—finally coming around to this reality. Over on The Solo Practitioner blog, Dr. Vincent Pedre is spot-on in his passionate assessment of micropractices. I couldn’t agree more that modern technology makes it easier to achieve an ideal practice environment without extra staff or expenses.

Dental Practice Report had an article in the February issue by Keith Rossein that starts with….”Can a dental practice exist without a dot.com presence in 2007? Yes, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult.” Keith’s right.

Notice a trend here? We sure do and are happy to be a part of it. Just this week, I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Jackson of Planet DDS( http://www.planetdds.com/ ). They have built a web-based practice management platform that is much less expensive and easier to manage than the old software platforms dentists used to have to install (it’s the ASP model for those of you who know the jargon). If you are a dentist and you haven’t seen it, you should. Because it is hosted by them (think of your e-mail, which you can access securely from any computer with an internet connection), they can constantly upgrade it and improve it without the hassle of re-installing the software.

Be sure to watch this space to hear first-hand commentary from Chicago dentists who are using these technologies and more (including BRINGOdentist.com, of course!), and will discuss the benefits, challenges, and tips to using technology in your practice. There’s lots of good stuff just becoming available. The wave is building (so are the cliche’s).

Okay, that’s all for now. It’s Chicago and the midwinter meeting. I should be shmoozing, not posting.

Yours,

Mark

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