So you think you need or want a new piece of dental equipment? As dentists, we love the cool scientific advances that occur in our industry annually. It seems that, from the beginning of our careers, new and improved techniques and equipment are constantly evolving. The manufacturers create products to help us diagnose easier, perform our procedures more efficiently, get better clinical and long-term results, and give our patients a more comfortable experience.
So when your repair bill is getting out of hand or you are seeing the repair technician almost weekly, it's common sense to know that it's time to upgrade your equipment.
Reasons many dentists make upgrades
You also may have other reasons why you buy equipment and technology. These could include the following:
- You want to differentiate your practice in the community. After all, you can be the first to own and promote it internally and market it externally.
- You would like to offer more services to your patient base, and the purchase allows you to deliver those services.
- You would like to appeal to a high-tech clientele who want timely, efficient, and state-of-the-art treatment.
- You don't want to fall behind the times. After all, obsolete offices do not appeal to millennials or future buyers.
- You believe it will allow you to perform additional billable services that you currently refer out of your office.
- It will save you time. An example was the change from halogen to LED curing lights.
- It will give you better clinical results, such as adding diode lasers in your hygiene department.
Reasons many dentists don't make upgrades
What are some reasons not to buy the newest technology or the latest and greatest?
- Is the learning curve too steep? How long will it take for you to master the technology? Can you get training in your own office?
- Will your team members embrace it? Will they embrace it more if you provide training?
- How long has the company/manufacturer been around? What is their customer service like? Do they have loaners if you have a problem? What about warranties?
- How long will it take to earn back your investment? Will you be able to make a profit before you've paid off the cost?
- Will you use it? If it is not already set up or located in another room, does it become too much bother to get it?
- Can you afford it? What are the options in terms of leasing, purchasing, and/or financing?
The above questions require you to do some reflection. Only you know if you will implement and integrate it into the flow of your office routines.
An ROI for your practice
What does a return on investment (ROI) really mean for your practice? Financially, look at what profits you will generate divided by the cost of the investment. How many "x" will you have to perform to make the monthly payment? Is it doable or will it be a strain?
It's just like a new car. We get excited about it and we drive it with a smile on our face. However, there is a cost associated with owning and operating it.
When it comes to dental equipment, many consultants will tell you to buy it only if it will make you money. The making of money can be done by saving you time, doing and keeping procedures in your office, and, less obviously, the marketing value internally. If you do any external marketing, please make sure you highlight the new technology and state the benefit to the patient in your message.
7 actions to ensure a successful ROI
Once the new equipment or technology is in your office, here are seven things to do to ensure a successful ROI:
- When it comes to equipment/technology, train your team online or live on how to use it, maintain it, and explain the benefits to the patients.
- Set your fees and list all the procedures you can do with this equipment/technology and inform your administrative team to bill out accordingly.
- Find opportunities and cases to utilize the equipment.
- Track cases (do this from the very start).
- Track your ROI in your practice management software.
- Educate your patients and create a perception of being a state-of-the-art practice.
- Use it!
Dr. Jeanette Kern is an expert in the fields of cosmetic and restorative dentistry. Armed with more than 40 years of experience in the dental industry as a hygienist, associate, and practice owner, her unique perspective helps current dentists bust through their blocks and grow their practice's profitability with passion. Kern created the Profitable Dental Academy, which offers an online mentoring course to guide dentists in making the practice of their dreams.
The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.