Technology is expanding at an unprecedented pace, including future artificial intelligence efficiencies. After lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, many practice owners are investing in the many tools now available to maximize their treatment options and further enhance the overall customer experience for their patients.
For any business, it can be challenging to decide whether or when to invest in new technology. However, spending money upfront on the right technology can save money in the long run and even increase practice revenue. Dental practices also can increase patient satisfaction by investing in technology.
When evaluating whether your practice might benefit from new technology, here are a few things to consider.
1. New pandemic priorities
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many practices purchased new equipment that helped them prioritize the health and safety of their patients and staff.
Air filtration systems and other aerosol reduction products promote more effective air management. Meanwhile, all tissue lasers significantly reduce aerosols, kill viruses and bacteria on contact, and improve efficiency, while eliminating patient discomfort in many dental procedures.
Also, teledentistry tools now permit dental practices to conduct virtual patient consults. Teledentistry offers convenient options to various groups of at-risk patients and also enables dentists to prescreen patients, prioritize patient appointments, triage emergencies, and provide follow-up remote visits.
2. Patients' evolving needs
The preferences and priorities of patients were already evolving, and the COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated patients' changing needs.
In response, practices need a more robust, cohesive, and increasingly automated patient communication strategy. This includes communicating what patients will experience before they even enter the office -- from enhanced safety protocols to flexible financial solutions.
Changing communication demands means practices should consider implementing new digital practice management tools and workflow solutions, such as online booking and bill payment, virtual waiting rooms, and contactless checkout. These new creative strategies and business models embrace remote and other technological solutions, resulting in the simplification and enhancement of dental practice efficiency and patient satisfaction.
Practice management and cloud-hosting systems also help to cut down on operational costs, leading to better patient care and workflows as well as more secure confidential patient files.
3. Customer convenience
Time has always been valuable to patients. But during the pandemic, fewer patients visiting the office for comprehensive treatment also means increased safety for patients and staff.
CAD/CAM technology offers same-day dentistry and precise treatment, making it easy for patients to get crowns and bridges in one visit to the dental office. The use of this digital technology can create a seamless workflow and offer more convenience for patients.
Additionally, digital radiology is no longer the future of dental care, but an expected standard of care. Digital x-rays not only reduce radiation exposure but also put patient comfort at the forefront. Combining that technology with digital charts enhances diagnostic capabilities, treatment options, and the storage, preservation, and retrieval of all patient records and radiographs.
In response to an increased threat of cyberattacks and ransomware issues, many dental practices are moving their data to cloud-based encrypted backup storage systems. Thus, these practices can meet HIPAA compliance measures to safeguard sensitive patient information.
5. Return on investment
The most important aspect of technology adoption is the understanding that the long-term value and benefits outweigh the costs and required training. It is important to determine if the return on investment will be worth the expense and provide benefits to patient care.
Dan Croft has been the head of TD Bank's Healthcare Practice Solutions Group since 2014. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing and growing TD Bank's healthcare practice finance business, which assists dentists, veterinarians, optometrists, physicians, and podiatrists in choosing sound financial solutions for their practices. Croft has more than 20 years of experience.
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.