How to maximize technology purchases

By Sally McKenzie, contributing writer

May 9, 2016 -- It's easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest dental technologies. After all, they promise to increase productivity and grow your bottom line, all while enabling you to deliver top-notch patient care.

Sally McKenzie
Sally McKenzie, CEO of McKenzie Management.

The problem is, all this only happens if you actually use the technology you purchase. All too often, dentists invest in high-tech gadgets only for them to sit in the corner unused or hidden away in a forgotten closet.

You can't just buy new products or equipment and expect them to change your practice. You need a plan to implement those products into your practice and provide team members with the training and confidence they need to use them.

Ready to start getting the most out of your technology purchases? Here's how.

Develop a plan

Many dentists buy a new technology simply because it sounds cool or promises to boost their bottom line. Before you make a large investment, think about how the technology will actually benefit your patients and your practice. From there, develop a plan to integrate the technology into your practice.

Ask yourself a few questions

Do you really need that new technology you're considering, or will it just be a waste of money and source of frustration? Ask yourself these key questions to find out:

“You need a plan to implement those products into your practice and provide team members with the training and confidence they need to use them.”
  • How do I plan to use the technology?
  • How much do I plan to invest?
  • How will I measure return on investment?

That last question is key. Make sure you understand how much the new technology will cost, how quickly you can recover that cost, and how your practice will benefit financially from the investment over time. Knowing the long-term financial benefits is vital. You're likely going to spend thousands of dollars on this technology, so it's important to evaluate your anticipated return. Once you do, you might discover the technology isn't the best fit for your practice after all, saving yourself a lot of money and heartache down the road.

Evaluate your practice systems

If you invest in the right technology, it could do a lot to invigorate struggling systems. Determine which systems need the most improvement, and then buy products and equipment that will bring the most benefit to those systems.

Have a budget

Don't feel like you have to invest in every technology you're interested in all at the same time. You have a long career ahead of you, and you'll be purchasing new technologies throughout it. Just remember to establish a budget and stick to it so you don't get in over your head.

Remember the costs don't stop after the initial investment

When you invest in new equipment, software, or hardware, you can expect other costs to come with the purchase. Do your research to make sure these extra costs don't take you off guard. So what are some of these hidden costs? They can include putting the right infrastructure in place, maintenance, ongoing service, and training.

Look for package deals

While it's good to save money when you can, these types of purchases are too important to cut corners. Sure, you'll save money if you make piecemeal purchases today, but, trust me, it will cost you in the end. You'll end up paying more for updates, service packages, and additional options. Instead, look for package deals that set you up for success.

Purchasing the right technology will help move your practice forward, but simply buying the technology isn't enough. You first have to make sure it's the right fit for your practice and then commit to properly integrating the technology. This means providing employees with the training they need and generating excitement in your practice.

If you don't develop a plan and establish a budget, you'll end up spending a lot of money on cool technology that you'll never use. So instead of helping your practice meet its true potential, these purchases will do nothing but cause frustration and ultimately hold you back from true success and profitability.

If you follow these tips, you'll be sure to get the most out of your technology purchases -- boosting practice productivity and your bottom line.

Sally McKenzie is CEO of McKenzie Management, which offers educational and management products available at Contact her directly at 877-777-6151 or at

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

Copyright © 2016
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