Technology Investments

By: Ann-Marie DePalma, CDA, RDH, MEd, CDIPC, FADIA, FAADH

Technology is around us 24/7. Whether in our everyday lives or in our practices, technology is an essential part of today’s society.

As the old saying goes “we can’t live with it, and we can’t live without it”, technology has changed the way teams interact with patients.

Yet, with the most important priority in any dental practice, the patient, how can team members maintain the patient relationship while utilizing the latest technology?

Understanding it and the “why” behind it will provide the answer.  

Prepare Your Team with Upcoming Technology Changes

Technology is often added to practices with little or no team input.

Dentists are business owners and practice decisions are based on processes similar to providing patients with BRAN (Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, No treatment).

Dentist owners also determine the ROI (Return On Investment) on any business decision from adding new technology to expanding the team or the practice.

Yet when new things are added, whether in the form of a new Practice Management Software (PMS), to CAD/CAM dentistry, to imaging systems, team members who will be the primary consumers of the product, are sometimes not involved in the decision process.

Understand Why The Technology Is Going to Be Used

Yes, dentist owners are the final decision makers, but how can team members utilize any technology for the benefit of patients and the practice without understanding the “why” behind its use?

  • Why is it going to help the practice?
  • Why is it going to assist patients in their health or disease process?
  • Why am I, as a team member, going to benefit both personally and professionally from using it?
  • Why is the practice making this change?

There is always a learning curve with any new technology. Think about the last time you purchased a new smartphone.

It took time for you to learn the basic normal functions of the phone, let alone all of the bells and whistles that the new phone could provide.

The same applies to adding technology to the practice. Initially adding any new process takes adjustment.

For many individuals, change can be difficult and time-consuming. Today’s dental practices are fast-paced environments. If team members don’t fully understand the “whys” of the change, resistance and limited use of the new product will occur. ROI for the practice and patients will diminish.

Technology has been shown to grow practices in a number of ways, but if change management techniques are not employed in the practice, the technology will not be utilized effectively for the benefit of patients.

Make Sure To Have Training & Support

Once the “whys’ have been discussed and the technology has been incorporated into the practice, team members need adequate time for training and support.

Practices often trivialize training, but without the proper training and support the ROI of the technology will again diminish.

Technology is constantly changing, teams are growing and changing, therefore technology training and support are not a one-and-done process.

Ongoing training and support provided by the experts of the technology partner are essential to our technology-driven practices.

Embrace Technology Changes In Your Practice

Utilizing technology in dentistry has many benefits for patients and practices.

Technology investment practices embark on should not only include the technology itself but the team’s understanding of the “why” of the technology and ongoing training and support.

Photo by Polina Zimmerman

Ann-Marie DePalma, MEd, RDH, CDA, FAADH, FADIA

Ann-Marie DePalma, MEd, RDH, CDA, FAADH, FADIA