3 Keys to Avoiding Dental Practice Technology Mistakes
As modern dentistry evolves, new products are constantly entering the market, all with the ability to outperform old technology. While investing in the latest and greatest should save time and money, that’s not always the case.
There are key steps you can take to avoid tech purchase mistakes. Having a clear roadmap, taking a holistic approach, and getting help from an advisor can help you avoid an expensive and time-consuming process.
1. Purchase with a Roadmap
Going down the technology investment path without fully comprehending what’s necessary for a product’s integration can be costly. Picture this: after speaking with a salesperson, you’re convinced to purchase a modern piece of dental technology that would provide patients with a higher level of care and bring in new business.
“As you begin to integrate the new product into your office, you are told that you need to run an additional 15 wires to get it to operate, which will cost you another $2,500,” says Eric Adams, Information Technology Operations Manager at Integrity Systems & Solutions. “That’s sometimes where the disconnect is. It’s not that you’re being sold things that don’t actually give you a benefit. It’s that you’re sold things that give you a benefit, but that you don’t always get the whole story.”
Understanding what a product does, and how to get the most out of it is necessary in order to see a return on investment. There’s a multitude of factors you need to consider before you buy, Adams adds:
Does the product have security risks?
Are there any additional costs (like running 15 wires) that you didn’t know about?
Are there subscriptions?
Are there ongoing maintenance costs?
All of these elements need to be taken into consideration when making an investment. Asking the right questions can provide you with insight into the full benefits (and limitations) a new product brings to your practice.
2. Integrate New Products from a Holistic Standpoint
When you’re looking at investing in new technology, it is best to approach it holistically. No one piece of technology stands alone—it’s all part of a technological ecosystem.
“Complacency in updating current technology can be costly,” says Sales & Marketing Manager Daryl Smith. “For example, routine maintenance upgrades and replacements are nominal measures taken to ensure a system operates smoothly; however, when neglected, they can become an overwhelming and expensive project your business may not have the time or funds to support. That said, you can’t integrate any single piece of technology without understanding its impact on your ecosystem as a whole. The wrong piece of hardware can be incompatible with your practice management software, creating a problem, rather than a solution, which is an entirely different kind of unexpected cost—and consequence.”
Before you finalize any investment, you need to ensure that it works with your existing practice solutions as a whole.
3. Utilize a Trusted Advisor
One way to avoid potential conflict is to find a trusted tech advisor who understands both dental practice needs and the related technology landscape.
“Getting answers about a potential investment is difficult when you don’t know the questions to ask,” notes Jon Northway, co-founder and Senior Technology Consultant at Integrity. “While salespeople may have excellent solutions, it’s easy to fall into the trap of purchasing a flashy new product only to discover it’s almost useless to your business. An agnostic advisor, like Integrity, brings clarity to what should be an exciting new purchase.”
As an objective third party with no stake in the game, an advisor’s job is to educate you on both the positive and negative outcomes of a potential investment and prevent you from making costly mistakes such as investing in tech that doesn’t work with a legacy system or isn’t user-friendly. Above all, they look at your ecosystem in its entirety, helping you find solutions designed to pay off either immediately or as quickly as possible—in productivity, smoother operations, and revenue—which should be the point of any new tech purchase.