"Early on, we at Augusta Family Dentistry, came up with a marketing plan that we felt would help us achieve our growth, profitability, and service goals," said Dr. Mitsch. "If we followed it closely, I felt that our marketing strategy and five-year plan would totally transform our practice."
Dr. Mitsch's story begins in 1986 when he owned a group of practices that acted as a clearinghouse for eight management people. Technology has always been a key to his growth and his practices have always been early adopters of practice-enabling technology.
"We've had computers in my practices since way back with Moore Dental Systems," said Dr. Mitsch. "At the time a practice management system was a very large purchase-somewhere around $26,000-and we grew the system until we had 12 computers all linked on a UNIX platform. But our old technology was defining who we were, and I didn't like being limited by outdated, non-user-friendly, and difficult to use systems that I couldn't even train my staff to use."
In 1991, Dr. Mitsch determined that one of the prime movers to make Augusta Family Dentistry succeed was to take the practice to the next level of technology. He knew that his UNIX-based system would require as much as $200,000 just to keep it running for another 3-4 years. He needed a change, and he needed it quickly.
Dr. Mitsch enlisted the help of his wife, who comes from a procurement background, to investigate possible technology alternatives. "I asked Suzanne to look into DentalMac," he said. "But we quickly realized that Macintosh and UNIX were not heading in the direction of the rest of the world. So I decided to call Microsoft to see if they had any information on dental practice management systems designed specifically to run on Windows."
"Microsoft reported that only one dental management software was available at that time for Windows," said Dr. Mitsch. "It turned out to be DENTRIX, which fulfilled all my expectations, so I bought it. I was customer number 762 on DENTRIX."
DENTRIX is the first practice and clinical management system designed from the ground up to run in the Windows platform. In fact, DENTRIX was one of the first products in any industry to be available in Windows-years ahead of any other practice management system. DENTRIX has more satisfied users-more than 18,000 practices-on a single, proven system than any other solution. And DENTRIX offers more powerful capabilities, flexibility, and dental practice-specific features than any other system-all factors that quickly allowed Dr. Mitsch to begin implementing his five-year plan.
"Before using DENTRIX, we were producing almost $400,000 a year in revenue," said Dr. Mitsch. "By the third year with DENTRIX that number had increased to more than one million. Today we are already at one million and the year isn't even half over we will exceed two million for the year and significantly beat our financial goals. DENTRIX is part of the backbone of our growth. Combined with our plan that aggressively leverages management marketing, PR, and services marketing, this technology is the most important factor for our growth."
DENTRIX provides Augusta Family Dentistry with powerful tools that allow the practice to maximize services, strengthen its value to patients, and increase revenues and collections-all vital components of the five-year plan.
"DENTRIX is a powerful communication tool that allows us to load information in and develop ways to build on the patients we have, save money on operations, and find new ways to make money," said Dr. Mitsch. "One example: I bring in computer-literate high school students and have them use DENTRIX to build a table of all patients between 14 and 20 years old. We use DENTRIX to cross-reference that list with all patients that still have their third molars. The high school kids came up with 500 patients. I offer a commission to the students as they tele-market to these patients. The end result was an additional $300,000 in production."
Beyond access to information that allows Augusta Family Dentistry to reach these patients, DENTRIX also provides powerful capabilities that arm the doctors and hygienists with everything necessary to provide patients with maximum care and communication.
"I have four hygienists," said Dr. Mitsch. "Each time we do a procedure we use DENTRIX to create a sheet detailing what we've done and what is still to be done. We send it home with every patient, but also send a copy on to his or her physician. We even have a dedicated patient information services specialist that creates these treatment timelines and produces chart reviews that explain everything. With DENTRIX all these capabilities are available with a simple click of the mouse."
Dentrix also provides additional technology that helps practices even more. Adding modules such as digital radiography through DENTRIX Image, and automated insurance claim submission through eClaims for DENTRIX give Dr. Mitsch additional sources of revenue, cost-savings, and marketable services.
"We use DENTRIX for digital radiography," said Dr. Mitsch. "As part of the patient's take-home chart we always give a copy of the X-ray with and explanation of the how's and why's of the procedure. The explanations are the key to our brand of superior patient care, and DENTRIX is one of the keys to making it all readily available."
"DENTRIX has so many benefits for my practice," said Dr. Mitsch. "First, it gives us unlimited growth potential. When we started with DENTRIX we had 4,000 patients now we have 16,000 and our collections are way up. Second, DENTRIX has made Augusta Family Dentistry a more 'sell-able' practice. If and when I decide to sell, simply being a top-notch DENTRIX user will make us worth more. Third, DENTRIX is so tightly tied with Microsoft that I know the software will always work with the latest technology. And fourth, Dentrix, as a company, is much more stable than someone like EagleSoft. With Dentrix I know that there are real people that have a real stake in the success of my practice."
"DENTRIX is the only product that bridges all the different forms of dentistry through technology," Mitsch continued. "In my life and in my practice, I choose to make a difference. I have a responsibility to serve my patients in the best way possible and that includes using DENTRIX."