TechCentral I.T. Solutions Reshape a Practice

By Jason Werner, Henry Schein TechCentral

Every morning the dental team at Porter and Singley Family Dental gathers together for its morning huddle and discusses the day ahead. In the past, the meeting would have involved paper-based schedules with handwritten notes.

When we decided to remodel, we knew we wanted to standardize everything in the office and incorporate technology that would give our patients a much better treatment experience,
said Dr. Porter.

Now they review Dentrix schedules and patient information in real time on the staff lounge big screen TV, making notes as needed. This is just one of the additions made in 2010 when Dr. Steven Porter and Dr. Patrick Singley decided to expand the office and update their dental technology and computer systems. Out of space in their Columbus, Mississippi, practice, which had been built out in 2000, the doctors decided to gut, renovate, and expand the existing office to meet the needs of the busy practice. The demolition opened up more than the walls—it also opened up the opportunity to install a reliable, high-speed network to support new, state-of-the-art dental technology. The doctors knew that properly integrated technology would have a positive impact on every aspect of their business. Knowing how important it would be to get the undertaking right, they turned to Henry Schein’s TechCentral computer solution and Henry Schein’s team of technology experts.

Front: Dr. Steven Porter and Dr. Patrick Singley. Back Row: left to right–Andy Garrison, Field Sales Consultant; James Kinney, Digital Technology Consultant; Warren Torrey, Equipment Service Technician/CADCAM/CIT/Software; Bobby Manual, Equipment Sales Specialist; Todd Carter, Regional Manager.

Over a ten-day period, Porter and Singley Family Dental was transformed. The TechCentral solution experts worked up to 18 hours a day laying the groundwork for the technology, including running computer cables for the waiting area, nine operatories, and the staff lounge. Amazingly, this was all accomplished while the practice maintained regular business hours and scheduling timetable!

After construction was complete, the team installed 16 new computers and a dedicated server. The office also switched to digital radiography, with a new DEXIS sensor added to their existing Scan-X. All images are centrally stored, shared and backed up.

“Henry Schein TechCentral has been great,” notes Dr. Porter. “Of our entire remodel, the most seamless part was the computer installation.” Porter and Singley is the first practice in a 60-mile radius to purchase the E4D Dentist for same-day crowns. The E4D system connects to the practice network via a new, secure Wi-Fi from TechCentral, and is used wirelessly throughout the office. Patients can walk out with permanent crowns in the time it takes to watch a few TV shows or run errands!

Dr. Steven Porter scans, designs, and seats same-day crowns with E4D software while assistant Julie Gillis schedules and accesses Dentrix in this paperless operatory.

Ceiling-mounted computer monitors are now in the operatories and patients can view digital X-rays, intraoral camera views, Guru videos, and even Netflix movies! “With the monitor in front of them, they can see what’s going on,” says Dr. Singley. “An educated patient is more accepting of treatment.”

By upgrading and networking all of the computers in the office, the staff is able to more fully maximize the capabilities of Dentrix as well as other software, including DemandForce, an appointment reminder and confirmation program that uses text messaging and E-mail.

“Our goal as a family practice is to set ourselves apart and change the concept of people hating dentist visits by making it more comfortable for them,” said Dr. Porter. “We already had some technology in place. But it wasn’t uniform or properly integrated. When we decided to remodel, we knew we wanted to standardize everything in the office and incorporate technology that would give our patients a much better treatment experience.”

Dr. Patrick Singley explains a treatment plan to a patient in the operatory, while assistant Brandy Shelton is able to access digital radiography with DEXIS, and make clinical notes in Dentrix.

Standardization is one of the key benefits to choosing TechCentral solutions over local providers. All Henry Schein IT professionals are trained using the proven best practices that TechCentral developed from thousands of network installations each year.

“All TechCentral installations are done using proven recipe for success,” explains James Kinney, Digital Technology Specialist. “So, if something comes up, the TechCentral support team can remotely log in, see what’s going on, and in 90% of cases, locate and fix the problem over the phone without an on-site visit. We’re a one-stop IT resource.”

In addition, TechCentral services continually run in the background to protect the practice valuable patient and financial data from viruses, new Internet threats, unauthorized access, natural disasters, and network issues.
The practice also turns to TechCentral computer support experts when they have questions or need help.

“TechCentral has been great. We actually had a problem with backups on our server and we didn’t know it. They alerted us; logged in remotely; and fixed the problem,” notes Dr. Porter. “Of our entire remodel, the most seamless part was the computer installation.”

Dr. Patrick Singley talks with Warren Torrey, Equipment Service Technician/CADCAM/CIT/Software, in the treatment planning room about software and hardware integration.

Service technician Warren Torrey has worked closely with the practice as well, maintaining and repairing equipment and troubleshooting other issues by consulting with support teams to deliver solutions. “For solving big problems,” recalls Dr. Porter, “we found we relied on Henry Schein Dental and DEXIS personnel to get it right, so why not let them do it all?”

Making such a leap into technology is a big decision, but Dr. Porter and Dr. Singley will attest to the contribution it has made to superior patient care, employee morale, and to the bottom line.

“Anytime an office functions better, I think morale is going to be better,” said Dr. Singley. “There’s a lot less wasted time and we are definitely more efficient. I think we all enjoy our job a lot more.”

Porter and Singley Family Dental has also seen a dramatic increase in the number of new patients it sees each month and says the E4D Dentist, and the quick turnaround of crowns, in particular, instantly made an impact.
“We’re averaging from 70 to 100 new patients each month,” said Dr. Porter. “Word of mouth is our biggest way of getting new patients. Patients are coming in and enjoying their experience and referring our services to their family and friends.”

With Henry Schein technology experts and TechCentral solutions behind their practice, Porter and Singley Family Dental not only remodeled their office space, they reshaped their business.