The Case Against Utilizing Digital Technology in Your Practice

By Gary Kadi

Are you looking to increase efficiency?

Would you like to have more fun in your practice? Do you want to make a difference for more patients and have patients accept more treatment? Would you like to be more profitable? If you don’t, then absolutely do not read anything else in this article.

Let me explain… at the age of two, my son was diagnosed with autism. As my wife and I were immersed in research, sorting through all the issues that may have an impact on those with this diagnosis, we learned that the electro-magnetic radiation emitted from electronic devices might have an influence or effect on kids with high sensitivity. It was suggested that we limit our son to one-half hour of screen time, which we have done. Our house is a P.E.T. Free Zone (Personal Electronic Technology Free Zone).

Although this approach to digital technology may support children on the autism spectrum, a P.E.T. Free Zone in the dental office will leave you stalled, stagnating and stuck.

Clearly, technology is readily available to make our lives and practices easier, more efficient, more productive, and help us deliver optimal patient care and results. Yet time and time again, we see practices that are resistant to adopting newer digital technology. Why?

Let’s explore these points:
1. Why baby boomers are resistant to adopt new technology.
2. Why some team members may be the silent assassins of digital technology adoption.
3. How the patient can tell if you deliver advanced state-of-the-art dentistry.

1. We see 50 plus-year-old dentists struggling with an X-ray sensor. At the same time, my seven-year old son, who gets very little screen-time and was never trained on tech gadgets, reaches level 20 on the Angry Birds game on my iPhone the very first time. The difference? Fear. Fear of confronting fear.

If you are not communicating with your patients the way they want you to speak to them, then you will not adopt the next generation of patients into your practice.

Kids just jump in, with no pre-conceived notion of what this new thing is or isn’t, and they find a way to get it working. In contrast, Baby Boomer doctors already have it in their heads that they can’t do it or won’t be able to find their way through. Before they even think of starting, they are afraid. They already know what it is like to not use the new technology; they would rather have everything stay the same than confront their fear. The fear of not getting it right or looking bad is greater than the perceived value of implementing the new technology and receiving the benefit and abundant gain from it. The enormous value that digital technology has to offer is a lot to leave on the table.

2. The team may be silent assassins. They don’t intend to be and they may not even know they are doing it, but the team is often a strong reason new digital technologies are kept out of the practice. Most of the time they are a “No” before they’ve even thought it through.

That’s why we see appointment coordinators still confirming by phone and not using Dentrix and Demandforce. They let their fingers do the walking, the old-school way, and they don’t use the new high-tech method to effectively educate patients and efficiently fill your schedule.

3. Do you still have the big TV set that looks like a huge box hanging from a steel u-bar from the ceiling? Are your computer screens thicker than your handpiece? If this describes your office, then your patients probably think the quality of your dentistry is also outdated.

If you are not communicating with your patients the way they want you to speak to them, then you will not adopt the next generation of patients into your practice. And, you will not realize the full dollar value of your practice when it comes time to sell it.

These three points alone are enough to surrender to digital technology, and my definition of surrender is: moving to the winning side. We call it “letting go to grow.” If you let go of the fear of confronting technology, you’ll find you will enjoy more efficiency, fun, have less stress, higher profits, and ultimately a happier team.

Trust me, your team members will be happier when they break their subconscious fear of running an old-school practice. They’ll also be happier receiving bonuses for the value they create in the practice and for your patients.

So go ahead, Baby Boomers, adopt a pet rock (no, not the pet rock you Boomers may be thinking of). We’re talking P.E.T. – Personal Electronic Technology – because P.E.T. ROCKS!