Eric Giesecke is the CEO of Planet DDS.
dr Ordenlicher, Superintendent, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at White Plains Hospital, stated that “any new, innovative, unfamiliar treatment procedure, material, software, instrumentation or equipment requires effort to master.” He continued, “It is rare in dentistry that a innovation is introduced that fundamentally changes the way things are done.” He noted that the hesitancy that impedes or delays the adoption of a new technology could be due to time, money and fear.
Cloud-based solutions for managing dental practices are becoming the standard in the modern dental industry, especially for multi-site group practices and Dental Service Organizations (DSOs). However, for the many companies still making the transition, implementing a cloud solution can seem like a challenging and significant endeavor. Barriers to entry include both real and perceived concerns about implementing new systems, including the extent to which they can disrupt a practice, the learning curve for a new system, or simply breaking the status quo.
Still, the benefits of cloud adoption are clear and numerous, as evidenced by nearly every other industry where cloud adoption is hovering around 90%. Even in healthcare, adoption is close to 90%, with the exception of dental, which is lagging behind. However, groups and DSOs that have standardized on a single cloud-based practice management solution are quickly seeing benefits as they streamline data and image storage, improve collaboration, increase data consistency for more accurate reports, and add layers of protection against cybersecurity attacks.
To help dentists make a smooth transition to cloud-based systems, this article outlines the four pillars of a successful transition. This includes internal research and due diligence, external research and assessment, establishment of standard operating procedures, and utilization of supplier resources. By upholding these pillars, dental group leaders and DSOs can better select the right solution, ensure a smooth transition, and maximize the success of their move to the cloud.
Pillar 1: Internal research and due diligence
Internal research, due diligence and evaluation are the first steps to ensure a successful transition. Before decision makers begin their move to the cloud, they should create a shortlist of non-negotiable items for the DSO. Executives should meet with key stakeholders to discuss what is most important to the organization, considering areas such as patient management, scheduling, billing, reporting, IT, security and records management.
Once the non-negotiable points have been identified and agreed, it’s time to explore the options. DSOs should conduct thorough research and evaluate vendors to ensure they limit themselves to the solutions that best meet their needs. Look for vendors with a solid track record of successful conversions and implementations. Schedule demos to ask questions about current product features, future roadmap plans, and pricing structures. Beyond the solution itself, you’ll want to inquire about the training, implementation, and support that the company’s team provides.
Pillar 2: External research and evaluation
They also want to talk to trusted industry peers. Ask other similar organizations about their experiences with specific providers. Your feedback will help you get a realistic idea of what you will experience during and after the transition.
The discussion should also include how long the colleague has been using the product, what they find most valuable about it, any challenges they have experienced with the product or vendor, how the product has changed their practice for better or worse, and any recommendations he would give the product to a DSO who would consider it. Be sure to check out online reviews or ask for testimonials and case studies from vendors you’re considering.
Pillar 3: Standard Operating Procedures
The third pillar to a successful transition is the implementation of standard operating procedures to accelerate employee adoption. Uniform processes and procedures across locations are essential. Setting clear and concise guidelines for using the new system will make the onboarding, training and onboarding of future employees more efficient.
DSO leaders should encourage staff to ask questions and provide feedback to gain buy-in and support for implementation and transition. Extensive training allows employees to feel confident transitioning to the new system, and DSO leaders can address any issues that arise immediately so they can realize the full potential of their new investment.
Pillar 4: Supplier Relationships
Finally, the fourth pillar is provider resources. DSO leaders can leverage supplier resources to collaborate with stakeholders and meet deadlines throughout the process. Vendors can provide guidance on best practices, provide training and support, and ensure a smooth transition.
While the move to the cloud poses unique challenges for the dental industry, companies adopting this technology can better position themselves for growth and resilience in a rapidly evolving industry. By adhering to these four pillars, DSO leaders can better navigate the implementation phase and move into the growth phase as an organization that is standardizing and centralizing in the cloud.
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