Are You Getting The Most Out Of Your Technology Purchases?
When you invest in new technology for your practice, you likely have visions of how much more efficient it will make you and how it will enhance patient care. You and your team members are excited by the possibilities at first, but eventually that all wears off. Turns out the technology was more of a source of frustration than anything else, and six months after the purchase you still don’t really know how to properly use it.
This is a common scenario at many of the dental practices we visit. Doctors invest in technology they’re excited about, but decide not to pay extra for the training the company offers. They convince themselves the new hardware, software or gadget will be intuitive, and that they won’t have any problem successfully integrating it into the practice. Skipping training will save both time and money, they reason, so they commit to carving out time in the schedule to teach themselves and their team members how to use this new piece of equipment or software.
Problem is, that usually doesn’t happen. No matter how well intentioned these dentists are, they just don’t have time to figure out how to use a new high-tech product on their own. The result? Frustration. No one knows how to use the technology, and that means the practice only benefits from a fraction of what the new device or software is actually capable of. In some cases, dentists and team members avoid using the once promising technology all together. They continue to perform tasks the old way, as the new technology sits in the corner collecting dust.
This all can be avoided with proper training. Think about it. You just spent thousands of dollars on a product that’s supposed to improve your practice. Why wouldn’t you spend a little more on training? This will ensure both you and your team members are comfortable using the product and that you get the most out of the purchase, rather than pushing it aside as you promise to someday find time to learn how to use it.
If paying for training is the issue, resist the urge to overextend your technology budget. Remember, you’re not going to get the ROI you’re after if you can’t afford to invest in the necessary training.
I suggest you develop a plan that allows you to truly maximize every major technology investment you make. This will help you decide which technologies are best for your practice. Without a plan, it’s tempting to purchase as many of the latest, greatest advancements in dentistry as possible. The danger is you’ll end up with all this high-tech equipment that just sits in your office, doing nothing to make you more efficient or move your practice forward.
Here’s a step-by-step approach to not only ensure you make the right technology decisions for your practice, but to also ensure you know how to effectively integrate them.
1. Develop a technology vision. Ask yourself how you want the practice to use the technology and how it should benefit your patients.
2. Identify which system the new technology will improve, whether it’s treatment presentations and case acceptance, scheduling, financing, collections or reducing broken appointments.
3. Take a technology inventory of your practice. Look at what you already have in terms of hardware, software and networking capabilities.
4. As much as you might want to, don’t try to make upgrades all at once. It’s better to integrate technology in stages. This will help keep you from overwhelming both your team members and your pocketbook.
5. Train your staff. This is key to successfully integrating any technology into your practice. While you might not want to lose the time it takes to complete the training, trust me, properly training your team will save you a lot of heartache down the road.
6. Determine best practices for team training. Every technology or software is different, and sometimes it might make more sense to complete training in phases. This enables team members to master one element of the technology before moving on to the next.
7. Make it part of your budget. Dental products and technologies are constantly improving. Budget to make upgrades on an ongoing basis to keep your practice as up-to-date as possible.
If you want a leading edge practice, it takes more than just investing in technology. To get the most out of any technology you purchase, you have to develop an integration plan that includes the proper training. When you do, you’ll get a much better ROI while also improving practice efficiencies and enhancing patient care.
Next week: Want to maximize your ROI? Follow these tips.
For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
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