Improve Your Dental Practice — Flip Your Thinking About IT
How do you view technology?
Not the technology you use to treat patients – I’m sure you (and they) love the newest imaging technology that allows X-rays without having to bite on that horrible piece of cardboard. I know I do!
What’s your opinion on information technology – your network, your file storage, security software, email, etc.?
Do you look at it as a necessary evil and a cost of doing business?
Or, do you look at it as an investment in your business’ success?
How you answered that question can indicate how successful your practice will be.
Belief in the Value of IT Correlates With Success
Research by Symantec on success factors for small to medium businesses (SMBs) reveals that the overwhelming majority of higher performing SMBs had a positive attitude towards information technology.
How overwhelming? When asked to rate computing as strategically important, 88% of top-tier SMBs did so compared to 44% of bottom-tier companies. Top-tier companies were also more likely to invest in quality computing infrastructure; 51% to 36% of bottom-tier SMBs.
There are two key attitude changes that can help move your practice forward:
- Consider the value of the IT product or service you’re considering. A lower cost in the short-term could provide less valuable in the long-term.
- Use IT to “address real, core business objectives. The key is to map IT initiatives to corresponding business goals.”
A third focus, especially for businesses that need to be HIPAA-compliant (like you), should be on security and privacy. Top-tier companies are more likely than bottom-tier companies (81% to 49%) to “take a more aggressive approach to their security, and this extends to backup and disaster preparedness as well.” If you missed it, I wrote about security hygene here; Practice Good Security Hygiene .
IT and the Dentist
What’s this mean in practice for a dental office? A good IT infrastructure can help ensure:
- Customer and insurance company billing accuracy – improving cash flow
- Seamless – and secure – patient communications, for example, appointment scheduling
- Secure storage and retrieval of patients’ records
- Peace of mind that your data and information is securely backed up (and compliance with HIPAA and other regulations)
- Streamlined internal collaboration to make sure patients receive top-notch service
The list could go on, but the point is that if you’re doing any processes manually you can automate them and make them more effective with smart application of IT.
I’d like to leave you with one final, interesting result from the research. I’m sure you’ve thought, “shoot, how much is this going to cost me? It’s gotta be expensive,” at some point as you read this. While costs will, of course, vary depending on office size, requirements, and exact mix of software and hardware needed; “the typical top-tier SMB spends 7 percent less on computing than bottom-tier organizations.”
You get what you pay for. Take your time. Identify a good partner. Work with them to identify the right mix of managed services and information technology in your dental practice.
How well do you know HIPAA? Take our HIPAA Quiz to test your knowledge.
All research is from Global SMB IT Confidence Index 2013 by Symantec.