The digital transformation of dentistry is well under way.
“Digital Dentistry” refers to practices in which digital technologies are leveraged and utilized to increase operational efficiency and improve patient outcomes. There are a myriad of benefits Digital Dentistry offers to both clinicians and patients including the reduction of menial tasks, quicker appointments, greater precision, and increased patient satisfaction. Thus, to remain competitive, it is no longer a matter of if, but when, your practice will embrace operating on a digital platform. Over the past several years, the percentage of offices implementing something as simple as digital radiography has skyrocketed from 36.5% in 2007 to over 66% in 2022!
When thinking of Digital Dentistry in practice, we see it manifest in both patient-focused care provider technology and administrative technology. Last month, we focused on patient-focused technology and this month we are focusing on administrative technology and the importance of maintaining a secure environment.
Administrative technologies within Digital Dentistry enable dental offices to operate seamlessly. Modern programs are typically cloud-based and benefit from the natural scalability and security inherent in cloud environments. Examples of these technologies include:
- • Patient Communication Software
- • Insurance Verification Programs
- • Practice Management Software
Patient Communication Software
Many cloud-based software programs, such as NexHealth, allow for patient communication via text, email, and web integrations. NexHealths’s system automatically confirms appointments and sends patients reminders, resulting in decreased down time and broken appointments. With NexHealth, you can automatically send Google and Facebook review requests, automatically verify reviews, send email marketing campaigns, offer online patient forms, and more.
Insurance Verification Programs
There are several innovative programs that help practices quickly and efficiently verify dental insurance to guarantee benefits and ensure reimbursement. With the Insurance Manager from Dentrix, your practice can keep track of patient eligibility, dental plan benefits, and claim status. Their real-time insurance eligibility updates can dramatically reduce the amount of time spent on the phone and give you accurate co-pays for that day’s patients.
Practice Management Software
Cloud-based practice management programs, such as OpenDental hosted in AWS, do not require expensive local server equipment, saving your practice a significant amount on upfront IT costs. In addition, your software environment can scale on demand as your practice grows over time. These programs allow users to organize patient care, appointments, treatment plans, billing, and dental analytics. Reports from these programs can help you monitor the growth of your dental practice and allow you to identify areas to improve productivity.
Importance of Security
As adoption of these Digital Dentistry technologies increases, practices are more prone to cyber threats and technology risks. The technologies that underpin Digital Dentistry require skilled support to ensure proper maintenance and security. Not having appropriate security measures in place is similar to leaving your car parked and unlocked, overnight, in a bad neighborhood. It is expected that 89% of healthcare organizations experienced a data breach in the past two years and smaller medical offices will account for more than 40% of all cybersecurity attacks. Such wide scale breaches can result in network penetration that affects both small solo and large group practices. It is estimated that healthcare data breaches will caused over $6 trillion in damage in 2021. Unfortunately, many practices are ill-equipped to respond to IT threats. More than 80% of employers lack cybersecurity training and skills to prevent such damages. :
It is not just prudent, but in fact necessary, to implement and maintain appropriate levels of IT security. Under the HIPAA Security Rule, dental offices must maintain physical safeguards, technical safeguards, tracking logs, and data backup procedures. This is quite a bit to keep top of mind on a daily basis. Without ensuring proper security standards, you are putting yourself and your entire practice at risk. Recovering from a cyberattack can cost your practice anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. This is time that you could otherwise be spending with patients. The fees associated with manually recovering data, rebuilding firewalls, and replacing potentially damaged hardware are not to be taken lightly either. Perhaps the most valuable asset damaged by a cyberattack is your practice’s reputation. You can recover your IT infrastructure in a matter of days but your reputation? That could take years.
Outsourcing these responsibilities to a trusted technology partner can allow you to reap the benefits of Digital Dentistry without having to worry about the risks. You can focus on providing your patients with the quality of dental care they deserve while your technology partner provides the data security you and your patients deserve. We are proud to serve as that technology partner to our clients.
If you would like to learn more about Digital Dentistry or any of the solutions listed above, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or ask about it during your next technical business review with the customer success team.