I once heard a speaker who asked his audience what they considered the most significant labor-saving invention of their lifetime. Most people were giving answers such as microwaves and dishwashers. Then one old fellow stood up and said all that fancy stuff was fine but in his opinion, the most significant invention was indoor plumbing!
The point is that we often become excited about the latest most exciting new technology and forget that the basics, the infrastructure; which may be boring but is never the less essential and must be in place before any of the exotic new stuff will work.
In the dental office the high tech equivalent of indoor plumbing is the network and the practice management system. You need a computer in every room networked to a server and connected to the Internet. Then you need a management system that allows you to enter, store and retrieve data. Without that it is not possible to collect and share patient information.
For example one great labor-saving system in dentistry is appointment reminders. Sending a text or e-mail reminder saves the office hours of frustrating phone time and usually results in fewer no shows. However in order to use this labor-saving system the office needs an electronic patient record including the name, cell number and e-mail address. The office needs to use an electronic schedule that has appointment times. If the office does not collect this data it can’t be used to generate the reminder.
by Dr. Larry Emmott