For as long as I can remember, I always dreamed of the day that I would open my own practice as a dentist. Finally, after years of studying – that day has arrived, and I couldn’t be more excited.
As I entered the office of the dental practice I just purchased, I was greeted by Marge who has been the practice receptionist for over 20 years. As she congratulates me, she begins reminiscing about her many years with the practice. “We’ve come a long way over the years,” she says fondly; thinking back to the days where we used a 56K modem to dial-in to the internet, or even further back to where everything was paper-based. “When I started, there were stacks of papers everywhere: files upon files of papers that housed treatments, notes, billing, reference letters – and everything in between. And now here we are, 20 years later, with everything on computers…how times have changed.”
Throughout our university days, I would tell my family about how I wanted to have a thriving dental practice. “I will open multiple clinics, offering a variety of specialized treatments that would offer patients a wide variety of service– all under the same practice!” I had always been the ambitious entrepreneur type, visioning the big picture and working towards it. Now that this dream was becoming a reality – I began to do a little research.
This type of project is not a given, we are speaking of a large investment of not only time but also of money. Putting aside the costs in real estate which will be considerable, in 2016, the technological needs are much greater than they were twenty years ago. Looking over the cost of new servers, new computer systems, additional software licenses, backup devices without forgetting potential training for new employees, I was sceptical. After all, we are talking about tens of thousands of dollars.
Finding a safe and secure solution that was easy-to-use and able to offer the ability to have our database accessible in multiple locations was a very important first step. Marge gave me the contact information for our current software provider. I wanted to see if there were any options available to make this switch easier, and to my delight – there most certainly were.
The Customer Care Specialist informed me that they now offer a cloud-based version of their software that provides the capability to store documents, databases or software on a remote server. Hosted on Microsoft Azure, the most powerful cloud service platform in the world, the ADSTRA Cloud dental software solution is a safe and secure solution with which we would not have to worry about the additional costs associated with servers and hardware. We would be able to access our software and database over the internet, from anywhere and on any device.
The difference with a cloud dental software system is that instead of having to install software on each of our stations, and to maintain our database locally, it allows us to access our software from anywhere, any time. It also offers the opportunity to share our database with several of our locations simultaneously providing the management team not only global reports but reports for each location as well.
The idea of migrating to a cloud system interested me, as we do not want to have to divest ourselves of some of our older computers, and that this platform is also compatible with our iPads, this became a very interesting idea indeed.
Since this kind of platform is accessible on a remote server, the main requirement needed is a fast and reliable Internet connection. Just as easy as checking our e-mail or browsing the Internet, by simply connecting to our remote server database and logging in with our individual user IDs, we could access our software.
The ADSTRA Cloud dental software solution is a complete paperless system that also connects multiple locations with one database – this is exactly what I had to have in order to start building my dream dental practice.
Because of better education about the benefit of good oral health when it comes to their overall physical wellbeing, regular visits to dental clinics have become a way of life for North Americans over the past several decades. Patient demand and growing customer expectations from sectors outside of healthcare has led to a change in the way dentists do business. As a result, they are expanding their once modest clinics into large, modern, consumer-friendly facilities, and using the most advanced technological equipment available. Competition among practices is strong, and the pressure is on to present an appealing storefront while adopting cutting edge technology in order to attract clients. To complement the superior level of care dentists now strive to provide for their patients, many are turning to cloud-based technologies that streamline and modernize office procedures, unify multi-locations and reduce cost and complexity of delivering better customer service.
Since the 80s, the focus of dental care has changed to hygiene and oral health screening – in other words, preventive medicine – resulting in a markedly decreased need for extractions, fillings and dentures. This, however, has not led to fewer visits to the dentist, but rather increased demand for enhanced procedures. Canadians are well aware of the health and social impacts of neglecting their teeth and gums, and are willing to invest time and money to ensure the best treatment plans possible, including cosmetic dentistry, implants, orthodontics, and geriatric dentistry. Practitioners have responded by diversifying and expanding, which allows them to offer a comprehensive range of services to their patients. As a result, dental clinics – with a full complement of hygienists, general practitioners, periodontists, oral and maxillofacial radiologists, etc. – are busier than ever before.
INVESTING IN THE OVERALL GOOD HEALTH OF CLINICAL PRACTICES
With the cost of opening a new practice costing well in excess of half-a-million dollars, savvy practitioners are pooling their resources to equip and staff large clinics instead, enabling them to provide the greatest range of procedures and services to the greatest number of people. Instead of having to refer patients to outside resources, specialists are located within the practice, providing a convenient service to customers as well as keeping business in-house, even if at a different physical location. Patients are comfortable knowing that their care is under the supervision of one practitioner, and that they can rely on established standards of practice across all clinics.
TREND TO DIGITAL MEETS PATIENT DEMAND
Of necessity, there has been a significant shift in the way clinics handle business. Today’s modern multi-location clinics require an integrated system that enables them to operate as a single entity with multiple branches in order to run effectively.
This is a trend that has grown beyond dentistry and is now seen across all medical professionals who are replacing single location solutions or paper-based operations with comprehensive digital platforms. It enables more streamlined workflow processes, shared information, and at-a-glance analytics which help keep their respective businesses strong and successful.
In the past, accomplishing a successful integration was not an easy task. Essentially, a software solution and a very powerful hardware infrastructure requiring significant IT manpower and budget had to be custom built. Now, utilizing the most powerful cloud service platform in the world – Microsoft Azure – ADSTRA is able to deliver a total integrated solution designed specifically for dental clinics.
Microsoft Azure is being used by thousands of companies around the world, including Fortune 500 companies as well as medical records companies, which are putting actionable data in the hands of clinicians and healthcare providers.
Dental clinics across North America have relied on ADSTRA since 1994 for managing their day-to-day operations. For more than a decade, one large branch of government, with over 100,000 employees, has been using ADSTRA to manage more than 30 dental clinics around the world, making it simple and easy to treat any employee from any location. All patient records, x-rays and other pertinent information are available to every clinic, saving time, reducing costs and, more importantly, enhancing the level of patient care for this agency.
PAPERLESS, MULTI-LOCATION DENTAL PRACTICES UTILIZE MICROSOFT AZURE CLOUD PLATFORM
ADSTRA has a proven solution that provides dental professionals with efficient, paperless patient management, appointment scheduling, charting, imaging, financials and communications.
Intuitive and easy to use, the colourful graphic interface allows users to:
- Easily schedule appointments at any location, administer patient records, set up billing and payments, and prepare reports across all locations;
- Create odontogrammes for existing conditions as well as perform and plan treatment;
- Capture, organize and enhance images from digital equipment such as cameras and radiographic devices, and share with branch clinics and specialists;
- Communicate with other departments/locations via messaging or text;
- Access data from multiple locations using computers, tablets, or mobile devices.
An all-inclusive maintenance service is another strength of ADSTRA’s Cloud offering. The software is pre-installed and configured, interactive software training and support is provided on-demand, and all software updates are automatically applied.
“Because it is flexible and scalable and adheres to the most stringent privacy and security regulations, the Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure is ideally suited for multi-location practices that previously had no commercial product available to them,” says Viviana Bardea, Director of Software Development. “And it is incredibly cost efficient. With no upfront capital outlay and dramatically reduced licensing costs, money otherwise spent on servers, networking, software and support can be rolled back into the business instead.”
Trends in dental care are changing. It’s time to start the conversation about how the infinite power of the Microsoft Azure cloud combined with ADSTRA’s proven expertise in information management systems for oral healthcare can help your dental clinics face the future.