Practice owners often have to purchase new technology to stay relevant. No clinic can survive for long if the staff doesn’t adapt to the latest developments. Bringing a new technology into the clinic can be exciting. You may have wanted to try it out for a long time before buying it. You’re enthusiastic about learning new procedures and your team is thrilled as well.
But the decision to purchase a new technology or try different materials should be backed by sound business logic. All too often, dentists let their enthusiasm override caution. Will that shiny new tool actually benefit your practice or not? How much will it cost your clinic to buy and maintain it for years to come?
How to Select the Right Technology
Any new technology that you bring into the practice should offer clear benefits, improve efficiency, and boost profitability. It’ll be awhile before you become as good with the new technology as you were with the old process. So don’t rush into buying new technology or write it off as a loss too quickly.
Here are a few questions to ask and answer before you invest in new procedures.
- What are its benefits and drawbacks?
New technology will almost always offer some benefit or the other. But remember that everything comes with a price. There is no perfect tool that only has advantages without any downsides. So make sure to find out about all the pros and cons of any new hardware or software. Can you compensate for its weaknesses while capitalizing on its strengths?
Another point to keep in mind is whether those benefits are useful to your practice or not. Suppose a new technology reduces the time for a procedure by 50%. That’s a clear benefit for your practice and patients. But what if you rarely use that procedure (maybe two or three times a month) in your clinic? It’s not actually that beneficial now, is it? It will be a much better purchase for a clinic which performs that procedure more often.
- How does it improve efficiency?
Technology generally streamlines a manual process through automation and software applications. For example, practice management software makes it easier for business owners to manage the clinic. EDRs can handle large volumes of patient data and allow you to access information faster.
In today’s world, the benefits of hardware depend on the software included with it. You should try out different versions from multiple companies before deciding whether it’s right for your practice. If it’s not obvious how the new technology can increase efficiency in your practice, then maybe it’s not the right time to purchase it.
- How does it boost profitability?
Return on investment is an important metric to consider before purchasing any new technology. How long will it take you to recover the money you invested in the tool? Let’s take a simple example. Suppose a new scanner costs $100,000. If it saves your clinic $10,000 a month, then you will recover the investment in 10 months ($100,000/$10,000).
Sometimes it is hard to quantify benefits such how much time the technology can save you by streamlining certain tasks. Some equipment will cost more up front while been cheaper to repair or maintain. Others might have easy payment options that are suitable for your practice. The important thing is to plan for it and make sure there are no hidden fees, charges or other fine print.
If the answers to all three questions are positive, then you can be reasonably sure the new technology will benefit your practice. Stay ahead of the curve and watch your clinic grow!