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Convert Your Top 5 Dental Imaging Struggles into Your Competitive Advantage

By Planet DDS
April 30, 2021

Before the advent of modern dental X-rays, who would have thought that dentists would have to be in the business of housing vast amounts of data? As imaging file sizes increase, dental practices have to maintain expensive servers, hire IT professionals, and pay for software updates, support, backups, and disaster recovery. It’s not only costly to house your own data, it’s also inefficient.

But managing your imaging data doesn’t have to be a struggle. What if there was another way that could turn all your imaging struggles into your competitive advantage? Learn how cloud-based imaging software can give your practice the flexibility and efficiency that a modern practice needs at an affordable cost.

First, why is managing dental images such a struggle? A big part of the answer is the sheer size of the files. In 2D digital images, the smallest single component is called a “pixel.” The word “pixel” is a portmanteau of the words “picture” (“pix”) and “element” (“el”). In 3D images, each of those pixels becomes 3-dimensional. These smallest data points in a 3-dimensional are called voxels from the word “volume” and “pixel.” By adding a third dimension to the digital image, dentists can see images on the x-axis (width), y-axis (height), and z-axis (depth).

3D Cone-beam computed tomography technology (“CBCT”) is one of the most significant innovations in dentistry because it gives dentists the ability to diagnose and plan for treatment more accurately. But with more information per image come ever increasing file sizes.

Struggle #1: Your cost of maintaining on-premise servers is ballooning out of control as your imaging database grows.

2D dental images can range in size from a mere few hundred kilobytes to the 10s of megabytes per image for pan images. As you can imagine, 3D scans have much larger file sizes since they contain a lot more information. File sizes for CBCT scanners can range from single digit megabytes to hundreds of megabytes per file.

If you maintain on-premise servers that become obsolete every 3 years, the cost of housing your own imaging data becomes more and more cost prohibitive. Imaging databases can easily take up servers with capacities in the order many terabytes of data.

Your Competitive Advantage: IT cost savings and scalability.

As image database sizes grow with higher quality 2D and 3D images, it’s becoming increasingly more expensive for dental offices to maintain secure and updated on-premise servers.

If your practice is currently in the market for a new on-premise server, now’s a great time to consider cloud-based imaging software. Not only does it reduce your server costs as well as your IT costs, but cloud-based imaging software also provides unlimited data storage. Instead of paying ongoing IT costs and recurring huge costs for server replacement, your practice can have predictable monthly pricing for your imaging software needs. And if your needs change as your practice grows, your cloud-based imaging software scales with your practice.

Struggle #2: Your practice is being held captive by imaging software that only works with imaging devices made by the same company.

In dentistry, where imaging device companies have traditionally developed their own imaging software to work with their devices, dental practices were often locked into a proprietary system, forcing them to buy imaging hardware and software from the same company. This is called a “closed-architecture” philosophy where a company develops software that only works with its own products.

Your Competitive Advantage: Open-architecture imaging software that’s compatible with all imaging hardware and practice management solutions.

The better alternative is “open-architecture” software like XVWeb that gives dental practices independence from proprietary systems. Instead of being locked into a specific manufacturer’s device and software, you can choose a software that works with any imaging device and integrates with any practice management solution.

This gives your practice freedom to choose technologies that suit your needs.

Struggle #3: Images aren’t easily accessible, and you need anytime, anywhere access.

Even before COVID, dental practices, like most other businesses, were looking for ways to allow for working on the go. Storing images in an on-premise server drastically limits accessibility, meaning you might have to go back into the office on evenings and weekends to access patient X-rays. Even if your IT department can set you up with a VPN for remote access, you still have to pay for these less-than-ideal services that could leave your patient’s data vulnerable to a security breach.

Your Competitive Advantage: 24/7 access to images via an internet-connected device.

With cloud-based imaging, you can securely access images from anywhere as long as you have an internet-connected device. You can also securely share images for collaboration with other clinicians or insurance companies.

Struggle #4: You need a unified solution across all practices.

If you’re operating a solo practice and you have no intention of ever merging with a group, then this might not be relevant to you. However, as the DSO model has become increasingly popular, knowing the limitations of using imaging software that can’t scale is something to be aware of no matter what your current practice type.

Your Competitive Advantage: Single solution simplicity.

For most on-premise imaging solutions, multi-office scaling can be a challenge. That’s because, with the addition of each location, you need to integrate different hardware and perform more backups and maintenance. You also need to add to that the cost and complexity of managing multiple enormous imaging databases.

Cloud-based imaging software like XVWeb is designed to scale for multi-location practices. Thanks to unlimited data storage, continuous backups, and automatic updates, your cloud software can keep up with any of your future plans to scale.

Struggle #5: You’re afraid of downtime or conversion struggles.

For you and especially your IT manager, the question of how smooth a conversion process can be is a very valid concern. Even if you’re ready to move to the cloud, conversion concerns could be your last hurdle before making the jump. As practices are looking to fully recover post-COVID, the last thing you need is a lengthy conversion process with disruptions and downtime.

Your Competitive Advantage: Work with an experienced partner for a conversion with minimal disruption to your practice.

When working with an experienced company, you can start reaping the benefits of your new imaging software from day 1. The right company will seamlessly convert your imaging database and get your office set up for success. Work with a company that has extensive experience with conversions from various systems so you can minimize the impact on your practice and enjoy your competitive advantage as soon as possible.

If you’d like to learn more about our cloud-based imaging software, XVWeb, and how it transforms all of your imaging struggles into your competitive advantage, contact us for a quick quote.