There was a time when certain things could be ignored and success was still achievable. For example, technology could be sidelined until timing improved.
No more! Because today’s digitally mature solo dental practices are achieving a competitive advantage.
Before we briefly review what digital maturity is, let’s talk about why it’s a competitive essential in today’s dental industry.
Dominant factors you can’t ignore
Shifts in insurance provisions such as PPO plans and the growth of corporate dentistry are two forces to be reckoned with. You can no longer afford to take a “mom-and-pop” approach to the business of dentistry.
Costs are typically what drive an investment decision about technology. No doubt, capital costs are worth consideration. But savings cannot be at the expense of declining reimbursements or collections.
These core challenges can be met with the proper tools and training. Streamlined workflows and an increase in practice production are a worthy ROI.
That’s part of the new era being experienced by digitally mature solo practices.
What is digital maturity?
The bigger picture involves digital transformation. It’s a dominant priority for many of today’s leading organizations and industries.
Investments in digital projects is forecasted to reach $7.4 trillion by 2023.
- Market competition
- Increased customer expectations
- Progressive business challenges 
Here’s a good working definition of “digital maturity”:
”Digital maturity refers to how well companies adjust to a digital business environment. Those that recognize the need for change and embrace innovation will likely be further into their transformation journey than those who don’t. With digital maturity comes flexibility, and businesses will be able to readily develop a transformation strategy that enables new approaches and identifies workable methods to implement them successfully.” 
It’s time to be flexible, strategic, and innovative. These are the benchmarks of a digitally mature solo dental practice.
Where digitally mature solo dental practices focus their attention and stay competitive
Acquire new generation dental technology
You might remember the days when basic equipment included chairs, lighting, adequate cabinetry, air compressors, and suction devices. Beyond those you would be considered advanced if your tech-investment also included an intraoral camera and then first-generation digital X-ray technology.
Those (at-the-time) innovations were typically analog. Their standalone capabilities would often not integrate with your practice management software. Even digital X-rays required a “bridge” to increase compatibility.
Digital technology is now the rage!
- Integration is seamless
- The patient experience is improved
- Automation is possible across your practice
- Team morale and efficiency improves
- Profitability rises
What’s implied by “new generation dental technology?”
This is the foundation. And its capability is defined by how seamlessly it integrates with your digital technology.
It’s important that information can be accessed and shared without taxing your team’s energy. The less “hoops” the better!
A step beyond the PM software standard (e.g. a tethered, legacy system) is choosing a cloud-based practice management platform. You can scale more of your systems and workflows and experience less (if any) friction when connecting new technology to it.
Your patients are accustomed to electronic transactions. They value being able to electronically access their personal information, make payments, track financials, and much more.
Digital treatment protocols
Digital capability has changed the game for impressions, scans, disease screenings, cavity detection, and 3D imaging for specialty treatments such as implants, endodontics, oral surgery, and ortho. The benefits extend to a more precise and often faster patient care outcomes.
Adapt your workflows around the ever-evolving digital environment
Your practice workflows and systems are a good place to test the potential of the technology you choose. As mentioned earlier, integration is a key test-point.
Compatibility includes the ability of your technology to communicate across your practice. Typically a “suite” of digital technologies will accomplish that somewhat effortlessly.
Staying current and competitive shouldn’t be delayed by incompatible tech choices. Evaluate yours based on these questions:
- Do the digital components have compatibility with your practice management platform (without add-ons or patches)?
- Is there a seamless working relationship between your technologies?
- Can you measure workflow improvement as an ROI?
- Does the technology come with long-term service, support, and cost-effective or baked-in upgrades?
Staying competitive as a solo dental practice requires digital growth. And your technology investment must enable you to keep the pace without disrupting your current practice workflows.
Digitally mature solo dental practices keep their competitive edge by embracing and using new technology
The following resources can help with that process too:
Part of this discussion has included dental practice management software. More specifically a cloud-based platform.
From patient-facing online portals to cloud-based solutions Planet DDS is a leading technology provider for solo dental practices committed to being digitally mature.
Planet DDS’s Denticon is the proven cloud-based Dental Practice Management Software in today’s market among solo private practices, private group practices, and top DSOs.
Contact us for more information about how Denticon can streamline your workflow systems and operational tasks that can help you stay productively on trend now, in 2021, and beyond.