Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Are You Up on Technology?

Hey everyone,

Hope you had a good weekend. I got an email this weekend from the organizers of a big meeting. They are interested in my lecture and are planning on reviewing my application, but they had a few questions. They were wondering I have any availability on June 17, 2015. Uh, let me check my calendar. Yeah, it looks like I am wide open. Pretty funny, huh?

I went to Gainesville a couple weeks ago to present a lecture. The night before the lecture, I was able to spend some time with Wayne (I think this is what I called him, but it is not his real name). We had a few beers and talked about teeth. He sees dentistry in an interesting way.

He started asking me questions about my schedule and how it works. He is presently in a two-week class on the business of dentistry. Hilarious. This class on the business of dentistry is probably a total of 10 hours. I am also taking a class on the business of dentistry; it has been going on for 17 years and I am barely pulling a C minus. The class promises to finish in about 17 more years and I am hoping to pull my grade up to a high C.

Wayne is worried about technology. He said that he’s been hearing a lot about CAD-CAM. I told him that I have no problem with CAD-CAM and I think it is an awesome piece of equipment, but our practice just doesn't cut enough crowns to justify having one.

He also asked about digital impressions. I again told him that $40,000 was a lot to make up. It costs $5-$8 per impression and we do 60 crowns a year (that is about 50 impressions). You do the math. It just doesn't make sense for our practice. He started to ask another question, but stopped. “Spit it out, Wayne.”

"But what if people get the impression that we are not up-to-date on our technology?"

Hmm. I had a hard time explaining to him that just because you don't have two of the top three expensive pieces of equipment that dentistry has to offer (CAT scan being the other one, and no I don't have that either), doesn't mean you are not up-to-date. I also had a hard time explaining to him that there is a small amount of people that care more about your technology than about you. up-to-date If your patients like you and trust you, they do not care so much about your equipment. Some do, and I am not sticking my head in the sand and pretending that it doesn't matter, but most patients pay more attention to you than your equipment.

I don't have these pieces of equipment, so market the things we do have. I accentuate the positives. Like in life, if you continue to dwell on the things you don't have, you are going to be a very unhappy person.

I hope to create an environment that values relationships. I have created an office that cares about the needs of the patient before the needs of staff. This office puts service above self. It is up-to-date on the latest CE and does dentistry really well. We are moderately up-to-date on technology, as well. We have digital x-rays and have monitors on the ceiling that impress people, and we have paperless charts. But I am not trying to impress people with my technology; I am trying to impress people with my thoroughness.

This has worked for me for the last 17 years and it is going to have to work for me for the next 17 years. I want people to tell their friends that I was an awesome dentist, that I was friendly and my staff was helpful. I want them to say that this office was so comfortable and warm. Will they mention that we had cool, current technology? Maybe.

Wayne asked what would happen if the guy down the street has a CAD-CAM. I didn’t know what to say. Will I lose a patient because I don't have one? Maybe. I guess I have never really been concerned that I wasn't current enough.

If the guy down the street does have a CAD-CAM, do his patients tell their friends that their dentist hast a one-visit crown machine? Heck yeah he does. And if I had one, I would be marketing the crap out of that thing. But I don't, and I don't care.

I do have a lot to offer, folks. I sound like Stuart Smalley again. "Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggonit, people like me!"

It just is funny how younger adults see the world. Some of them have never been consumers. They have never gone to a mechanic and felt ripped off or felt helpless because they don't know what they are talking about. I go there and don't care about the machines they have. I just want to know that they know what they are doing, they do it well and they do it at a fair price. I care that they talk to me in a way I understand and I don't feel like they are doing stuff just to make money. It is the same with dentistry and my patients.

Have a great week. I will talk to you soon.



Anonymous said...

Baron Manfred Von Richthofen, aka The Red Baron, the pilot with the highest number of aerial kills in WWI, once said "It is not the crate (airplane), but the man in it that counts". Still true today. G

Anonymous said...

I like it. We always hear in dentistry how important it is to have the "best" technology. What about being a good person? Focus on the people, because no matter how expensive and impressive your technology, if you are a jerk, nobody will care. Thanks for the post.


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