John Naisbitt the author of the famous book Megatrends coined the phrase “High Tech-High Touch”. Naisbitt noted that people really do like High Tech. That is they like the excitement, the change, the novelty, the speed and rapid access to information, they like new and innovative ways of doing things. But they don’t like being turned in to a number or “digitized”. If they perceive that technology is taking over, if the technology is more important than they are, then high tech back lash results.
The challenge, according to Naisbitt, is to provide the high tech innovation people want and businesses need and at the same time to provide the personal high touch relationships people demand.
Dentistry is a perfect example of a High Tech-High Touch profession. Dental patients really do want their dentist to be up to date, using the latest and best methods. They want and even expect their dentist to be state of the art, cutting edge techno perfect. And yet at the same time what most of them want even more is a personal one on one relationship with their dentist. They crave high touch.
The computer knows when all the appointments are scheduled but it doesn’t know not to schedule the current wife, the ex-wife and the girlfriend all at the same time. The computer knows the balance due but it doesn’t know to ask about the when the next grandchild is due.
The point is technology for its own sake has no value. Technology only has value when it solves a human problem, when it enhances the practice. Always start by examining the human system, what are we doing now? Then look at how technology can make it better.