A problem I see over and over again with high tech and dentistry is Stuff vs. Solutions. The most visible element of digital technology is the thing; that is the computer, the sensor the big monitor or even the web page. Because these things are so obvious the tendency is to think of technology in terms of these things, in other words “stuff”. If you have the stuff you are high tech.
Having stuff is nice but the real value of technology is when it can be used to provide a solution. Technology by itself has no value it only has value when it used to enhance our systems both human systems and clinical systems.
A human system for example is the work flow needed to schedule a patient, remind them of an appointment, and get the proper information to the dentist regarding that patient. A clinical system would be capturing a diagnostic aid like a radiograph or detecting decay.
If a dental office has a good PMS (Practice Management System) like Eaglesoft or Dentrix that is stuff. Following the human system example above many offices will use the PMS to schedule, then call the patient to remind them and then dig out a paper chart from the files to record and transfer information about the patient. They may have stuff, but do not have a good solution.
On the other hand if the office uses the PMS to make an appointment then connects to a web service to send an e-reminder and gets a complete patient record with a single mouse click from any computer in the office; that is a solution.
The office with good high tech solutions will get much more value from technology that those offices who just buy stuff.
Buying stuff is easy (as long as you have the money :-)) Developing and implementing solutions takes a lot more effort.