IT not optional

by Larry Emmott on January 28, 2011

in Management

The following quote from Bill Gates has direct application to dentistry.

“Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don’t think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without the talking about the other.”      Bill Gates (BTW the Bill Gates link takes you to other quotes.)

As dentists the vast majority of us have chosen to be both a provider of healthcare and a business owner. As such we are always faced with the dual responsibility of improving our professional knowledge and skill and maintaining a profitable business.

In my experience for the most part dentists get more excited about learning a new bonding technique than they do about learning a new way to manage records and reduce costs. It is not that they don’t want to run a business, most dentists passionately want to be their own boss, it is just that clinical dentistry is more interesting to them than business.

The result is that dentists often look at technology (IT) designed to help the business as a burden, an annoyance, a necessary evil. When in fact modern business simply can not function without technology. It is not an annoyance but an essential.

Furthermore once the investment in both money and training has been made the technology can streamline the distracting business duties and allow the dentist to concentrate more fully on the clinical matters that interest him/her.

The good news is that dentists can outsource IT. The dentist needs to provide leadership but the dentist does not need to be involved in every little widget. Also the availability of amazing e-services allow dentists to outsource a number of business duties that in the past required onsite equipment and personnel.

If you want to be your own boss, if you want to run a business if you crave your own independent practice then you must tolerate the business side of dentistry. One of the best ways to do that is to embrace technology.

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