Core Concept # 2: The Digital Nervous System

For over ten years I have been working with dentists, and more importantly in my own office, to use technology well and develop an effective high tech dental office. From that experience I have developed four core concepts which can help guide dentists in the development of a high tech dental office.

  1. Change
  2. Digital Nervous System
  3. High Tech – High Touch
  4. End in Mind

In his best selling book “Business @ the Speed of Thought” Bill Gates says that “business will change more in the next ten years than it has in the last fifty.” He bases this prediction in large part on what he calls “the digital nervous system”. What that refers to is the complete connection of all parts of a business through computer networks, then the connection of all businesses to each other and finally the complete connection of customers through computers and the Internet. This digital nervous system will allow for the instant flow of information transforming everything we do.

In the dental office the system would connect the treatment rooms to the front desk, but it won’t stop there. From the office you will connect to suppliers, insurers, laboratories and specialists. The patient would also be connected able to get appointment or account information, contact a third party or learn about dentistry all through the Internet anytime from anywhere.


Once you understand this idea idea all the high tech hype starts to make sense. It is also a critical element to the answer to why dentists need treatment room computers. If you do not have a computer in the treatment room you can not connect to the digital nervous system If you aren’t connected you get very limited value from technology.


The following is from an article in Techno file by Jim Bray

Like a human nervous system, the digital nervous system connects all the different “limbs and organs” of a corporate (or even, increasingly, a home) environment. It gathers, analyzes, tracks, controls, and transmits information between the various parts, making them interact into a seamless whole. And, in the same way a human nervous system also controls one’s input and output to the world (through eyes, ears, mouth, etc.) a digital nervous system can connect a corporate whole to the world at large as well.

While this technological nervous system is made up of nuts and bolts (okay, circuits, wires and chips) it’s more than technology. It’s a mindset, a way of looking at the wired world in which we live that can be grasped by people who don’t pretend to understand all the technology that goes into it. It’s also a way for information technology people to show the “powers that be” what the big picture is and now all this technology really fits in.

Read the whole article here: TechnoFILE Looks at the Digital Nervous System

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