Categories
Internet Management Radiography

Dexis for Dentrix Ascend

ascendNew at the Chicago Midwinter:

Dentrix Ascend the cloud computing practice management system from Henry Schein now has a much needed new feature. Cloud based radiography.

Cloud based digital radiography has been a challenge. The speed of data transfer has limited the effectiveness of cloud based systems such that most dentists used a locally installed radiography system. This worked but negated all the built in advantages of having a cloud system in the first place.

Working with the radiography experts at Dexis the Ascend programmers have developed a patented algorithm that compresses the image – without loss of diagnostic data – that makes the speed of transfer so fast it appears to be happening locally. Very impressive.

The new program is built to integrate seamlessly with Dentrix Ascend. As with the core Ascend product the new radiography system is designed from the ground up to take advantage of digital technology. That is to say the workflow is not based on old paper and film practices but is based on how we can be most efficient using digital systems.

For example the user chooses the type of image(s) being taken prior to exposure. Once taken the image is automatically linked to the tooth in the patient chart and the ledger is updated to show the procedure and the fee.

This new feature makes cloud computing a much more attractive alternative to dentists looking for a practice management solution.

There is a second cloud based system Curve Dental that has cloud radiography.

Categories
Internet Software

The Future will be Partly Cloudy

question-cloudCloud computing has been the “next big thing” for close to fifteen years. Back then it wasn’t the Cloud or SAS but was called ASP (Application Service Provider).  Various companies have been nibbling at the edge of cloud computing for dentists since 1999. They have been nibbling but have failed to achieve much a foothold in the dental practice management system world. Currently Curve Dental and Planet DDS are the most well-known companies offering cloud computing for dentists.

Whatever you call it and whoever is selling it why bother? What makes having the application running in the cloud better than having it on the server in my closet? Here are eight advantages to cloud computing.

  1. Lower startup costs, you do not buy the software, you merely subscribe to it.
  2.  Lower hardware costs as you only need low-end computers, or even non computer “dumb” terminals (also called thin client) a network router and a hi-speed internet connection.
  3.  You will have none of the current software/hardware conflicts seen in offices running different software versions over various different network configurations.
  4.  You can use MAC, PC, Linux or any other operating system of your choice as long as it has Internet access. Currently Dentrix Ascend is optimized to work with Google Chrome and Safari for iPads.
  5.  Upgrades and software maintenance will be easier. All users will be using the exact same version and only the software at the remote server will need to be upgraded. And it can be upgraded at any time without the need for the massive release of a new version.
  6.  Dental practices with multiple office locations will all have access to the same database. In addition the data can be accessed from any web device including the doctor’s home computer or even a mobile handheld computer. You can even authorize patients, colleagues, third parties, team members or practice management consultants access to information when you deem it appropriate.
  7.  There will be no need to backup data and take it off site for safety. It will be stored on a remote server so all data will be sent off site instantly and stored in a secure and redundant fashion. The remote server will have all the latest in data protection including anti hacker security and antivirus systems, which the local user often neglects.
  8.  There will be less “noise” in the office. That is one less thing the doctor and staff need to worry about keeping up with, fixing and supporting.

There are limits to cloud computing. To use it you of course need a reliable high speed Internet connection. Certain large data files particularly radiographs, CT scans and even high def photos are a problem for remote processing. Although it is changing people still feel uncomfortable having all their data stored somewhere else. There is a real fear of the “what if factor”.

Why it has taken so long to actually catch on is an interesting study, never the less cloud computing does have real and significant advantages over traditional server client systems. The entry of Henry Schein into the market is substantial. We are all looking at a future that will be at least partly cloudy.

Categories
Security

Hackers Have Seized 38 Million Adobe Customer Records

Adobe-LogoFrom Gizmodo:

Adobe has admitted that hackers have snatched over 38 million Adobe IDs and encrypted passwords, along with credit card information, reports Reuters. Adobe spokeswoman Heather Edell told Reuters that the company believes the attackers obtained access to “many invalid Adobe IDs, inactive Adobe IDs, Adobe IDs with invalid encrypted passwords and test account data.”

But that neatly squirms out of the fact that many customers will have had authentic details snatched, too.

via Hackers Have Seized 38 Million Adobe Customer Records.

This is important for three reasons.

If you are an Adobe customer you might be at risk.

Storing sensitive personal data online cannot be made 100% safe. This has to include medical information. Are we OK with that? As much as I love the concept of an integrated EHR stored on the cloud I acknowledge there are security risks.

Do not use the same easy to remember password all the time. If it is compromised on one site it makes you vulnerable on all the others. On the other hand it is not possible to remember multiple complex passwords. An acceptable solution is a password manager. I use RoboForm.

Categories
Hardware Office Design

How to Improve Your Wi-Fi Signal

wifiGood advice for home and dental office,

Wi-Fi routers work best without physical barriers, such as cement or brick, blocking their signal. Think of your Wi-Fi signal as a stream of water ripples, constantly moving outward but getting weaker as it expands. Centralize your router in your home, ensuring the strongest signal will reach as far as possible…

via How to Improve Your Wi-Fi Signal.

Categories
Dentalcompare Internet

Eight Advantages of Cloud Computing

Dentalcompare this week’s article. What the heck do people mean when they talk about cloud computing and how does that effect dentistry?

…one would never display techno ignorance by being so out of it as to ask what the term “The Cloud” is actually referring to.

So what does the cloud actually mean in the world of technology?

Mostly the term refers to three things:

via Emmott On Technology: The 8 Advantages of Cloud Computing | Dentalcompare.com.

Categories
Dental Speaker Future Tech

Webinar March 13

Digital Technology and the Future of Dentistry

Larry Emmott, DDS

Course date: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 05:00 PM (MST)

Computers aren’t just for numbers any more. Some of the most exciting and incredible developments in technology are in the area of advanced diagnostics and treatment. Everyday dentist are faced with remarkable new high tech products both in the office and in the cloud that do everything from finding caries to making a crown. And this is just the beginning, the future is coming and it will be amazing.

Participants will learn:

  • Understand digital vs. analog technology
  • Review existing and developing clinical technology
  • Discuss the cloud and big data

Target audience: Dentists, Hygienists and Assistants

Colgate Oral Health Network.

Categories
Internet Software

Dentrix Ascend and the Natural User Interface

The sneak peek demo I got of Dentrix Ascend at the Chicago Midwinter confirmed one of my favorite high tech adages, ”A car is not just a faster horse.”

When we first create a digital version of a traditional analog paper system we invariably attempt to duplicate the paper system in a digital format. In other words we are just looking for a faster horse. However once we begin to understand the power and increased usability of digital systems we re-create the paper system completely.

Digital patient records are a prime example of this process. PMS (Practice Management Systems) like Dentrix, Eaglesoft and all the rest created digital charts that were exact copies of the paper forms we had used for so many years. The forms were arranged in the e-chart just like the pages of a paper chart. In fact some products even used an image of a traditional dental office to guide us to each module.

However once we understand how digital systems work we can recreate the chart based not on the old limited paper model but on the actual workflow of a dental office. Dentrix calls this a Natural User Interface.

For example when a person was making an appointment, the traditional paper system we used was an appointment book; and all the PMS systems recreated the books right down to the ring bindings.

However when making an appointment it would be useful for the scheduler to know if there are medical issues or if the patient has an outstanding balance. With the paper system we would have to run for the chart, flip through to the medical section then scramble for a ledger to check the balance. Actually that is just too awkward so we actually don’t run and scramble.

A digital system has the medical and financial stuff segregated to various digital modules and we have to drop down, click and scroll to find it.

A Natural User Interface recognizes how we actually work or should work if the system allowed it and presents the scheduler not with a digital book but with easy links to the functions and data we need to do the job.

Categories
Software

Dentrix Ascend

Categories
Future Tech Internet Software

Why the Cloud is Better

Cloud computing has been the “next big thing” for close to fifteen years. I first wrote about it back in 1999 when it was called ASP (Application Service Provider). Why it has taken so long to actually catch on is an interesting study, never the less with the entrance of Henry Schein and Dentrix Ascend into the cloud in dentistry we may finally see online “cloud” computing become main stream.

The name Cloud refers to the fact that the application is processed not on your local server but off in the Internet at a remote server that is usually shown as a cloud as in the diagram shown here.

When I wrote about ASPs back in 1999. I listed seven advantages. They are still valid.

1. Lower startup costs, you do not buy the software, you merely subscribe to it.

2. Lower hardware costs as you only need low-end computers, or even non computer “dumb” terminals (also called thin client) a network router and a hi-speed internet connection.

3. You will have none of the current software/hardware conflicts seen in offices running different software versions over various different network configurations.

4. Upgrades and software maintenance will be easier. All users will be using the exact same version and only the software at the remote server will need to be upgraded. And it can be upgraded at any time with out the need for the massive release of a new version.

5. Dental practices with multiple office locations will all have access to the same database. In addition the data can be accessed from any web device including the doctors home computer or even a mobile handheld computer. You can even authorize patients, colleagues, third parties and team members access to information which you deem appropriate.

6. There will be no need to backup data and take it off site for safety. It will be stored on a remote server so all data will be sent off site instantly and stored in a secure and redundant fashion. The remote server will have all the latest in data protection including anti hacker security and antivirus systems, which the local user often neglects.

7. There will be less “noise” in the office. That is one less thing the doctor and staff need to worry about keeping up with, fixing and supporting.

Categories
Future Tech Internet Software

Why Dentrix in the Cloud is Such a Big Thing

The announcement scheduled for later this week at the Chicago Midwinter that Henry Schein and Dentrix are getting into the cloud is huge.

In the US Henry Schein is the biggest dental supplier and their flagship practice management system Dentrix is the most used software

Various companies have been nibbling at the edge of cloud computing for dentists for years. They have been nibbling but have failed to achieve much a foothold in the dental practice management system world. The entry of Dentrix into the cloud business is significant for three reasons:

  • Henry Schein and Dentrix are the establishment. They are smart people who know dentistry extremely well. The fact that they are ready to launch a cloud product indicates the market is ready.
  • As the establishment and market leader they have huge resources in money and talent available to develop a cloud system.
  • With a well established Dentrix user base of over 35,000 plus users of their other various software products, Easy Dental and Enterprise they have a ready market of potential cloud clients who already use and trust the Dentrix brand.
Categories
Diagnostics Future Tech

Dwave Quantum Computing Could Disruptively Impact Medicine

Hmmm

D-Wave is currently investigating the use of quantum computing in understanding protein folding. Mr. Hilton explains “if we could understand the structure of proteins we would know what drugs can interfere with their activity.” D-Wave is also developing algorithms that can detect cancer based on x-ray information.

via Dwave Quantum Computing Could Disruptively Impact Medicine, Machine Intelligence, Data Security and other Areas.

Imagine doing an at-home scan using an ultrasonic device attached to a cell phone, uploading it to the cloud, having it analyzed and a diagnosis with a personalized treatment prescribed in a matter of minutes.

Faster, more accurate and more personal, we might even say higher quality healthcare provided without a physician or hospital. Now that is disruptive innovation.

Categories
Future Tech General Health Care Politics Management Security

Who Owns the Data? Good Question

I think the following comment regarding this post from last week is worth highlighting.

You are right on target about the PMS companies NOT owning the data in the PMS. So it baffles me that Henry Schein has take the opposite stance with Dentrix G5. If you don’t already know – they have encrypted the database in this new version, and have told users that they can work only with the 3rd party vendors THEY (Schein) chooose. So for things like e-claims, you can’t choose any company you like to extract the claim data from G5 and submit claims for you. Ditto for digital x-ray systems – only the ones “approved” by Schein will get access to your patient data in G5.

I’m curious to know your opinion on this decision, and what you think dentists should do if they disagree with it.

Thanks,

Brian Smith
CEO
Lighthouse PMG

On the one hand I completely understand that PMS systems like Dentrix and the others must take action to protect the patient data base from both hackers and possible corruption from third party vendors writing directly to the application.

On the other hand I believe that as the creator and custodian of the data the dentist should have complete access to it in a usable fashion to export as he/she sees fit. Of course the dentist still needs to abide by HIPAA and other rules regarding care of the data. Never the less if I own it, as opposed to the PMS system owning it, then I should be able to use it and the current systems do not function in that manner.

What should dentists do? I am not sure, however the vast majority have never considered the issue. That is why I am bringing it up.

Categories
Anti-Buzz Future Tech Internet

The Anti-Buzz: Clouds

The Buzz: The cloud is just a buzzword.


The Anti-Buzz: The cloud is very abstract, but very real.

According to some, “the cloud” is yet another tech-bubble. I wanted to address this claim, but I realized that the audience here would probably prefer a primer on what the cloud is and isn’t before I wax philosophic on speculation bubbles again. Cloud-computing is a particularly nasty buzzword in the sense that it feels very hype-driven, all flash and no substance. This is because the concept of cloud-computing is very abstract, and so it is easy for the idea to feel empty.

A number of readers would probably love a more concrete explanation of the cloud. Well, one doesn’t exist. If your notion of the cloud is vague, that’s because the cloud is a vague notion. I think the best way to describe the cloud is simply that it is the observation that most computer users have access to high-speed Internet, access to multiple computers, and are comfortable using the Internet as a resource. If that doesn’t sound exciting, understand that it is a pretty good catch-all. The advent of the Internet has shown us what happens when there are no barriers on our information. The cloud is the next step: removing all barriers from our activities. The Internet proved itself by doing certain things very well, but for a time there was still a partition between “things I do with my computer” and “things I go to the Internet for.” The cloud is the removal of that distinction. All things you do on your computer are things you can go to the Internet for.

When “the cloud” is simply a matter of centralized data storage, the implications are easy to trace. Among the earliest implementations of cloud-based services was webmail – gmail, yahoo, hotmail, etc. Your e-mail isn’t on your computer, it is stored online, associated with your account, which you access from any browser. The advantages of being able to access and manage your e-mail from any computer with Internet access were apparent even in the late 90s when these services first appeared.

As more complex cloud-based services appear, the implications of cloud computing become harder to guess at. E-mail is easy to grok because each person has a unique, individual collection of e-mail – your webmail account really is storing your e-mail online. But what about repeatable information? What about access? If you pay for a subscription to a news site, you are paying for access. This too is easy to follow, but less obvious is that something like iTunes or the Kindle store are actually subscription services too. Amazon doesn’t copy an eBook for each person that buys it – that would be silly. All they need to do is track who “owns” the book, and then they allow access to the one master copy. The ramifications of this model are hard to guess at right now: it challenges our traditional ideas of ownership and property.

Even less obvious is software as service. My go-to example continues to be Prezi, but googledocs have been the more prescient example – you don’t need to install a word processor, you can just borrow one from the Internet. The takeaway is that this stuff is still emerging, and that we can’t know what the implications are for traditional software, but it’s hit buzzword status. The cloud has arrived. From iTunes to app stores to webmail to flickr to googledocs, it’s clear this is the way forward.

Which brings me full circle back to the impetus of this conversation: Is the cloud another tech bubble? A full exploration of this question will wait for next week, but for now we need to recognize some key features of a tech bubble. A common misconception is that if there is a tech X bubble, then tech X is a fad and not worth investing in. Quite the opposite. If tech X hadn’t already proven its importance, then there wouldn’t be a bubble in the first place. As I said about social media, the new tech paradigm is here to stay, what remains uncertain is exactly how it will impact society and which companies will come out on top. A bubble is a lose-lose investment scenario – tech X is too obviously ripe to risk no investment, but too poorly understood to inform wise investment. Cloud-computing fits this description: An obvious paradigm shift that can’t be ignored, but too poorly understood to be mastered by everyone.

The deeper question is: where are the large investments that risk large failure? You can’t have a bubble without risky investment, and the landscape is not littered with overvalued cloud start-ups. So is there a cloud tech bubble? Join me next week for a closer look at the risk-takers.

Categories
Future Tech Internet

Cloud Computing: The Layperson’s Guide

There is probably no bigger “buzz word” in technology right now that “cloud computing”. It is used to mean many different things depending on who is using it. The original meaning has been stretched past the breaking point.

As dentists we are and will be presented with “cloud” solutions. If we expect to make good technology decisions we need to know what that means rather than just nodding along so as to appear hip, with it and up to date.

The attached article explains the different variations of “cloud computing” and gives some great examples.

The idea behind cloud computing is that software, services and information can be provided to users over a network connection and through a web browser, rather than running locally on a computer or a local network server.

via Cloud Computing: The Layperson’s Guide to Distributed Networks.