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'Superman status': How the Sikka Platform Cloud is connecting the dental industry—from manufacturers, dealers, and associations, to practice owners and patients

Nov. 24, 2015
It's not uncommon for practice owners to feel as though they spend too much time on administrative tasks at the expense of time with patients. In fact, you're probably procrastinating right now, aren't you? If you want to procrastinate a bit longer, we can tell you where Sikka Platform Cloud comes in.

It's not uncommon for practice owners to feel as though they spend too much time on administrative tasks at the expense of time with patients. I'd also be willing to bet that quite a few of you dentists, as you read this, are sitting in the office, procrastinating on completing said administrative tasks.

Maybe you feel like it's a hassle; maybe you're working from an outdated operating system; maybe you'd rather be at home. I don't know . . .

What I do know is this:

Sikka Software's cloud-based platform, Sikka Platform Cloud, is working to transform practice management for owner-dentists, and as it does, it's opening opportunities to get involved for manufacturers, distributors, and other entities within the industry.

Launched in 2011, the Sikka Platform Cloud is just now entering its prime. Over 15,000 user installations have been made thus far, and each month, approximately 200 new dental offices are signing up, adding roughly 500 apps in sum.

READ MORE | Where will the dental industry be in 10 years?

"The other iterations of the platform were really focused on enabling the data, enabling the doctor to understand [his or her] practice in more detail, activating the data as a means of managing the business, and teaching doctors how to use the data to manage their [businesses] and optimize what they're doing," said Geoffrey Martin, VP of marketing for Sikka Software.

But with the newest release, it's not just about reporting and insights. It's about enabling practice owners to see how their practices stand in comparison to industry benchmarks and the competition-in their cities, in their states, and across the United States.

"Within the same geography and the same demographic, you'll see one practice performing at one level and another practice next door performing at five times the level-more profitable, higher patient retention rate, higher patient satisfaction," said Martin. "And the difference is the way they optimize their interactions with the customer base and the tools that they have within their office. And that's what we focus on-how do we take the practice from good to great?"

"The other thing that [the most recent release] does is activate and enable a lively customer interaction," said Martin. For example, patients can better understand their options in terms of treatment plans and insurance benefits through Sikka's Patient Home Page and partner apps. "And because of that higher-level dialogue, the marketplace is much more enlightened and much more opportunistic for those partners to introduce their wares in context," said Martin.

READ MORE | Top 2015 dental industry trends and 2016 predictions from the Apex360 Editorial Advisory Board

Currently, the Sikka Platform Cloud hosts 32 apps for the dental industry, 28 of which are partner apps. Of those partner apps, 15 come from companies that net over $2 billion each year. Apps hosted on the Sikka Platform Cloud include Sikka Software apps-such as Practice Optimizer, Patient Home Page, and Practice Monitor-plus a number of partner apps from Midmark, Benco Dental, MicroDental, Henry Schein DDX, the American Dental Association, the California Dental Association, One Mind Health, TSI, DentalWebNow, BirdEye, and other vendors.

By hosting these apps and simplifying user access, the Sikka Platform Cloud streamlines the process of practice management. Plus, since it's cloud-based and has been assessed for both HIPAA and HITECH compliance by numerous bodies within the industry, it also makes it possible for practice owners to use their practice management software and financial software remotely and securely.

"It's revolutionary," said Vijay Sikka, CEO and founder of Sikka Software. "Think about a dentist sitting in his practice or her practice and looking at a Windows 98 machine, struggling at having to be in the practice to do things. And now suddenly, this doctor can use one of these new mobile devices-smartphones-to access these apps and connect with the practice without having to be in the practice. They're untethered. They are completely able to do lab connection, inventory, ordering, patient financing, patient communications, hygiene, performance management, revenue cycle management, insurance claims, accounts receivables, and [more]."

To get started, all a practice owner needs to do is install the Sikka Platform Cloud. What does that entail? Just five minutes of the owner-dentist's time. Think of it like using the Apple App Store: Apps on the Sikka Platform Cloud are sold, serviced, and supported by Sikka's partners. After installing the platform, doctors simply enable the apps with licensed keys.

And so, what's the big opportunity for members of the industry? It's simple: access to customers.

READ MORE | Putting better periodontal health in the mail: An interview with James Hagen, CEO and cofounder of Boka

"One of the unique aspects of this industry is that it's almost $130 billion in dental services a year," said Sikka. "There are almost 120,000 dental practices [in the United States], so our serviceable available market is huge."

Let's go back to that stat from the beginning and do some math. If 15,000 people have installed the Sikka Platform Cloud since its 2004 launch, and if we can safely assume that all-or at least most-of those installations were from different practices, that means that approximately 12.5% of dental practices in the United States are using this platform . . .

I don't think I need to tell you what putting your app on the Sikka Platform Cloud could do for your business.

"We have kind of elevated ourselves to 'Superman' status [in regard to] information within the dental industry because our focus is: How do we make a dental practice more optimized [and] more profitable, [and] help the dentist make more money and keep more money, and drive the best-in-class patient care?" said Sikka. "That's really the goal of what we do. The reason why we get up in the morning and come to work is to help the dentists practice."

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What's happening in your corner of the industry? Know of any cool new tech? Let Erin know at [email protected]!