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Why managing your practice on the cloud is overrated, or not

Dec. 14, 2016
Change? Progress? Hurling my server out a window? Bah! Who needs it!

Change? Progress? Hurling your server out a window?

Bah! Who needs it?!

I say “bah!”

The advantages of moving your practice to the cloud are overrated. And I should know. I’ve been in the dental software business for more than 20 years. I’ve played both sides, my friends, and I can tell you that life is much fuller on the out-of-date, client-server side.

Sitting on my grandfather’s knee as a lad, I remember him waxing on about his Buick. He’d go on and on about that car, how he’d have to boil water to thaw the radiator on cold mornings. He always had two spares in the trunk because a blowout was a regular occurrence. I figure grandfather lived life more fully than I do now.

How so?

I suppose there was time for reflection as he waited for the water to boil. I imagine he timed himself to see how quickly he could change a tire. What could be more healthy for the soul than introspection and self-improvement?

That said, I challenged myself to find 10 reasons why a doctor would shun the cloud. And here they are:

Updating software is fun. Receiving a new upgrade in the mail with a surprisingly short list of new features is exciting. You can hardly wait to call your IT pro to install the upgrade and work out the kinks. You won’t find that kind of excitement with cloud-based applications because the new stuff is available whenever you log in. How fun is that?

Server crashes are the spice of life. Forrest’s momma reminds us that, like a box of chocolates, servers can be pesky and unpredictable. So, when that server does go down (and it will), remember that practices on the cloud won’t taste that particular flavor of life.

Data backup is a responsibility, not a chore! Just as jury duty is a civic responsibility, taking that backup disk home every night is a privileged duty not to be shirked. Practices with their data on the cloud don’t have an opportunity to exercise the same zeal.

Investing in a server is a sound financial decision. Every three to five years your practice should be retiring an old server for a new one. Accountants recommend that you amortize that expense so your bottom line looks a bit healthier. Of course, if you didn’t have to buy that server in the first place, I suppose your bottom line would be healthier without the accounting mumbo jumbo. Regardless, a server is a symbol of your financial status. The bigger the better!

Writing big checks feeds the ego. There’s something about pulling out your wallet and throwing a wad of cash down on the counter. It’s like hitting the town on a payday Friday: You’re flush with cash and looking for a party. Big checks for big software licensing fees are no exception. Cloud-based practices don’t pay monstrous licensing fees, and I suppose miss out on that macho feeling.

Hardware configuration is fun, too! Spending time away from the family to install, configure, and upgrade software on every computer in your practice is just part of the dream of owning the practice. Doctors on the cloud will miss out on that fun.

Bolt-on, third-party software is macho. Just as after-market rear spoilers gives every low rider that sweet look, using third-party communications software to access patient information is just as attractive. You’d miss that third-party software experience were you on the cloud.

Better HIPAA Compliance. HIPAA is a big deal. Every doctor with a server is subject to 19 different physical and technical security requirements. It is your responsibility to your patients to spend more time and resources on making sure you are in compliance. Practices with no on-site server spend their time differently.

Installation and setup time is a bonding experience. With older software, taking time to install and setup management software can also be a time to bond with your IT pro, your office manager, or your entire team. Some have found this experience to be a great opportunity to practice anger management techniques. Today’s technology standard, the cloud, only requires a username and password to get started, which circumvents a bonding opportunity.

Change is not necessary

Let us throw change to the wind, my friends. Why lift a hand to change? Why build up even a drop of sweat if the system works well? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And, finally, In the words of W. Edward Deming, “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not necessary.”

Well said, Mr. Deming! Well said.

Andy Jensen is the chief marketing officer for Curve Dental Inc., a developer of cloud-based dental software based in Orem, Utah. Jensen has 20 years of experience in the dental software market. To learn more about Curve Dental and cloud software for dental practices, e-mail Jensen at [email protected] or visit


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Editor's note:

This article first appeared in the Apex360 e-newsletter. Apex360is a DentistryIQ partner publication for dental practitioners and members of the dental industry. Its goal is to provide timely dental information and present it in meaningful context, empowering those in the dental space to make better business decisions. Visit the Apex360 home page here, and subscribe to the Apex360 e-newsletter here.

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