Most of the data being generated on a regular basis is produced by the health-care industry. This is evident in the fact that by 2025, the compound annual growth rate of data for health care will reach 36%. That’s approximately 11% faster than the entertainment industry, 10% faster than financial services, and 6% faster than manufacturing.
With all this data coming in at an exponential rate year after year, health-care leaders are trying to find ways to harness it to its full potential to ameliorate patient outcomes and the population’s health as a whole. Dental care providers have been no exception.
The practice of dentistry is transforming in such a way that data-driven decision-making becomes a key component in offering patient-centric dental care. I will explore why dental providers need to integrate data management solutions into their practices to streamline workflows and deliver care in a better way.
Data management gives dentists and staff more time
Burnout among US dental providers is on the rise. One recent report published on ResearchGate suggests that dentists and dental students with low levels of occupational participation—known as the imbalance of occupational performance and occupational satisfaction—had high levels of burnout and depression.
Dr. Christina Maslach, an American social psychologist known for her research on occupational burnout, emphasized that one of the keys to beating burnout is to control workload problems by frequently evaluating your workload. “You must work in a way that works for you. If you haven’t figured that out yet, keep changing how you schedule until you find something that works. Your workload can increase burnout, so manage your schedule and reduce its risks,” Dr. Maslach stated in one of her research whitepapers.
For dentists, this means using resources in ways that can free up time to concentrate on patients and to recharge, even amid busy schedules. Automation is one data management solution that can be used effectively for this.
Automated solutions, which are driven by advanced machine learning algorithms, allow dental providers to harness data from patients and health-care sources and use it to its full potential. This frees them of manual, repetitive tasks to focus on patients as well as themselves.
Automating manual tasks and other processes that demand less human intervention can give the staff more time to concentrate on activities that demand immediate attention and directly contribute to the business’ bottom line. Integrating software solutions such as practice management platforms with electronic health records integration and online appointment scheduling is another effective way in which data management can help dentists.
Data management solutions like these can easily create a sort of framework, not only for making data interoperable and easily accessible across the organization, but also for making it more purposeful at a macro level so that others in dental care can also use it to deliver patient-centric care.
Data management helps cut down costs and increase safety
One of the most visible advantages of improved data management is reduced operational costs. The better you manage data, the less likely you’ll shell out extra bucks to avail the same advantages. Our industry is constantly under pressure to maintain compliance and regulation requirements when it comes to sensitive patient information. This further adds costs.
Cloud hosting servers that adhere to compliance guidelines allow dental offices to offload most data into a centralized repository that’s far more secure and less expensive compared with in-house hardware systems. Having an automated cloud data platform also allows for automatic policy-based cleanings, which means you can delete irrelevant data and keep more space free. This greatly mitigates storage-related spending.
Data management also reduces costs related to patients. More effective data segregation, storage, and swift data retrieval help dental providers furnish preventive initiatives in a streamlined manner. If data can be applied more quickly and accurately, then areas where patients need improvement can be identified and treated sooner.
It's a win-win situation for everyone. Dental facilities become less crowded with patients who have preventable conditions, readmission rates go down, and both dentists and patients pay less upfront.
Better data means better trend analysis, and individual patients can be more accurately assessed, but the advantages do not end here. With better data organization, dental providers can identify areas of high expense-to-patient ratios, for example, and make procedural improvements based on that key performance metric.
Data management is one solution that can get a lot of dentists what they need without digging a hole in their pockets. It’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to data management. Every practice is unique, therefore, the solution you choose should be able to cater to the specific needs of your practice.
Experiment with different options, keep an eye on your competitors, ask your patients for feedback, and decide what will best fit your requirements. When harnessed in the right way, data management can help streamline your practice and contribute to increasing your bottom line.
To discover how data can help your practice improve patient care, team collaboration, and practice growth, Dental Intelligence offers a no-cost, no-obligation analysis. Visit dentalintel.com to learn more.
Chuck Le, DDS, is the founder of 7 Day Dental and is a recognized leader in the field of dentistry. For several years, Dr. Le has dedicated his time and resources to working with organizations and causes that help the less fortunate, as well as youth development and well-being, both internationally and in the US. His philanthropy has included contributions to the disaster relief efforts after the 2004 tsunami in Thailand, and the restoration efforts after major conflagrations in Vietnam.