With the integration of technology into a practice’s standardized workflow, dental practices gain actionable insights that have the power to reshape business efficiency and incite growth.
The role of big data in the dental industry is just beginning to take shape. In the last few years, practice management systems and patient care tools have become integral to efficient management, but an entire component—one that often determines and drives the delivery of patient care—has largely been relegated to antiquated workflows and paper trails from an era that predates the digital age. With the increasing popularity and widespread availability of restorations, the dental lab has become a central, external component of dental care delivery. However, few practices have visibility into the practice-lab relationship and the benefits that tracking data that could unlock area for improved efficiency; efficiency that translates into savings in time and money.
At Arklign, we have been focused on leveraging technology to improve and enhance the dental practice-dental lab relationship. As both a global lab and technology platform, we have first-hand knowledge of the pain points that exist in the practice-lab dynamic. So, we set out to mitigate the inefficiencies by developing Arklign Case Relationship Management (aCRM), our proprietary workflow system that centralizes and tracks all communication between practices, doctors and the dental lab.
In addition to the myriad benefits that come from moving from a paper-driven workflow to a digital, online system, we believe that tracking data and the delivery of actionable insights has the potential to fundamentally change the practice-lab relationship, especially for dental practices and DSOs looking to grow and scale their businesses. Actionable insights are built into the aCRM platform, so dental practices can monitor and have a real-time view into case alerts, reworks and turnaround time. Both real-time and macro views into this data empower dental practices to uncover the bottlenecks within the dynamic, unmasking areas to be addressed.
Access to data that provides actionable insights creates a communication feedback loop between all stakeholders on the delivery side of the dental care equation: dentists, office managers and the lab. It can reveal the adjustments necessary, whether that’s in the office to improve communication speed or the lab’s fabrication line to meet the needs of the practice.
One Arklign client, a large DSO, discovered through working with Arklign, an approximate $500,000 in lost value within a 10-month span. aCRM revealed that 45% of communication time was spent clarifying case instructions derived from paper prescriptions. On average, it took 2 days before the lab received a response from doctors and, in some cases, doctors took 16 to 40 days to respond, leading to case delays and patient rescheduling that equates to almost half a million dollars in lost time. The actionable component to this insight is the transition to the Smart Rx feature built into aCRM. Depending on the product selected, Smart Rx asks for all necessary information in the prescription form, so the lab can move forward with a complete set of instructions to fabricate the case. This simple workflow change has a quantifiable impact: dentists who use the Smart Rx feature in aCRM spend 23% less time on clarifying case instructions, translating to significant savings in time and money for dentists, practices and improved satisfaction for patients.
Big data isn’t just a high-level concept for the technology industry. It can, and should, be a part of the dental industry’s toolbox to improve and enhance dental care delivery, especially for growing practices and DSOs that rely on efficient workflows that support the ability to scale with growth. But data is nothing without context, so value is going to be found most readily with actionable insights, an area that Arklign is fully committed to bringing to the forefront of the increasingly important practice-lab relationship. Because of these findings, we have decided to open up our platform to allow all dentists on our platform to send to multiple dental laboratories so they can manage all their cases from one place.