Since opening its first office in 1964, Limited to Endodontics (LTE) has grown into a vibrant, diverse and well-respected specialty practice with five offices in the greater Boston area, employing 14 clinicians and nearly 50 staff members—all working together to provide their patients with the best and most consistent endodontic care.
Like most modern dental practices, LTE is quick to recognize the benefits of moving from traditional film x–rays to digital radiography and intraoral imaging technology. However, the size and complexity of the organization presents some unique challenges that must be addressed to keep the digital practice running smoothly. “We have five offices and a staff of about 50 that must be in sync and have access to information 24/7,” says Kristan Piselli, practice manager at LTE. “Our network and computer infrastructure must be up to the task of storing and sharing all our digital data. In the beginning, concerns about the expense and complexity almost made digital imaging feel like more an albatross than an enhancement.” Despite initial concerns, LTE's digital strategy allows the practice to work closely with referring dentists and provide better patient care, and puts critical patient information at caregivers' fingertips regardless of which office the patient visits.
“We're endodontic specialists, not computer experts,” says clinician and LTE partner Dr. Steven Levine, DMD. “We need a partner that understands our complicated dental and business requirements, identifies the best technology solution for our needs and helps us make that technology an integrated, successful part of our practice.”
When LTE assessed its latest office automation needs, managing partners spoke with a number of digital imaging providers and technology consultants. They eventually chose a team of Henry Schein dental technology experts backed by TechCentral office automation solutions. After researching their options, LTE partners decided that Henry Schein's experts could offer them the kind of experienced, single–source team they needed to successfully plan, design and implement their ambitious digital imaging strategy.
“We partner with Henry Schein for technology solutions because they have been our primary dental supply provider for years, and we have always been very happy with our relationship,” says Dr. Levine. “As we have worked together on new projects, we know the Henry Schein TechCentral team brings a breadth of computer technical knowledge and a smart, strategic outlook to every aspect of our digital imaging strategy. Our discussions may have started with digital scanners a while ago, but Henry Schein continually introduces us to new possibilities.”
To accomplish these ambitious objectives, the Henry Schein team worked closely with a core group of LTE clinicians and managers to develop and implement a plan that included the following key components:
A well–crafted rollout and training plan plays an especially important role in the success of LTE's office technology projects. And TechCentral and Henry Schein dental technology experts helped LTE through every step of the planning, deployment and rollout process on the initial project to make the transition as smooth and trouble–free as possible.
“Today, the Henry Schein team we work with plays an invaluable role,” says LTE partner Dr. Peter Velyvis, DDS. “When we undertake projects, they provide detailed timelines, keeping us on time and on budget, and someone from their team is always available to address issues and answer questions. We work with many different people representing different vendors, but Henry Schein team coordinates all the pieces and takes full responsibility for making sure things go according to plan.”
“We introduce new systems one office at a time,” says Dr. Velyvis. “This allows the TechCentral team to train a small group of doctors and staff members until they are completely comfortable with the new technology—we then use these new internal ‘experts’ as mentors for our more hesitant staff members. This approach also makes it possible for people who are a bit more apprehensive to receive multiple
Thanks to this combination of careful planning, execution and thorough training, LTE quickly saw significant benefits from its new technology investments.
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For example, the digital radiography, combined with the tight integration of Henry Schein's EndoVision management software, has had a significant and positive impact on the overall patient experience.
“Digital radiography, backed by a highperformance network, increases the speed of everything we do,” says Dr. Velyvis. “Patients appreciate how we share information and discuss treatment. Images appear immediately on monitors right next to their chairs, and those images instantly become part of the patient record. This allows us to consult with patients and prepare treatment plans in real time. When you put all the pieces together, our digital solutions enable us to see more patients, get more work done with each visit, improve efficiencies and provide better, more complete information to our patients.”
Also, LTE's high–performance computer network strengthens the crucial relationships between LTE clinicians and referring dentists. “Dentists send their patients to LTE because they trust our work and appreciate the level of service we provide,” says Dr. Levine. “Our systems reinforce those perceptions, allowing us to instantly email digital images and collaborate electronically–rather than sending physical x–ray films and having phone conversations. Our referring dentists say they appreciate how easy it is to work with us, and that only enhances LTE's good reputation.”
Finally, LTE's network of TechCentral PCs and servers makes its overall business operations safer, more efficient and more productive. “We've come to expect impressive results from our TechCentral network and the dental solutions it powers,” says Piselli. “Because we have solid technology solutions, our clinical staff treats more patients in less time. Our patients can view their statements and pay their bills online. Our clinicians can access patient records and digital images instantly from any of our five offices. Most of our collaboration with referring dentists is done electronically. And we've eliminated the costs, chemicals and extra development time that go with traditional film radiography. All this proves you need a highperformance network to get the most out of your digital strategy.”
Perhaps the greatest proof of success of LTE's digital approach has been the response of some their own team members. “Staff members that were a little skeptical at first have now become our most enthusiastic supporters of digital solutions,” says Dr. Levine. “Everyone has embraced the change, because everyone has experienced the benefits firsthand.”
“I was surprised by how good technology reenergizes our entire staff,” says Piselli. “Our support team feels more involved in patient care because they spend less time on mundane tasks. The software unites people from different parts of the practice and allows them to work together more effectively—from clinicians and dental assistants to the front desk staff. That energy and sense of cooperation is one the many amazing benefits of our strategy that I hadn't really expected.”
“Digital radiography, backed by a highperformance network, increases the speed of everything we do.”