A Worldwide Leader in Digital Dentistry
Pacific Dental Services incorporate digital solutions into its affiliated practices for optimal predictability and quality care.
Practicing primarily in the western United States, Pacific Dental Services (PDS)-affiliated clinicians are collectively becoming known as worldwide leaders in digital dentistry. Originating in California, PDS-affiliated offices have methodically expanded to the east and are currently serving in 9 states across the United States. With a practice environment best characterized as "Private Practice+" a key attribute of this clinical culture is modern dentistry that has digital dentistry at its core.
PDS-affiliated offices continue to incorporate and prove the worth of digital solutions for improving predictability and quality of patient care. The advantages of digital solutions are extensive, and PDS-affiliated dentists are continually testing new solutions to the delivery of care. The objective is two-fold: first, to identify solutions that can increase the quality of the patient experience, and, second, to improve clinical care efficiency. As solutions are found that meet both objectives, it creates increased levels of predictability in service that contribute to a more accurate meeting of patient expectations. This improves customer satisfaction scores and, ultimately, increases patient referrals.
The affiliate dentists have seen multiple benefits from having modern technology. The primary benefit has been that patient retention trends are on the rise. Most offices have experienced a patient retention increase of more than 10% in the past 2 years. Patients love the "modern" environment. Patient survey feedback expressly states their enjoyment of the conveniences technology provides them. The top benefit voiced by patients was the value of the digital x-ray and the greatly reduced exposure to radiation. The number-two benefit cited by these same patients was the convenience of same-day crowns. Patients who had experienced a traditional crown in the past specifically noted what a convenience and value same-day crowns provide.
The secondary benefits are the economic advantages. PDS affiliate-owner dentists are able to realize economic benefits primarily through greatly reduced laboratory and supply costs. As Table 1 illustrates, the average total combined laboratory and supply cost across PDS-affiliated offices has dropped to 8.5% over the last 5 years. Given that an independent private practice typically sees supply costs alone on average of 6%, this is an incredible savings. Sirona Dental Systems, Inc., has been a tremendous partner to PDS-affiliated dentists and the company continues to innovate its CEREC® line. With the use of Sirona Connect, PDS affiliate offices are now experiencing savings in the range of $7 per quadrant impression and up to $15 per full-mouth tray. On average, this represents an additional $350 to $1,000 per month in savings on impression material. These economic benefits enhance financial stability and contribute to future investment.
PDS affiliate offices initiated their digital transformation with Schick Technologies’ digital x-rays. This was followed in 2006 when PDS began the process of incorporating CEREC into every PDS-affiliated office. Since its inception, PDS-affiliated dentists have completed more than 400,000 CEREC restorations (see chart). By the end of 2012 they will have surpassed half a million restorations. In addition to CEREC chairside solutions, PDS-affiliated offices have also adopted Sirona Connect and have completed 20,000 Sirona Connect units. No other organized group of dentists is as close to the widespread adoption of CEREC. Other Sirona products used in affiliate offices include the Galileos and the Sirolase, and Sirona continues to be on the forefront of digital innovation among PDS-affiliated offices.
Another aspect of PDS’ digital leadership is its paperless environment. PDS works with QSI to build a digital charting system that continues to evolve with the company. This digital charting solution is unique to PDS, and is a key component for the affiliate dentists to be able to measure the trends they are experiencing personally and professionally. The ability to customize this system in order to meet a dentist’s particular needs is unparalleled.
The relationship that exists between dentists and the PDS business services organization allows for patients to receive more current proven technologies. There is no doubt that PDS-affiliated dentists are leading the industry in the incorporation of digital solutions for patient care. Given their drive and determination to be the leaders in the field, they will continue to prove and incorporate innovative digital solutions.
This article was written by Charles Rodgers, DDS, vice president of clinicians for Pacific Dental Services.
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Pacific Dental Services
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REACHING A MILESTONE By the end of 2012, PDS-affiliated dentists will have surpassed half a million CEREC restorations.