Evident Dental Lab Management Software - Creating More Effective Communication Between Dentists and Dental Labs

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Dental labs face unique challenges. Half manufacturing facility, half artist’s studio, they create custom medical devices that not only function as well as (or better than) the teeth nature provides, but mimic their appearance. This combination of production, original art, and health care is further complicated by the historic practice of labs asking the dentist when the restoration must be completed rather than telling the dentist when they can fit it in to their schedule. It’s certainly unusual for a manufacturer to make a custom product to meet the customer’s timeline.

Dental Lab Software

In this unique industry it is wise to take advantage of every available tool!

Imagine if a car dealership allowed customers to dictate when their transmissions would be replaced or banks allowed all customers to walk up to the tellers and talk at once instead of lining up. Imagine dentists’ offices allowing patients to dictate the date and time when their teeth would be cleaned. In the lab industry many accept dentist assigned turnarounds as “the way it’s done.” It makes production scheduling and management irregular and difficult.

So does the dental lab invest in the production capacity of the lab or do you redefine the system that produces the completion date? A combination of both is required to have the ability to adapt in changing demand in production. Accepting the dentist return dates and working with the fluctuations in production that result. The problem with this approach is that dentists want consistency from their labs irrespective of the current demand on the lab. It’s difficult to be consistent when production is a daily roller coaster ride. On the other hand, changing the approach to scheduling can be intimidating, even overwhelming.

There are two tools that can help even out production. The first is good dental lab specific scheduling software. Good computerized scheduling fills the lab schedule realistically based on capacity specified by the lab. Good scheduling software puts production information in plain sight, exactly where it should be. In busy times, reverse scheduling can be used to schedule cases from the ship date “in reverse” back to the latest start date, leaving the immediate schedule open to focus on the immediate demand. In addition, dental lab software provides reports that outline how work is being done and by whom for analysis and possible improvement.

A web interface for customers is the other tool that can make a big difference in keeping the lab’s schedule manageable. The Evident Dentist Gateway offers a web interface for dentists which provides them with 24/7 access to their case information, online courier tracking, the ability to reprint invoices and statements, their account balance, and the option to book cases. Dental office staff cannot enter return dates – only the date the case will be ready to leave the practice. The return date is calculated based on the lab’s real time schedule capacity and only allows the entry of a patient appointment date after the return date has been calculated and displayed. The return date appears almost instantaneously after the case is submitted. With this dentists gateway both the dentist and dental lab are working to the same schedule insuring that the case is delivered on time to the specifications and quality understood by both parties. The dentist gateway is a way to systematically convert customers away from dictated turnarounds while improving customer service, reducing unnecessary phone traffic and giving the lab a competitive edge.

The Evident Dentist Gateway effect is compounding. Reduced demand on administration staff allows them to focus on quality customer service. Legible prescriptions reduce confusion and mistakes. An audit of what the dentist submitted provides the dental lab with a record in case the original submission is in refute. Reducing the amount of case entry time liberates the resources the dental lab already has and focuses them on production, sales or customer service. This service attracts the next generation of dentists that demand easy, quick ways to enter their cases so they can focus on chair time. The dentist and the dental lab work to the same goal of delivering a quality product in a timely fashion to the patient.

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Rayne Verity
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