Digital Radiography ROI: Above the Bottom Line
When discussing Return on Investment (ROI) for digital Panoramic Machines, we often check our calculators first and our emotions second. However, when taking a closer look, I have found that another aspect of the practice, patient loyalty, also reaps far-reaching economic returns.
Those who have invested in new Dental equipment, such as digital Panoramic radiology X Ray machine, already understand the monetary returns. Digital X-rays eliminate the need for a costly, messy and smelly darkroom, expensive and hazardous chemicals, and time wasted cleaning and maintaining the processing equipment and developing the film. These tangible costs are readily visible “on the books.”
Another, less tangible return on investment relates to customer loyalty, which builds a practice, and leads to the referrals that keep it thriving. Loyalty differs from satisfaction. If a patient is just “satisfied” with your practice, they can also be just as satisfied with another dentist. Many of us have taken those phone surveys about customer satisfaction. The computerized survey-taker asks your satisfaction level on a scale of one to 10, with a one indicating “least satisfied,” and a 10 being “most satisfied.” You really want your patients to think of you as a ten, leaving little room to feel “just as satisfied” at another practice.
A digital Pano radiography system shows that the dentist cares if patients understand their own dental condition. With traditional film, the doctor must rely on a light box, and often ends up holding a small X-ray up to the light. Because of their small size, these X-rays are hard to see, and since most patients are not trained in reading radiographs, much of the explanation is lost. Not wanting to seem “stupid” to the doctor and staff, some will just nod and pretend to understand, while more outspoken patients may voice their frustration. You have to keep up with the times and invest in yourself. Buying a Digital Panormaic and Cephalometric X- Ray Machine tells the patient you care and want the best for them.
Many aspects of digital radiography improve patient’s understanding—first, the size of the image. Digital images, displayed on formidable computer monitors are large enough so that even people who are not schooled in reading the X-rays can discern various conditions of the teeth. Even better, the dentist can zoom in on areas of concern, change the contrast to visually isolate the problem, and even draw lines and circles on the image. When patients see and understand their problems better, they are much more likely to accept a future treatment plan.
Digital Panoramic systems also encourage patient loyalty. A dentist who takes the time to explain the circumstances of the patient’s dental health builds an emotional connection between them. The patient will not feel the awkwardness that happens when they are hiding the fact that they don’t see the problem on the X-ray. This discomfort and lack of understanding creates a distance between doctor and patient. When the patient feels that the doctor is connecting with them on a professional yet understandable level, they will want to continue to visit this established comfort zone, and returning patients translate to consistent return on investment.
Implementation of digital technology in the hygiene department helps ROI as well by integrating the “X-ray philosophy” into this part of the practice. The speed and ease of digital helps boosts efficiency. The hygienist can clearly establish the number and type of images necessary during each visit. Also, an unexpected full-mouth series can be taken quickly and easily, rather than “saving it for next time” because of the extra time needed. Additionally, the patient will be less likely to resist taking the images after the hygienist explains about the reduced amount of radiation.
When the hygienist or assistant leaves the room to develop traditional X-rays, the patients feel the “disconnect.” They become just another task in the long day of the office staff. With digital, the hygienist spends her time chairside, continuing to connect with the patient while images immediately appear on the screen.
So in addition to saving money on consumables, investing in a Digital Panormaic and Cephalometric X- Ray Machine or Dental X-Ray Sensor system results in so much more--case acceptance; increased productivity, and enhancement of loyalty and customer service.
The philosophy of return on investment goes beyond the dollars and cents. An investment in imaging will make both good money and good sense when loyal patients return and refer friends and family to their great dentist, who is so dedicated to customer service.