Cindy Rourke, MD, is clinical director and senior vice president at Sage Dental and a member of the Board of Fellows at Harvard Dental School.
Technology has become such a mainstay of everyday life that it's hard to imagine how anything could have been accomplished before the advent of laptops, tablets, cell phones and the endless array of things we can do with them each year. While it's easy to take things like hardware and software for granted, some companies today, to their credit, haven't fully embraced the technology. This article will highlight some of the ways technology can be used to save businesses money, increase profits and improve efficiency.
While it's easy to assume that technology depersonalizes the interactions between companies and their customers, when implemented effectively, technology can do just the opposite. This is especially true for millennials and Gen Z digital natives, who have spent most of their lives blindly trusting the technology that powers their laptops and cell phones. Companies that provide convenient and affordable technologies like online shopping, video-on-demand streaming and mobile apps are reinventing lifestyles for generations.
Implement a pilot program to evaluate the benefits of the technology
In the healthcare sector, artificial intelligence (AI) technology has helped improve the quality of care for patients and better understand what is wrong with them and what treatment options are available. For example, in terms of oral health, dentists process captured X-rays with AI software and provide a clear image to support diagnosis, which helps build trust between patient and doctor. The same dynamic can be applied to many other industries that use technology in functions such as customer service, accounting, and finance.
For example, when my dental organization ran a pilot program to bring AI into our diagnostic procedures, we did so by working with six clinics and comparing their performance to 40 other "control" rooms. During this period, auditing services experienced modest single-digit growth, while the number of AI users increased by 18%.
Of course, once we saw that the productivity gains were experimental, it wasn't difficult: we implemented AI throughout the organization.
Use technology to move workers to other activities
In addition to building customer and customer trust, companies that identify areas that need process improvement can also benefit from technology. For example, automation software that can perform routine tasks that employees traditionally perform can help these people free up time to work on more rewarding projects. At our supported office, the receptionist no longer has to sit on the phone checking insurance claims; Now he can spend his time interacting directly with patients. It's usually more fun for them. By giving employees more rewarding work to do, companies can increase employee engagement and reduce burnout.
By removing burdensome tasks from employees, teams within an organization are more satisfied with their work and when team members are happy, it has a direct impact on those around them and most importantly, patients. This is an important lesson for business owners and management teams, as research has shown that there is a direct correlation between employee well-being and patient satisfaction.
In my organization, one of the processes we looked closely at in terms of automation was the meeting schedule. To ensure we don't lose business due to people having a suboptimal booking experience, we've learned that implementing a chatbot system to handle our incoming calls is far more valuable. This has allowed us to shift some staff to other important tasks that require human involvement, including face-to-face interaction with patients.
As technology continues to advance and its impact on day-to-day operations becomes more pervasive in the future, companies clinging to outdated practices will be left behind. By carefully examining how strategic investments in technology can positively impact employees, patients, and the bottom line, business leaders can help their organizations stay ahead of the competition and thrive in the new year and beyond.
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