You’re excited about your shiny new dental office technology — but how does your staff feel? Getting reluctant staffers to learn how to use new technology can be a major hurdle for dentists. Here are 8 tips for overcoming this obstacle.
- Communicate with employees about the change. Don't spring new technology on your employees as a surprise. Let them know you're considering new tools and why. Getting employee feedback on what they like and dislike about your current system will help you choose the best solution. You can even want to involve key employees in evaluating possible tools.
- Choose simple solutions. Consider which employees will actually be using the technology you're considering. How tech-savvy are they? Without giving up any benefits for your practice, look for technology that's easy to learn and use. Tools that are similar to those your employees already use and integrate with your existing practice management system or other tools are ideal.
- Explain how the new tool will benefit your employees. We all want to know, “What’s in it for me?” Show your staff how the new technology will solve an ongoing problem they have and make their jobs and lives easier. For instance, will your front desk staff get automated patient confirmations sent directly to your PMS so they don’t have to manually update it? Focus on all the ways the technology can eliminate hassles, and you’ll quickly get buy-in.
- Provide training tailored to your employees. Younger employees may be happy to learn the new system on their own or follow an online tutorial, while older ones may need more hand-holding and in-person training. Paying for extra coaching or live support is well worthwhile if it helps ensure you get the full value from the technology.
- Get key employees on board. Every practice has employees who are “influencers”—and they’re not necessarily the senior employees. Get these employees to support the new technology, and they'll quickly win others over, too. These early adopters can also help train other employees or troubleshoot problems they're having with the new technology.
- Incorporate the new technology into your practice as soon as possible. Make it part of your workflow, rather than something that's "nice to do." Provide plenty of support for employees who are struggling to learn the technology, so they don’t feel left behind. Set goals such as having all of your appointments booked with the new system by such and such date, and track the team’s progress.
- Celebrate success. As you incorporate new technology into the daily rhythm of your practice, be sure to acknowledge employees' hard work in learning how to use it. At your staff meetings, share ways the new tool has helped your team and praise employees who are using it.
- Promote the new technology to your patients. Investing in new technology shows that you care about your patients and want them to have the best possible experience at your business, so don’t keep it a secret! Whether it's a new appointment system that makes it easier for patients to get last-minute appointments or a state-of-the-art X-ray machine that makes getting X-rays more comfortable, promote the new technology in your marketing materials, on your website and on social media, explaining all the benefits for your patients.