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The Abrams Report – November 2011

Innovation and new technology are necessary, inescapable and agents of change.  


Here are some popular items or services for the individual, home, business and dental office that are considered technological advancements. Most of these items were not mainstream twenty years ago and some were not even on the horizon back then. While these items are vital to everyday life today, several will be replaced or will find themselves in the attic in five years!

  • Personal computers
  • Laptops
  • Cad Cam dentistry
  • PDA’s and smart phones
  • Cell/mobile phones
  • Cordless phones
  • ATM’s / Debit cards
  • Microwave ovens
  • Catalytic converters on cars
  • Over-the-shoulder seat belts
  • Airbags
  • Kiosks at the airport
  • E-tickets
  • E-books
  • Cpap and bipap machines (for sleep apnea)
  • Patient communication software that uses e-mail and social media to market your brand
  • Radio frequency identification tags (RFID)
  • Digital cameras
  • MP3/MP4 players
  • Specialty graphing calculators
  • Fiber Optic dental handpieces
  • Automatic table top steam sterilizers
  • Plasma and LCD televisions
  • L.E.D curing lights
  • Renting movies through cable
  • Voice recognition software
  • TiVo/DVR
  • The internet
  • The handheld laser pointer
  • GPS – Navigation
  • The intra-oral camera
  • Cavitron and Piezo scalers
  • Ipads and Ipods
  • Practice management software
  • Invisible Fence for dogs
  • Computer networks (computers in the ops)
  • Digital radiography
  • Digital panoramic X-ray
  • EZ pass
  • Cone beam
  • Social media
  • Appointment confirmation and re-activation software that uses text and e-mail
  • Blue tooth devices
  • Diode, hard and combination tissue lasers for dentistry
  • Nintendo, Atari, Xbox…
  • Bar codes
  • Insulin –automatic delivery systems
  • Pacemakers
  • E-mail and Texting
  • Dental Implants
  • Diagnodent

 If we were to examine the items above, we would find that many of these items made their way into our homes, offices, cars and businesses because they improved our world. They made life easier or yielded a high return on investment.

Please take a second and evaluate your adoption style for these ten items.

Score your answers accordingly [rating system 1-4]:

1. -first amongst my family and peers (early adopter)

2. -Amongst the first (early majority)

3. -In the middle of the pack (late majority)

4 – Slow to adopt – still waiting to jump in (laggard)

  • EZ pass? _____
  • Pay for gas at the pump? _____
  • Utilize electronic banking/pay bills online? _____
  • Flat screen television? _____
  • Blue-tooth/hands free device for the car? _____
  • Use Google (directions, news, spelling, research)? _____
  • Cordless phones in work and at home? _____
  • Have a cell phone, PDA or Blackberry with you at all times? _____
  • Have navigation or a GPS in your car? _____

What kind of an adopter of technology are you?

Are you an early adopter?  – Part of the early majority?  – A late bloomer? – A laggard?

Adoption styles do not make the person but they speak volumes about your behavior. In business the innovator, early adopter and the early majority are poised for growth and usually benefit from their willingness to embrace new concepts and technology early. We are in the midst of a technological revolution. 

The key is to know a fad, be able to identify a trend and join the movements!

Two technologies are changing the way dentistry is being done. Most specialists and many GP’s are looking at 3D imaging but Cad Cam is on every GP’s mind. 3D impression scanners and Cad Cam milling systems represent a major industry movement. Same day crowns are in vogue! Do you remember when Sterling and Cohen’s Fashion Optical franchises first arrived on the scene? Before you knew it, they were a stable in malls across America! This is what is going to happen with Cad Cam dentistry over the next five years.

The Greater New York Dental Meeting is one of the best attended industry venues. Because the meeting occurs at the end of the year a few interesting points can be made about its significance.

1st – Many manufacturers introduce new items at the show and you can preview materials and equipment that will launch in the following year.

2nd – A walk through the exhibit hall will clearly tell you what’s hot and what’s not. This is the place to see all the latest materials, equipment and technology!

3rd – The GNYDM is an equipment showcase. This is the best place to get a demonstration, test drive equipment and take advantage of aggressive, yearend promotions. Because the meeting takes place at the end of the year, it is the most popular event for capital equipment purchases. The dates are November 27th – 30th for the exhibit hall area.

4th– Some of the most diverse [latest and greatest] CE offerings are at the GNYDM including live dentistry!

Please call me before the show. I would like to review the items you are interested in so I can offer my perspective or recommendations. My goal is to be your resource and to provide you with honest feedback supported by twenty years of serving the dental community. If you have a particular item that you are interested in, please let me know. I will generate a price quote including tax, warranty and financing options with your monthly payment should you lease equipment. Be advised that this year’s section 179 capital equipment deduction is $500,000.00.

*Section 179 of the IRS tax code allows businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or financed during the tax year. That means that if you buy (or lease) a piece of qualifying equipment, you can deduct the FULL PURCHASE PRICE from your gross income. It’s an incentive created by the U.S. Government to encourage businesses to buy equipment and invest in themselves.

Why do we replace our Cars, Televisions, sterilizers and Curing lights?

Some items get replaced because they break down (too expensive to repair) or become obsolete. Others get replaced because newer models are more attractive, easier to use, or have more features.  A great deal of emphasis is put on equipment that enhances capacity and delivers economy.

Some stuff is replaced because we never really wanted them in the first place. This is common for items that were gifted, passed down or purchased in lieu of the actual item we wanted. Many of us, in an effort to be fiscally minded, will buy a less expensive or last year’s model. While the purchase is somewhat compromised, the item serves its purpose until our priorities, circumstances or finances change. This is quite common in the world of technology. We know that a newer or better model will show up within a year or two. Case in point – a laptop or smart phone will be considered up to date for about two years.

Replacing old, inefficient or dated stuff feels good and the benefits are not merely emotional. A new coat of paint, a few new chairs and carpeting can make a big difference in the appearance of your waiting room. A new outdoor sign in front of your business will catch the attention of new patients and should enhance the businesses’ curb appeal. A new computer system or practice management software will improve your efficiency and may enhance your businesses capabilities. A couple of new operatory packages will look great, feel great and will be service free for years. The chairs and stools of today are more ergonomic and the seamless upholstery is easier to disinfect. Digital radiography and panoramic x-rays will improve your diagnostic capabilities and Cad Cam will make you distinct. Additionally, Cad Cam will afford you better control in many of your indirect restorations and will add significant revenue to your practice.

All capital equipment purchases are an investment in your business and will enhance your practices appeal to patients and professionals (practice buyers) alike.

Every item we buy has an R.O.I. (return on investment) attached to it. In business we usually apply some metric to demonstrate the increase in revenue, efficiency or profitability from an acquisition. However, sometimes the R.O.I. is emotionally gratifying or makes a personal statement. I remember buying my first car and it was exhilarating. It said to my friends, family and co-workers that I was independent, confident and financially able.

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