Dr. Joe Blaes interviews Dr. Robert Gottlander of Henry Schein

Nov. 1, 2011
Dr. Blaes: How will your innovative plans as vice president of prosthetic solutions at Henry Schein affect the general dentist?

by Joe Blaes, DDS

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Dr. Blaes: How will your innovative plans as vice president of prosthetic solutions at Henry Schein affect the general dentist?

Dr. Gottlander: We share general dentists’ perspective that it is all about the level of care patients receive and the experience they have in dentists’ practices. Our priority remains offering dentists the solutions they need to provide the highest possible quality of care to patients. Through the comprehensive array of technology-driven products and services that we offer to general dentists, we are able to enhance the care they provide and the efficiency at which they deliver it.

We are committed to introducing new technology to general dentists — not because it is new technology but because it improves patient care and practice efficiency. Technology is changing dentistry, and dentists should embrace technology in their practices. But new technology by itself has little meaning for a dentist or patient. Our role is to demonstrate the real benefits that technology delivers to patients, such as less painful and faster procedures, more predictable outcomes, and more efficient treatment. If we can do that, then dentists will recognize that this new technology makes sense to their patients and practices. In this way, as a global dental leader, we are playing an important role in the advancement of dentistry.

Dr. Blaes: What new training do you envision to help general dentists integrate the new and exciting prosthetic technologies into their everyday dental practices?

Dr. Gottlander: We should develop new training programs that are responsive to the market and the needs of dental practitioners. Dentists are determined to be educated on new technologies, but the time that they can carve out of their practice hours to devote to training is very limited. Hands-on training for specific procedures will always have a role, but we also should provide training opportunities that are accessible to dentists whenever they want them, and are dynamic and engaging to make the training time effective. For example, Web-based training should be interactive and require active participation from the dentist. In a real-time setting, this could mean two-way communication between a dentist and a support team member during Web-based training.

Training also should capitalize on the many technology devices that dentists use to access information. In addition to the desktop computer, we should offer dentists training that dentists can access on their iPads and smartphones. We should use established pathways, such as iTunes, for providing content.

In the future, we should explore the development and use of games-based training, which is being used effectively in other markets. This training can reinforce learning by making dentists’ decisions about prosthetics integral to scoring points and navigating the game. It also resonates well with the younger generations of dentists.

Dr. Blaes: Do you intend to use key opinion leaders to deliver your educational message? Will you use some new and innovative venues to get the message out?

Dr. Gottlander: New technology and techniques are pioneered by key opinion leaders, including dental specialists and laboratories, who then relate their experiences to general dentists. Over time, these technologies and techniques become the new standard for care in general practices, while key opinion leaders continue to look for ways to improve patient care. Ultimately, this cycle repeats. This is the important role that key opinion leaders play in advancing the dental profession. This is why Henry Schein has created our Global Dental Specialties Group to provide the same value to dental specialists around the world that we do to general dentists — offering everything they need to improve patient care and enhance practice efficiency.

At the same time, we want to work closely with key opinion leaders in the dental profession to communicate the tremendous benefits that new technology can deliver to enhance patient care. In addition to traditional stage presentations, we are determined to use today’s communications technology to deliver these messages. Web-based technology tools and social media are increasingly being embraced by dentists. This is the new communications arena that we all must master, and where the messages delivered by key opinion leaders will resonate most in the future.

Dr. Robert Gottlander is vice president, prosthetic solutions for Henry Schein, Inc. He previously served as executive vice president of global marketing and products at Nobel Biocare AG, and held several leadership positions at Nobelpharma AB, Nobel Biocare AB, Procera, and Nobelpharma USA. Dr. Gottlander has been a pioneer in the introduction of modern dental implantology, as well as the global introduction of CAD/CAM, and has participated in numerous in-depth training programs in orthodontics, prosthetics, and implants. Contact him at [email protected].

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