Captain James Cook was a formidable explorer. In his journal, Captain Cook wrote “[my] ambition leads me not only farther than any man has gone before me, but as far as I think it possible for man to go.”1 As Martin Dugard wrote in his biography of James Cook, his exploits mapped much of the Pacific and played a key role in natural history, astronomy, oceanography, and more. The good captain’s crew loved him, his financial backers profited handsomely by him, and, above all, he reveled in his chosen occupation.
Captain Cook’s happiness dropped drastically after his second voyage of discovery. For a number of reasons—one of them being a responsibility to his family—he traded the helm for a desk. Suddenly, rather than the smell of a fresh sea in his nose, he was administering to the needs of the retired at a British naval hospital in the late 1700s, which I can only imagine smelled much differently. No longer was he occupied with those activities that lightened his soul, but rather burdened by responsibilities for which he neither cared nor had the applicable skill set.
For a season, Cook languished as an administrator. When news reached him that the Crown was organizing another expedition of discovery, he argued, demanded, and then begged for the captain position. None other was as qualified to lead the expedition (which the Crown only knew) and he set sail only a few months later.
Dentists are modern-day Captain Cooks, passionate about providing exceptional oral health. They believe in choosing to do one thing and doing it well, as evidenced by four additional years of education and the debt that comes with it. The drawback to private practice, perhaps, is that it requires the doctor to wear many hats in order to build and manage a successful practice. But where’s the fun in that? Doctors don’t want to be the HR manager, the CFO, the marketing manager, or the IT manager. Fun is seldom found in those duties that elicit little satisfaction and for which one has little or no natural talent, as Cook discovered.
The cloud can help you stay focused on fun. How? Here are three ways.
Never hassle with software upgrades
From experience, I know that the majority of dental practices in North America use client-server software, which gets the job done. However, that 1990s technology comes with a high-maintenance relationship. Every software upgrade requires some action on the part of the dentist to keep it up-to-date. The cloud, on the other hand, is a completely different story. The software is not installed on any computer in the practice; rather, like a web page, the computing is done online. As a result, the team always has access to the latest time- and money-saving features without having to lift a finger.
Never worry about data security
If patient data is stored onsite at the practice, our friends at the US Health and Human Services Office have a few things to say about that. One of those is that the information must have a backup that can be restored within a reasonable amount of time. Managing a backup schedule is a hassle, and wondering if the data backup will actually restore (and restore the correct data) is a big worry. A cloud-based system places the data remotely in a physically and digitally secure data center. Further, because the data is stored on multiple servers in multiple locations (as it is with Curve Dental), patient data is backed up with every keystroke.
Never fear hardware failure
In an earlier article I wrote for Dental Economics, I presented the argument that all hardware must fail. And it’s true! A server usually comes with a two- or three-year warranty. When that server fails—and it will fail at the most inopportune time—the planned production for the day and the next and maybe the next, is gone. With cloud-based management software, a server is not required, which removes the fear of a catastrophic failure—and saves a chunk of change at the same time.
Stay focused on fun
As Captain Cook quickly learned, staying focused on your passions will push the happiness needle up into the fun zone. When you choose to manage your practice on the cloud, you choose to divest yourself of at least a few annoyances that, like a sea anchor, can be a drag on your practice. Fun is your passion for dentistry. Simplify your technology footprint and you’ll stay focused on fun.
1. Dugard M. Farther Than Any Man: The Rise and Fall of Captain James Cook. New York, NY: Washington Square Press; 2001:191.
Andy Jensen has been in the dental software business since 1992. He is VP and CMO at Curve Dental, a software development house that delivers 100% cloud-based management software for dentists. Andy recently completed a book, How to Build the Killer Practice on the Cloud, that can be downloaded at curvedental.com/killer-practice-de.