This article excerpt, by Dr. Vikram Gandhi, originally appeared here: http://bit.ly/11yXkhp
When I finished my three-year residency in Periodontics at Texas A&M Baylor College of Dentistry, I didn’t think I would purchase a dental practice and remodel a new office that same year. But that’s what happened. When I bought Firewheel Dental Implants and Periodontics in August 2013, it was in an older building and staff used snail mail to communicate with referring dental practices.
I wanted to modernize the practice and work in a paperless office, so when the opportunity came along, I took it. Making decisions about permits and dental equipment took a lot of my time, so I wasn’t thinking much about business technology. I used Gmail and that was about it. I was living at my brother’s house, and one day he heard me complaining about how difficult it was to find a contractor’s email. Then, when I told him how expensive it was to hire someone to build a website, he told me about Office 365.
I’m not really a technology person. I like working with my hands and meeting people. That’s why I chose dentistry. So for me, Office 365 is perfect. I have everything I need at my fingertips: email and the Office applications for collaboration as well as web design and development tools. Everything is easy to use and familiar, and it’s cloud-based so I don’t have to worry about servers in the office. I have a professional-looking email address that includes our company name. And compared to Gmail, it’s so much easier to organize my business correspondence using folders that I assign to different topics and vendors. I’m saving a lot of time not searching through my emails. Office 365 is HIPAA-compliant and has email encryption capabilities, so I can send emails that contain patient data to referring dentists without worrying about breaching confidentiality regulations.
But the biggest surprise for me was how easy it was to build my own website using SharePoint Online. I saved approximately $5,000 USD in web development fees. In basically one weekend, I built a website (www.dentalimplantsandperio.com) that matched my expectations. There’s lots of educational content, with videos that walk patients through the procedures and pre- and post-op instructions. I don’t want people to leave my website to learn what a periodontist does or what a gum graft looks like because if they go back to search the Internet, my competition could pop up. Now I’m busier with my practice, but it doesn’t take long to add a new page or a new tab. Right now, I’m looking into creating a page where patients can provide reviews of their experience at Firewheel.
I have five computers and laptops with the latest version of Office applications on all of them, thanks to Office 365 ProPlus. This comes in handy when I teach at the dental school every Wednesday afternoon. I can store all my PowerPoint presentations and lecture notes online in OneDrive for Business, and if I tweak my notes or make a change to the presentation during class, they are saved the next time I upload the files. Now I never have to figure out which device has the latest version of a document.
This is especially true with OneNote. No matter what device I pick up, it has all my notebooks up to date. One of the ways I use OneNote is for employee reviews. We go over the review together, they sign it at the end, and I email them the OneNote page. It’s as easy as that. There are so many ways that Office 365 has simplified the first year of my practice, but the most important thing is that I’ve been able to devote more time to building the business instead of worrying about technology. I can’t see running my practice without it.