Can dental school software help universities recover from the recession?

September 26th, 2014

The health care industry is sensitive to a variety of external factors. Sweeping national legislation, such as the Affordable Care Act, can have a massive impact on both academic and private practice behavior. Even economic activity can play a role in determining the pace of overall growth and spending. Dental school software is a valuable resource to academic institutions that want to maintain steady performance despite these unexpected obstacles.

The last few years have presented oral health professionals with numerous challenges. Not only are many recent graduates entering a workforce on the cusp of major technology shifts – especially amid the growing adoption of electronic health records – but many private practices are also struggling to mitigate the negative effects of a relatively poor economy.

A slower path to recovery
According to the American Dental Association, the Great Recession has placed a hold on many dental institutions' spending ambitions. Citing a report from Health Affairs, the organization revealed that the slow recovery from 2008's economic downturn has initiated one of the lower industry-wide spending rates in the entire health care sector. While total expenditures climbed at a 5.7 growth rate in 2013, the dental industry has lagged behind with 1.9 percent growth. The ADA indicated the main reason for this slow activity is because oral health practices are especially sensitive to economic activity.

In fact, a separate news article from the ADA added that patients are most likely to forgo routine check-ins with their dentists in tough economic times than most other branches of their own primary care. Overall, the amount of money Americans spend on oral health care has remained flat since 2008.

Economy emphasizes need for cost-saving measures
Universities with oral health degree programs have a unique role to play amid these challenges. Academic institutions often have an obligation to stay on top of recent technology developments because they offer the primary training that prepares students for their eventual careers. By integrating dental school software into their operations, faculty members achieve two major goals. First, they can reduce the overhead costs associated with managing both clinical and classroom elements of their programs. Secondly, educators have the opportunity to use this technology to instill the kinds of best practices and skill sets necessary for succeeding in the oral health industry, regardless of the challenges presented by the economy or by changing regulations. 

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