Dental software increases academic efficiency

January 2nd, 2014

As the cost of higher education increases across the U.S., dental school software may provide university administrators with the means necessary to both improve enrollment numbers and sharply reduce overhead expenditures.

Dental education not immune to rising prices
Many major academic institutions throughout the country have struggled to rein in the student-end costs of pursuing degrees in a wide variety of specialties. Oral health programs are no exception. In fact, rising tuition prices have forced many dental students to take out loans to finance the pursuit of their careers, according to the East Peoria Times-Courier. The newspaper cited data from the American Dental Education Association that found the cost of attending dental school rose 85 percent between 2001 and 2011.

"When I graduated in 1974, my dental education cost me $60,000," Howard Waldrop, program coordinator for OSF Saint Francis Medical Center's General Practice Residency Program, told the Times-Courier. "Today, it can cost $300,000."

While the dental industry in the U.S. continues to have a relatively positive job outlook for recent graduates, the prospect of paying off loans for several years after the fact may ultimately present universities with enrollment issues. Many oral health professionals worry future students will become less interested in pursuing a specialized education, the newspaper reported.

Using management tools to control costs
While academic institutions often rely on funding from donors or state budgets, administrators can take major steps toward reducing their overhead operational costs by investing in advanced dental school software. In turn, these organizations may ultimately be able to eliminate some of the burden their students face when paying for tuition. According to the industry magazine Inside Dentistry, technology has already become a major element of most oral health operations – both in an educational and private practice setting. Schools can further integrate new tools into daily tasks by using management software that can be easily customized according to individual needs.

The magazine conducted a survey of dental professionals and found 76 percent would still recommend similar careers to younger people despite current financial issues. Introducing new software into the academic setting may ultimately allow educators the ability to boost the efficiency of their programs, thereby eliminating some of the need for such high tuition rates. Either way, the presence of advanced technology will likely improve the overall quality of education students receive. 

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