Emmott On Technology: What Will You Never Do Again?

Emmott On Technology: What Will You Never Do Again?
Thursday, November 22, 2012

We keenly look for new technology and eagerly anticipate some innovative device or app that can perform some new and exciting task.

We ask ourselves, what new thing will technology allow me to do today that I couldn’t do yesterday? As natural and as exciting as that question is, it can be a much more meaningful example of the impact of technology to ask yourself what will I never do again?

Once a new technology has become entrenched it eliminates things we did in the past. Here is a good example; I will never look up a business in the yellow pages again. However the first time I used Google back in 2001 I wasn’t looking for a phone book replacement. Probably even more significant is that the developers of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, did not set out to eliminate the yellow pages. That just happened after Google went main stream.

The point of this is that when you are looking to the future, planning for your practice and trying to determine your best course of action, do not try and guess the next new thing. There are far too many new things coming and far too many variables for your guesses to be accurate.

On the other hand, if you see what has already taken hold and examine how it is being used, you may be able to see what you will never do again. The Google–Yellow Pages change is again a good example. Based on the realization that you will never look up a business in the Yellow Pages again, you can easily decide to not spend money on a Yellow Pages ad and instead to invest in a web page.

Here are a few obvious examples:

  • I will never use a pay phone again
  • I will never rewind a cassette again
  • I will never drop off film for processing again

Some less obvious examples:

  • I will never buy a paperback again
  • I will never write a check again
  • I will never ask for directions again

OK I am a guy I never asked for directions anyway, but with GPS on my smartphone I can see exactly where I am on a map anytime anywhere.

What might you never do again in the dental office?

  • I will never change the chemicals in the developer again
  • I will never wait on hold again
  • I will never write a treatment note again
  • I will never pack tissue again
  • I will never use the postage meter again
  • I (or my staff) will never hand a clipboard to a patient again
  • I will never spend the morning looking for a lost chart again
  • I will never…

Planning for the future does not mean anticipating what is new. It does mean seeing what is old. You do not need a crystal ball. All you need to do is to see what is already working, follow the logical path of development and eliminate the things you will never do again. The future is coming and it will be amazing!

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