The dental industry is continually evolving to meet the needs of patients and to make working in dentistry as stress-free for the clinician as possible. This means that there’s a near constant stream of new products and innovations hitting the industry all claiming to be the “next greatest thing” that your office can’t live without.
And, yes, often these items do possess new features and benefits that would be advantageous for your practice. But it is pretty much impossible to try every new gadget that hits the market no matter how exceptional they may seem. That’s why it’s important to have a process in place for deciding what new products are worth your time to try and, even more so, what new products are worth adding to your supply cabinet on a regular basis.
To start here are some quick tips that will help you quickly and easily select the items that make sense for your office to try out—and which ones may not be worth your time.
- Relevance check
If you’re office only does general dentistry the latest innovation in orthodontics probably isn’t going to be much use to you. Stick with items that actually make sense for the services your practice offers no matter how shiny and new the product may be.
- Cost efficiency
If you can tell right off the bat that the products new features don’t make up for a substantial increase in cost (keyword substantial)—or that you won’t be able to make up the increased cost in some other way—then it’s probably best to pass or to wait until you can afford the extra expense.
- Experience improvement
Can you list tangible ways the new product could potentially improve the experience in your office for your team or patients? If not then it’s probably best to pass. New products should better the experience of your practice in some way—not simply be purchased because they’re fresh and exciting.
- Brand familiarity
Is this an improvement upon a product you’re already using? If so then there’s a good chance you’ll find that the new formula has the same features you love about the current product with some added benefits. These are typically great products to try.
If you use these four guides to rate new items you’ll be able to sort through all the new product “noise” and hone in on the items that will offer the most potential to benefit your practice. And once you’ve selected the worthy items you’ll typically have a few options for sampling the items without breaking the bank and spending money on a product you may or may not fall in love with.
When manufacturers introduce a new item they want dental professional to give it a try. This means they’ll typically offer some sort of introductory promotion or pricing or even offer free samples to test out risk-free. Take advantage of these offers whenever you can to save money and avoid having a ton of leftover product that you don’t end up using.
Once you have a new item in your practice make sure to give it a fair shot before deciding if it’s something you’d like to continue using or not. To do this:
- Ensure multiple people get to try the product or, if it’s a small sample, allowing multiple team members to see how the product performs
- Listen to the opinions of the employees who used it to gauge their reactions and don’t let the opinion of one person outweigh the majority
- Run cost comparisons with current comparable items (if applicable) to see how it will affect supply costs
- Make a list of benefits to the practice you see it providing (i.e. shortened appointment times, more comfortable patients or clinicians, reduced supply cabinet footprint, etc.)
- Make a list of disadvantages of switching to the product (i.e. too expensive, won’t be used enough, etc.)
By taking the time to appropriately vet a new item you won’t end up making a poor decision for your practice that either under or overvalues the possible contributions of a new item to your practice. There’s a fine line between randomly purchasing new items simply because they’re the talk of the industry and missing out on truly beneficial products because you just don’t feel like doing the legwork to test their value. Walk that fine line with ease by using these simple yet effective tips.