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Is 2022 the Year Your DSO Moves to Dentrix Ascend?

During the 2021 Dentist Entrepreneur Organization (DEO) Fall Summit, Patient Prism’s CEO Amol Nirgudkar and McKenzie Fagan, Area Sales Manager for Strategic Markets at Henry Schein One discussed the creation and success of the newest dental practice management platform -- Dentrix Ascend.





Henry Schein One Has a Proven Record of Innovation

Since Henry Schein One began its focus on integrating diverse technology platforms in 2019, the company has partnered with or acquired other innovative companies. “It’s been an evolution,” says Fagan. We are now a software company that offers a conglomerate of platforms…not just practice management, patient engagement, and revenue cycle services, but also on the hardware IT side protecting DSOs from cyber security attacks.”

The goal is to offer a full suite of solutions to help DSOs. “Maybe they don’t need every single service,” says Fagan, “but we’re there as a partner to offer the solutions that make sense to them.”


Dentrix Ascend Is Saving DSOs Time & Money

Henry Schein One aims to increase efficiency, save DSO staff time, and reduce the cost of doing business by integrating and streamlining the solutions DSOs use. 

“One of the challenges I see is that DSOs are frustrated with the number of solutions that are out there, and sometimes they don’t talk to each other,” says Nirgudkar. “Time is spent going in and out of different platforms and a lot of data doesn’t flow from one platform to another.”

“Time is money,” says Fagan. “You are wasting time negotiating or working with different vendors. We've acquired or developed some incredible companies, like Jarvis and Lighthouse. We also have Real Cloud Imaging (RCI) now embedded in our practice management system. For example, a prominent imaging solution is built directly into Dentrix Ascend, so a scanned image is directly acquired from the Cloud and automatically posted to the patient’s ledger. Nothing falls through the cracks between the back office and the front office.”



Multiplying these cost savings across the numerous offices of a DSO, significantly adds up. “You are creating hours of extra time to focus on what’s most important – the patient,” says Nirgudkar. “That is why I feel technology is going to shape and change our industry. It's going to allow dental practices to focus on the most important thing, which is patient care. While the things that don't need a human being are going to be accomplished through an integrated platform.”

Nirgudkar thinks DSOs are about to shift their focus from such things as centralized call centers and billing operations to centralized practice management on the Cloud.  “Many DSOs have looked at centralization,” says Nirgudkar. “Perhaps, they have centralized their billing operations or a call center to answer their phones. But centralizing practice management is new for them. Until recently, newly acquired or affiliated dental practices came on board using the practice management software they were used to using. As needed, their data was shared with DSO headquarters as output that had to be re-entered. I think COVID has pushed DSOs and DPOs to talk more about standardizing and integrating their technology systems. Henry Schein One can support a DSO or DPO better and faster when all of their locations are on the same Cloud-based practice management system like Dentrix Ascend.”

“That’s really what we're hoping to build and are continuing to build at Henry Schein One -- a platform that can offer all needed services in one place on the Cloud,” says Fagan 


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Henry Schein One Is Taking Cybersecurity Head-on

Threats of cybersecurity are real and growing. “It’s common and happening right under our noses,” says Fagan. “I just spoke to an eight-location group that had a ransomware attack and their offices were closed for one full week. They ended up paying $50,000 for the ransomware.”

Henry Schein One is taking this problem seriously. It’s a necessary component of trust. 

“We recently hired a new chief technology officer, Alan Rencher,” says Fagan. “He has had years of experience in this exact space. And we're going through all sorts of efforts to become SOC certified (Types I and II) and HITRUST certified. If a DSO is not familiar with those terms, I highly recommend they look into them. Because it's not a problem until it happens to you. And it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when.”

“How does migrating to a cloud-based system like Ascend help with cybersecurity, as well as make it possible to have a common platform?” asks Nirgudkar.

“If you're going to rely on servers, in your physical office or maybe even in a remote data center, think about this. You now have a threat from your internal employees. At the end of the day, they are people. They have access to information that you may or may not be able to control,” says Fagan. “They could put a USB in the back of a computer, transfer data, and walk away with it. It’s happening all the time in businesses. That’s a threat right in front of our faces. And the second way data is at risk is from remote attack. The eight-location group I mentioned earlier had local servers. When they were shut down by ransomware, they couldn’t access anything. Thankfully, they’ve moved to the Cloud, where they are now supported by a different type of infrastructure that protects their data. At Henry Schein One, our Ascend product is stored on AWS. It's on the highest level of security on the Cloud. You can't be logged out because there's redundancy to make sure that your backups are protected, your information is protected, and you will always have access to that information. That level of security is what helps CEOs sleep at night-.... knowing that information is protected and backed by a very large company like Henry Schein.”


Dentrix Ascend Has Arrived and Is Setting the New Standard

Every year, Henry Schein One moves forward. For example, Dentrix has been a successful practice management system since the early ’90s. It was the first practice management system to take all records digital. Because some aspects of Dentrix could be improved by completely redesigning it, Henry Schein One created Dentrix Ascend from the ground up.

“We said we need to reimagine ourselves,” says Fagan. “We moved from the original balance forward accounting standard to the line-item accounting standard. Now our practices can be much more efficient and pay their providers appropriately and accurately.”

Fagan says that Dentrix Ascend will constantly evolve. “Now that we're on a cloud-based system, we can do updates every two to three weeks, without shutting down an office. That’s going to become a common standard. So, when is Ascend going to become the end-all practice management system? I think it is already. We just need DSOs and DPOs to understand the ramifications of not moving to a trusted source like Dentrix Ascend.”

More Interviews from the 2021 DEO Fall Summit


McKenzie Fagan has been a B2B sales leader in the healthcare industry since 2016. In 2018, she joined Henry Schein as a regional account manager and has been the area sales manager for strategic markets at Henry Schein Once since early 2019.  She has a passion for helping solo practitioners, dental group practices, DSOs, and DPOs evaluate, select, and implement full-tech software, hardware, and best practice workflows to achieve centralization, standardization, and economies of scale. 


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