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Patterson reveals a decline in dental software sales

Yesterday, Kevin Henry posted “Dental news of the day for Thursday, Feb. 18” on the DentistryiQ Blog. The source for the day’s dental news was a sales report provided by Patterson Dental Supply.

http://community.pennwelldentalgroup.com/profiles/blogs/dental-news-of-the-day-for

 

“Sales of dental equipment and software declined 10% from the year-earlier level, which was consistent with Patterson’s forecast for this period.”

 

If one remembers the economy at the last of 2008, it is not difficult to understand why Patterson’s analysts forecast that sales of dental equipment would drop. But how did they know that sales of Patterson EagleSoft, their clinical and practice management software would also fall by 10%? I find it interesting that their accurate prediction was made shortly after Patterson announced the release of EagleSoft Version 15.00 on October 10, 2008. That must have been discouraging to EagleSoft employees. When is the last time you’ve heard of a company roll-out of a new version of software - expecting it to be even less successful the previous version? That’s interesting.

 

What makes Patterson’s valiant prediction of a decline in software sales even more remarkable is that a year ago, President-elect Barack Obama was giddy enthusiastic for digital health records, which includes Patterson’s EagleSoft. Not to say I told you so maybealittle, but Patterson’s analysts obviously recognized what I did long before: Digital dental records are losing popularity among dentists. What’s more, none of my patients have ever said that they wish I had digital dental records. Dental patients simply do not desire them. As a matter of fact, some have expressed relief that my paper records are more secure than anyone’s digital records. They also like not having to sign HIPAA forms - a meaningless waste of trees and appointment time.

 

A year after Patterson privately admitted doubt about paperless dental practices, the slow-moving ADA House of Delegates met in Hawaii in October ‘09 and officially encouraged ADA members to adopt eDRs. Why doesn’t the American Dental Association know at least as much about dentistry as Patterson Dental?

 

This is an intriguing time in dental history. I can’t wait until the ADA opens up about their mistakes in dental informatics. One of these days we’ll all have a good laugh about their lame, expensive shenanigans.

 

D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

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Here is a link to a TD Ameritrade report, which includes a categorical breakdown of Patterson's sales:
http://research.tdameritrade.com/public/markets/news/story.asp?docK...

Could it be that lower collections is the main reason dentists are postponing the purchase of new dental software? EagleSoft is an industry leader in part because it listens to what dentists and their staff members want -- and don't want -- in a system. If they didn't, they would have gone under 20 years ago.

And if dentists didn't want practice management software at all, an entire industry with more than 100 manufacturers would never have made it past their first quarter in business. I think you are reading too much into the reason for EagleSoft's decline in software sales...
As often happens when I attack Hi-tech, I've already caught flack privately for the bold statements I posted today, and I heartily welcome all responses - public and private.

Nevertheless, Patterson's own figures speak for themselves and I stand behind what I have written. I'll be interested in your opinion a year from now, Ted. Mark my word: HHS enforcement of HIPAA/HITECH will take away any remaining giddy fun with eDRs.

Thanks, Darrell
Surely there's a way to have one's cake, and eat it, too. Are you postulating that the government's requirements will sour dentists on digital records to the point where they will actually go back to paper records and appointment books? Are you really envisioning such a scenario?

I can barely imagine dental staff members printing off reams of digital patient records in order to build paper files, then destroying their computers' hard drives to prevent government audits. And what about newer offices that have been designed to be paperless? They don't have filing cabinets or space for them, but that would be the least of their worries. The practice of dentistry would have to go underground or be subject to government raids. But how would the government have enough health care Gestapo troops to force compliance? A modified version of Fahrenheit 451 comes to mind.

We will watch how all of this develops, and I appreciate you keeping some of us abreast of the ever-changing regulatory environment. If I'm right, there will be an acceptable compromise and you will owe me a beer. If you're right, well, I shudder to think of the carnage.
Thanks for the beer, Ted. I'm not inventing this stuff. Here’s what was posted just a few hours ago by the ADA.
http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/pubs/adanews/adanewsarticle.asp?a...

Deadline for reporting breaches is March 1
Posted Feb. 19, 2010 (no byline)

The deadline for submitting notification to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of any 2009 breaches of unsecured protected health information is March 1.

In the Jan. 18 print ADA News, the deadline was listed incorrectly in a story on Page 7.

The notification to HHS should include any breaches of unsecured protected health information between Sept. 23, 2009—when the Breach Notification Rule went into effect—and Dec. 31, 2009. For more information about submitting breaches, visit www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/administrative/breachnotificationrule...
-------------------------------------------

Want more? Here’s a press release that was posted yesterday.
http://www.sys-con.com/node/1290236

National Survey Reveals Privacy Breach Notification and Reputational Damage among Top Concerns with Regards to New Privacy Rules

By: Business Wire
Feb. 18, 2010 09:33 AM

In a survey of more than 200 unique hospitals from across the US, nearly half of healthcare organizations (or 47.3 percent) believe their organization is already compliant with federal privacy laws such as ARRA HITECH and HIPAA and is audit ready. However, nearly one-third of survey respondents stated they will not be compliant with ARRA HITECH requirements by the set deadlines. The survey reveals that organizations are concerned with the challenges of monitoring dozens of healthcare applications, as well as deploying key technologies that will meet “accounting of disclosure,” user privacy monitoring and patient and user privacy monitoring requirements.

FairWarning recently commissioned an independent firm to execute a national survey of healthcare providers. The majority of survey respondents were compliance, privacy or risk personnel, followed by IT management and executive management. The survey was designed to elicit answers regarding opinion and insights on new healthcare privacy regulations (specifically ARRA HITECH), patient safety, privacy and auditing budgets and information technology risk management.

When asked questions specific to ARRA HITECH, respondents were most concerned about breach notification to the media, patient and the government. Survey respondents’ top three concerns surrounding non-compliance with any of the federal privacy laws, were 1) reputational impact of a failed audit or major privacy breach, 2) financial penalties for non-compliance and 3) media exposure.

The survey also reveals that challenges remain for healthcare organizations. Compliance solutions require organizations to demonstrate effective use of solutions and technologies that permeate all business units, correspond with business processes and seamlessly integrate with the business functions of the organization. The survey revealed that healthcare organizations are beginning this process. Just 7 percent of respondents have demonstrated that they have both processes and automated systems in place which incorporate cornerstone technologies designed to eliminate security and privacy vulnerabilities.

[The sales pitch for this press release starts now. Did you know that HIPAA compliance has become so complicated that one needs computerization just to keep from being fined? Complicated mandates mean job security for those who work for FairWarning Inc.]

“It is highly unlikely that an organization can fully comply with its obligations under HIPAA and the ARRA HITECH without implementing automated systems for patient and user privacy auditing, managing and aggregating accounting of disclosures and identity management,” stated John Houston, Vice President of Privacy and Information Security and Assistant Counsel at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “While respondents felt that their level of compliance was high, their implementation of necessary technologies was much lower.”

The complete survey findings further reveal healthcare organizations are:

Familiar with new healthcare privacy and security regulations, specifically ARRA HITECH

Concerned with the reputational impact associated with a breach and breach notification requirements

Mobilizing to meet compliance requirements and deploying critical technologies to plug security gaps and meet compliance requirements

Allocating budget to meeting new privacy and security requirements

Beginning to believe that enforcement of these laws is a government priority and,

In need of further education to align spending and technology deployments to government expectations

“It continues to be our pleasure to work with the world’s leading healthcare systems in privacy breach detection and compliance automation,” said FairWarning CEO Kurt Long. “The survey data reinforces FairWarning’s belief that healthcare organizations are striving to meet compliance requirements. However, there is still market education needed on actual compliance activities and requirements.”

To download the complete survey report, or view “The State of Healthcare Privacy in the U.S. – Survey Results and Expert Perspectives” webinar, co-hosted by John Houston of UPMC, and Deven McGraw of the Center for Democracy and Technology, please visit http://www.fairwarningaudit.com/subpages/healthcare-privacy-survey-... .

About FairWarning, Inc.

FairWarning® is the world’s leading supplier of cross-platform healthcare privacy auditing solutions for Electronic Health Records. FairWarning® proactively protects healthcare organizations from emerging legal and privacy threats which include medical identity theft, identity theft, and other forms of healthcare information crimes. FairWarning is industry’s leading best practice solution for automating privacy auditing. The company is located in St. Petersburg, FL, to learn more, visit http://www.fairwarningaudit.com or call U.S. 727 576 6700.
Interesting to note that sales were down even after they dropped the price of the core software to...$0. Might want to rethink that strategy.
Sales of everything are dropping in today's economy...I'm not surprised to see something as specialized as dental software to take a hit, regardless of how good it is.

I have been looking into buying some new dental billing software and sites like http://www.curvedental.com/ are at the cheapest I have seen and would have to agree with whats been said.

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