Pacific Dental Services redesigns the clinical model
Saving time on office workflows
KEY USE CASES
Digital client exchange
Vendor and partner onboarding
Team member onboarding
Field operations management
PRODUCTS & INTEGRATIONS
dental offices supported
100s of hours
saved on workflows
instead of months to onboard new clinicians
saved on storage every month by the People Services (HR) department alone
- Teams required various platforms to support operations across 900+ offices
- The original VPN model was clunky and hard to use, which created several hoops to jump through for basic day-to-day operational tasks
- The paper chain delayed patient and team member onboarding, among other workflows
- The Content Cloud ensures improved mobility and secure access to content when needed
- Moving data from storage servers to the Content Cloud created a foundation for better processes
- Workflows are optimized and routine tasks automated
Saving time on a grand scale
Virtually any type of business that has tried to make a seemingly simple administrative change, only to get snagged on the execution, will relate to this challenge. When Pacific Dental Services® (PDS) decided to change the role of “benefit coordinator” to “healthcare coordinator,” it seemed like a straightforward and empowering move. But with hundreds of locations across the country — and countless documents, quick reference guides, guidelines, and contracts mentioning the title — it soon became clear that the change would entail a significant amount of work.
As Nemi George, VP of Information Security, describes, “The penny dropped. Our company had been using ‘benefit coordinator’ for approximately 20 years. We thought we’d have to weed through every single published piece of content and change the wording one document at a time.”
Fortunately, George had a resource in his back pocket: Box. The IT team met with Box Consulting, who created a custom API to automatically find every piece of content with the phrase “benefit coordinator” and change it to “healthcare coordinator” — a virtual find-and-replace across the entire distributed system. “I hardly know how to quantify it,” says George. “It saved hundreds of hours of people sitting there going through it all. It’s one of those little things that makes such a big difference on the grand scale.”
This is only one example of how Box has become instrumental to the content workflows across PDS’ 900+ supported offices across 25 states.
No more VPN holding things up
In the life of a dentist, there are X-rays, instruments, teeth — and taxes. Ask the average dental professional why they pursued their career, and they probably won’t mention treasury regulations and tax forms. Still, like every profession, dentistry involves critical back-office responsibilities one must master to do business well. These paperwork black holes habitually keep dentists from their billable patient work.
PDS offers a unique model of supporting individual practice owners through a centralized administrative organization. While the dentists see patients and manage their clinical staff, a full suite of business support services takes care of back-office tasks, including:
- Procurement: Contract negotiations, procurement, warranty fulfilments, etc.
- Billing: Invoicing patients, billing insurance, and following up on payments
- Staffing: Attracting and onboarding new team members and managing people, processes, and paperwork
- IT support: Making sure the core business platform, computers, and systems run efficiently and securely
- Legal services: Ensuring accuracy and legality of contracts
- Taxes: Handing all annual tax needs — a huge burden lifted off dentists
- Marketing: Providing the community outreach needed to ensure a steady flow of patients
All of the content to support these services is held in the Content Cloud, but it wasn’t always. The move to Box was a change from the company’s original model of storing data in on-premises file shares and requiring a VPN for access when not on the company network. This model had proved clunky and was habitually skirted by PDS team members who would simply save files to their local drives to avoid using it.
$5K a month saved on HR storage alone
Now, with the Content Cloud and Box Shield, PDS team members independently access cloud-based folders, where they upload tax information, download tax records, and create e-signatures — all within a secure, compliant space. The company’s digital ecosystem also includes Box integrations with Workday, Microsoft 365, Salesforce, Okta, and RingCentral. Using Box as the secure content layer across all these other tools has enabled the company to keep content in one place — while integrating with apps teams already use.
As an added benefit, the People Services (HR) team alone was able to save $5,000 a month on data storage with the move to the cloud. Adopting Box allowed the team to open a world of intuitive collaboration across the staff.
All the kinds of content that make a dental office go round
In the dental field, content can range from patient invoices to legal contracts to 3D X-rays in huge file sizes. To onboard new clinicians, for instance, PDS has a process to validate their licensure, certification, and education credentials, which creates a sensitive trail of paperwork. Keeping all content secure and compliant means covering quite a few bases.
Box automatically gives PDS the compliance guardrails it needs on particular types of content, along with granular security controls that don’t hinder collaboration. From the start, the IT team set up basic rules around content reporting in Box. They began to track metrics such as:
- Permissions: Access to sensitive content
- Uploads and downloads: Content added to or downloaded from the server
- Anomalous behavior: Unusual or suspicious activity
George says, “We needed to make sure the right folks had access to the right things and people were not sending out files they should not be sending out. The way Box goes about that is really good.”
With Box, distributed control means that IT can oversee directory permissions and apply the right levels of security to folder structures already in place. Content held in Box automatically meets HIPAA regulations — critical in a dental practice where the security of patient records is imperative.
Workflows dramatically streamlined
The Content Cloud ensures the security of patients’ private information and also the ability to share important information with them. “With Box, it’s simple,” says George, “Stick it in a folder. Put in your email, and send it off. It can be downloaded easily and the expiration on files can be set after a particular period.”
With Box and Box Relay, PDS has smoothed out and even automated parts of processes across the business. Here are just a few of the processes that have sped up in the Content Cloud:
- Information-sharing with patients: Documents and records can now be shared quickly and securely with Box links
- Provider onboarding: New dentists on-board faster with contract exchanges that are easier and more convenient to manage
- Legal contract-filing: For the legal team in particular, the process of contract-filing has drastically improved
Since their early adoption of Box, Shiva Djahangiry, Lead Analyst, IT Business Services, says, “Box has been perfect for our enterprise and our supported dental offices. Its ease of use and accessibility has assisted us in promoting a self-service culture, and it integrates seamlessly with our current tech stack."
The ability to better track content with Box has been invaluable. George says, “In terms of productivity gains, it’s a hundred percent compared to where they were before. The security, the ability to accurately track. Now, I can go through the history. I can see what's been sent.”
A state-of-the-art support role — no more, no less
One of the biggest differentiators for PDS is a business model that enables individual practice owners to lead their own clinical practices and make their own treatment decisions. The PDS team provides the business support, so patients have the best overall experience.
“The office belongs to the practice owner,” says George. “We provide everything legally, but we don’t influence their clinical decision-making. They have the clinical autonomy to run the office.”
PDS knows how to ensure a practice owner can grow a successful business — through a state-of-the-art support role.
The top three things PDS loves about Box, according to Djahangiry:
- Simplicity: “Ease of use. It’s very self-explanatory.”
- Teamwork: “The overall improved collaboration we have access to now.”
- Security: “The security and data governance Box offers.”
Box is saving time, improving security, and increasing customer satisfaction. Clinicians don’t have to go looking for X-rays on some scratched up DVD anymore. It’s in an email, in a secure Box link.