Interviewee: Scott Parrish, President
Inside Dentistry (ID): The dental industry and the oral healthcare arena have been changing rapidly within the past 5 to 10 years. What do you see as the most significant of those changes?
Scott Parrish (SP): Computer technology has been adopted in the dental office at a very rapid pace and these new tools are allowing the dental team to do more for their patients. With specialization training, general dentistry now includes some endodontic procedures and even some implant work. From A-dec’s perspective, that has meant finding new ways to think about positioning, mounting, cabling, maintenance, and many other issues, in a way that enhances rather than hinders the dental team. Today, we have to think about display monitors and even keyboard placement in addition to the positioning of the delivery system and ergonomic patient access. We believe we design and build the best dental chair and delivery system in the business. That’s in large part because our engineering is very forward-looking, making integration of the newest tools and instruments simple and seamless. New tools and procedures are introduced to our industry at an ever-increasing rate, so A-dec is always planning for what’s next.
ID: In what ways—both internally and in dealing with the broader oral healthcare marketplace—has your company responded to these changes?
SP: With the introduction of A-dec 500®, and today’s A-dec 300 system, A-dec’s designs have really differentiated themselves in the marketplace. The listening our design teams did to understand what the dental community was asking for is something of which we’re very proud. A-dec’s dental equipment is impressive on the outside, but we also see these systems as infrastructure that has to accommodate today’s tools and the new technologies that aren’t even available yet. We design our equipment to accommodate multiple technologies at the same time, while maintaining our standard of fewer moving parts and easy access for routine maintenance and upgrades. In the end, our systems are designed to last dentists 15 to 20 years. We feel we’re doing doctors a real service by producing reliable equipment that allows them to benefit from the full life of the product, and then some.
ID: What do you see as your biggest responsibility to the marketplace, and why does your choice rank as your #1 priority?
SP: Our first responsibility is to the dentist and the dealer that supports that practice. With our equipment designs, through the integration of new tools, ergonomics, and treatment room work flow considerations, we work to promote the overall health and well-being of the dentist, team, and patient. Today’s baby boomers are starting to retire, and most of them with all their teeth. But combine that with the number of dentists leaving the field and the resulting patient-load increase, and we have a confluence of events that means dentists must do more in a day. We help to simplify work with ergonomic improvements and productivity considerations in both equipment design and treatment room layout to increase productivity, which can also increase a practice’s profitability. The A-dec 500 offers the best platform available, where our A-dec 300 offers the most affordable entry into this class of chair and treatment system with integrated technology capabilities.
ID: What product categories—whether preventive, restorative, operative, auxiliary, diagnostic, etc—do you feel are most in need of innovation based on what’s currently available?
SP: Particularly with today’s changing patient demographic, we can always use better preventive care methods and procedures. The industry as a whole has made great strides with new diagnostic tools, but with an aging patient base, we need to see new solutions that result in as little natural tooth loss as possible.The dental team is facing great challenges today as the number of patients per dentist continues to rise. We are excited to see plans for new dental schools to help this growing need. Anything we can do to help the team reset the treatment area for the next patient, reduce motion, or time to complete even routine procedures is a benefit. Working through a long patient schedule day in and day out can mean serious physical distress for some. All of our equipment, from stools, patient chairs, delivery systems, and even cabinetry are designed with ergonomic best practices in mind.
ID: What do you see as the best approach to the research, development, testing, and ultimate delivery to the market of such needed advancements?
SP: A-dec has a very well-defined and highly involved research and development process that looks at unmet needs in dentistry as a whole, and focuses our innovation in those areas that are of highest value to the dentist. To meet our goal of continuous improvement in dentistry, we work closely with opinion leaders to understand what improvements our dental customers are looking for, and the direction of emerging dental technology. For dentists and dealers alike, A-dec’s practice is to allow customers to train with the equipment in their hands. This allows us to hear very clearly what they like and dislike. We want them to touch and feel the equipment and find out if they’re comfortable with a particular feature. Our new training center at A-dec’s Newberg, Oregon headquarters was in heavy use in 2008, showing that there is a real desire and need for this type of hands-on training and trial opportunity. In the end, it’s listening to our customer that allows us to deliver the best equipment possible. We’re not trying to just know our customer better; we want to know our customers best.
About the Interviewee
The A-dec Education Center