Why Your Practice Needs Data Standardization

October 28, 2022 | 3 min read

When a DSO expands through acquisition, it often needs to combine different legacy practice management systems (PMSs.) But without standardized datasets, the migration process can be arduous and requires expensive, time-consuming, and error-prone manual efforts.

Data standardization brings data from disparate sources into a shared format, so you can compare and analyze them to generate insights and inform action. However, it’s easier said than done. With different systems collecting different information and structuring it in various formats, practices are often stuck with comparing apples to oranges.  

Here’s what you need to know about data standardization and how you can overcome the hurdles to tap into the power of data, analytics, and business intelligence (BI.)

Why Dental Practices Need Data Standardization

Poor data standardization can lead to incomplete and inaccurate data collection, causing patient matching issues and slowing workflows. Without accurate data, your practice will face challenges in delivering efficient, high-quality care to attract and retain patients.

The issues compound with multiple locations running different practice management software. Without a standardized database, you can’t connect disparate information sources to create a single source of truth to inform patient communication, care delivery, and other business decisions in real time.

The Challenges of Data Standardization in the Dental Industry

Legacy on-premise solutions are the biggest hurdle in data standardization for DSOs. Most of these systems aren’t built to support modern data governance requirements, and the lack of data integrity hinders growth and creates operational challenges.

The data transfer process often requires replicating all the information to a secondary database to prepare it for export. It’s expensive, resource-intensive, cumbersome, time-consuming, and error-prone. 

Some vendors bolt on APIs to link multiple PMSs and software versions. However, these integrations aren’t developed from the ground up to handle complex requirements, such as bulk or partial data export, leading to errors and more frustrations.

Some practices use solutions that aggregate data across multiple systems and locations. While they may sound good on paper, the reality is that the extract, transform and load (ETL) pipelines require active maintenance and will increase operating costs dramatically. 

Even if you have the means to collect data from all systems and sources, the challenge isn’t over yet. You need to map the data — connect data fields from one source to those in another to understand the data by correlating it with other information (e.g., patient identity.) 

However, data mapping is one of the most costly challenges in data warehouse management — that’s why until recently, it’s only feasible for large organizations with ample resources. The good news is that thanks to cloud computing and advanced BI technologies, data standardization is now possible for dental practices of any size. 

Data Standardization For Modern Multi-location Dental Practices

Data standardization is a moving target, and tab32 has set out to address it since our inception because robust data analytics will become an indispensable tool for modern practices.

We spent the past 6 years helping practices migrate from every PMS in the industry to our platform. As a result, we have built the industry’s most sophisticated data mapping and standardization capabilities — now available through our Open Data Warehouse™.

In fact, it’s the industry’s first and only data warehouse solution that works with PMSs, HR software, and other third-party sources (e.g., lab) out-of-the-box. It also incorporates BigQuery, a fully-managed, serverless data warehouse from Google Cloud that enables scalable analytics with built-in machine learning capabilities.

You can aggregate data across multiple locations and generate real-time insights using built-in BI tools, including Tableau, Microsoft Power BI, Data Studio, and Looker. You can also create executive, managerial, and operational reports from which executive teams (e.g., CFOs and COOs) can toggle between regions, practices, providers, and patients to inform accurate decision-making.

Additionally, our dental practice management platform is built on the highly secure Google Cloud Platform (GCP.) Our security team provides 24/7/365 monitoring to ensure your data is safe with our HIPAA-compliant solution.

Schedule a demo to see Open Data Warehouse in action.

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