Paving the Way with New Technology

Dan Sheehan, SVP & CIO, DentaQuest
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Dan Sheehan, SVP & CIO, DentaQuest

Technology Challenges in the Healthcare Industry  

• Initiating change management: With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) now law, the major challenge for the health care industry is not technology. While there needs to be additional investments in technology, integration and training, we as an industry must make the shift from paying for services to paying for health improvement. There is a huge opportunity to align the benefits we cover with how care is delivered in order to improve health and drive avoidable cost out of the system.

“Throughout DentaQuest, each group is working to provide solutions that improve access, effectiveness and quality of care while also raising awareness for oral health”

“Throughout DentaQuest, each group is working to provide solutions that improve access, effectiveness and quality of care while also raising awareness for oral health”

• Moving from yesterday’s technologies to a digital architecture: It is absolutely essential that our industry utilizes social, digital, analytics and the internet of things to provide a customer-centric experience. 

• Utilizing a customer relationship management (CRM) platform to enhance the company’s interactions with clients and customers: This allows us to organize, automate, integrate and synchronize all functions ranging from sales to contracts to technology support for everyone through any type of hardware. 

• Evolving our security strategy: We must continue improving and refining privacy security for our customers and clients while also managing this risk for the business.

• Simplifying IT processes, standard operating procedures and policies: To do this, we must first understand the total cost of ownership, and then we can conduct a variety of tasks that standardize, improve and optimize business practices and ultimately give our customers a better experience. 

• Transforming IT and its reputation: My ultimate hope is that IT shifts from the no to yes. An enterprise’s IT should be adding value to the business, moving from an obstacle to a catalyst that accelerates change and innovation. Throughout DentaQuest, each group is working to provide solutions that improve access, effectiveness and quality of care while also raising awareness for oral health – our IT team is no exception.  

A Customer-Centric Experience through Technology

At DentaQuest, we had to step back and look at our multiple clients and customers. We have contracts with a number of clients – health plans, states, providers (dentists) and brokers. Then we have customers–members that receive benefits as well as patients who receive care through the DentaQuest Care Group. Plus through the DentaQuest Institute and the DentaQuest Foundation, we work with numerous partners all committed to redefining the approach to oral care. By examining this further, we knew we needed a digital strategy that provided a 360-degree view of both our clients and our customers. Thus, we chose a high-performance CRM platform to provide the first step in transforming our enterprise into a “Customer Engagement” architecture.  

Our CRM platform enables us to extend our capabilities so that we are providing a customer-centric experience. Our clients and customers can interact with us the way they want to, whether that is through our portal, creating a case, emailing, texting or using online chat. At the same time, we’re better equipping our employees with the tools and technology to serve our clients and customers through their preferred channels.   

Our next step is integrating our CRM platform with our other major platforms, which include our proprietary claims management system, our financials platform and our human resource information system. This is key to delivering and extending our core capabilities to our clients and customers. Finally, we plan to extract and move all of the transactional data into an enterprise data warehouse that is organized in data marts to provide self-service reporting to our internal team and external clients and customers.

Technology with the Competitive Edge

It’s particularly challenging to gain a competitive edge in the dental insurance industry because our clients and customers are a mix of generations, all of whom benefit from quality, comprehensive oral care. These differences drive the need for a mix of technologies and a digital strategy that addresses baby boomers, Gen Xers and millennials. DentaQuest’s approach is to give these different clients and customers choice as they interact and do business with us. This requires driving and delivering a customer-centric experience and utilizing our technology platforms to extend our services to all of our clients and customers. 

Security Risk Management and Integration as Top Priorities

In our industry, ever-evolving cyber-security threats continue to be an area of concern. Security risk management, planning and awareness is one of DentaQuest’s top priorities and a point that personally keeps me up at night.

Another point of focus is integration with our providers. How do we drive a better experience for our customers (members) by integrating benefits with the delivery of oral health care? There are many different practice management systems and claims management systems that our partners use. All of these need to be integrated, but that is not always easy. 

Conclusion

Forging forward, we are looking to change DentaQuest’s direction by developing and implementing a digital strategy that will incorporate different technology trends in order to drive the growth of our business. The first phase of this digital strategy is to engage with our clients and customers in a different way. This also means extending our capabilities for many self-service functions so that our clients and customers are able to access information when and how they want.    

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