Cumulus Dental Using Experience To Buck The Status Quo
An astoundingly high percentage of dental offices still rely on paper charts. In fact, the number is often cited as high as 85 percent. This is an issue that bothered former dentist Marc Lamarre throughout much of his dental career. So, after retiring from his private practice and obtaining an Executive Masters in Business Administration, Lamarre co-founded Cumulus Dental in 2013, along with partners Victor Varona and Paul Bisson.

Problems With Paper Charts

Although Lamarre admits that paper charts are quite sophisticated, he had a few major issues. Paper charts, according to Lamarre, are much too easily misplaced or lost, and in the worst case, they can even be destroyed entirely. The first issue is the lack of a proper backup system for paper charts. The second is the unnecessary amount of time that dental clinics must spend sorting paper charts, which, according to Lamarre, totaled roughly two hours per office day.

Lamarre’s third issue with paper charts pertains to the process required to properly fill them out. He argues that this process requires entirely too much time and invites the acceptance of too many transcription errors. These errors largely occur in the exchange between the dentist or hygienist examining the patient and the assistant tasked with recording the clinician’s observations.

Bringing Efficiency To The Hygienist’s Office

In an effort to alleviate this last issue, Lamarre and his co-founders developed a software solution that incorporates 3D imaging and voice recognition technologies. Instead of a two-person relay system, the dentist or hygienist simply describes what he or she is seeing and the software renders the description into a 3D chart.

The amount of time a dentist spends dictating to their assistant might seem negligible, but shaving even two minutes off this time, per patient, can have a significant impact on the dentist’s overall productivity throughout an 8-hour clinic day. Cumulus Dental’s software is currently being tested in 20 different office modules and the company plans a beta rollout for January 2016.

A Hardware Innovation As Well

In addition to their innovative software, the team at Cumulus Dental is also in the midst of developing a wireless digital periodontal probe capable of measuring the physiological properties of a patient’s gums. The probe will be able to measure gum temperature and a number of additional risk factors that signal the early stages of gum disease.

According to Lamarre, “In effect dentists and hygienists will be able to diagnose, monitor and treat gum disease a lot sooner than ever before.” The importance of this identification lies in the fact that many medical professionals have linked unhealthy gums to the development of much more serious medical issues, such as heart disease.

The market seems more than ready for Cumulus’ revolutionary technology. They’ve already raised more than $600,000 in funding and secured investments from a number of target customers. “I have several dentists invested in my company,” says Lamarre, “which is a telltale sign that things are good, and we’re recruiting more key opinion leaders in dentistry.”

The company’s next round of investment funding, which totals $1.1 million, will be used for additional testing, launching the initial software, validating the effectiveness of the periodontal probe, and obtaining FDA approval.

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Posted by: DSR
Friday, January 1, 2016
Tag: Dental
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