The AGM of the Association of Dental Dealers in Europe (ADDE) took place recently in Dublin. Representatives from throughout Europe attended the meeting in the Merrion Hotel, including President of the Irish Dental Trade Association (IDTA), Pat Bolger of Henry Schein (Ireland) Ltd. Delegates welcomed speakers on how using technology can improve the way we do business, as well as a look at the dental business in Ireland, from boom to bust.
ADDE President Dominique Deschietere first introduced Marco Pacini of Keystone, who presented on the Dental Monitor research system and its role in market research. Marco described the Dental Monitor methodology, which uses data from manufacturers, dealers, dentists and technicians throughout Europe to identify and analyse market trends.
Josif Dishliev of MediCloud introduced their “comprehensive ecosystem of software apps”, which connects all players – dentists, dealers, labs, analytics, patients – in one database, providing unique opportunities to interact. Using cutting-edge software, MediCloud is intended to help dentists to streamline practice management, help patients to achieve better oral health, and assist dealers to boost sales.
Ed Attenborough of Attenborough Dental Labs Ltd presented on how digital technology could offer new routes to market for dental dealers. Some of the issues identified in relation to these developments included cost-effectiveness, the integration of systems between manufacturer, dentist and technician, and the need to maintain quality assurance. The consensus was that while a new specialty of ‘dental designer’ may well develop, there will always be a place for highly skilled technicians.
The final speaker of the afternoon was former ADDE President Aidan McCormack, who gave delegates a detailed overview of dentistry and the dental business in Ireland – past, present and future. Aidan told a sobering story of boom to bust, where massive drops in funding to the two State dental schemes, coupled with falling incomes and rising unemployment, led to significant falls in income for dentists, with a predictable effect on the dental business. However, there are tentative signs of recovery, as consumers adjust to lower incomes and begin to reprioritise healthcare issues.