How to stop being overwhelmed by streams of useless data in orthodontics?

Big businesses – and even smaller ones – today generate wads of big data. And a surprise to no one, this big data will only get bigger. Likewise in orthodontics, the average practice does not know what to do with almost 60% to 95% of all acquired data. Companies have gotten good at collecting data but aren’t good at using it, and so valuable data that could surge profitability for the company may get lost in the pandemonium or just sit collecting dust.

Gaining control of data is a cardinal business strategy that every orthodontic practice or organization should learn. So why aren’t businesses in better control of their data? Why do these practices allow crucial data to slip from their fingers and only have useless data to show for? One reason is that there is just too much data for them to handle.

Sifting through useless data

In orthodontics, as in medicine in general, everything begins with anamnesis. Diagnosis through clinical and imaging examinations are ultimately fabricated into treatment or therapy plans, each personalized to complement the patient’s needs. Throughout this process of anamnesis, diagnostics, and investigations, bundles of data are procured. These range from medical facts to the patient’s anecdotal references, fears, wishes, and symptoms.

While everything is narrated from the patient’s objective point of view, you have to stop and wonder if all of what you’ve just heard is necessary to plan out your patient’s ideal therapy plan. The simple answer to that is no. It is important to filter out only the bare essentials that would benefit your patient’s overall treatment plan. This is why developing a strategy here is crucial!

How to stop being overwhelmed by useless data?

The best way for you to stop getting distracted by useless information is to stop and analyze. Concentrate on what is actually recognizable; this is your value-added data or process. Everything else that distracts you emotionally is “waste” and should be discarded. To do this, you will need to flaunt a certain degree of analytical and rational quirk.

Take Sherlock Holmes or Mr. Spock from the Star Trek series as a guide. Their mere indifference to emotional stimuli and a working method based on detailed observation and detached inference is exemplary. Now apply this logical standpoint to orthodontics.

Streamlining valuable data in orthodontics

In this field of work, you will be dealing with many data sets, such as cephalometric analyses. There are countless cephalometric analyses so it is crucial to identify and distill the essentials through the Lean Orthodontics principle.

First, you must take into account what exactly you want to extract from the teleradiographic analysis. You want to represent dentoalveolar and skeletal relationships. Now take a reference value, say, the base of the skull (SN). In order to understand how the skeletal bases Maxilla (NL) and Mandibula (ML) are oriented towards each other both sagittally and vertically, you need references. How are they oriented to the reference skull base? What dentoalveolar values do I need?

If you pay attention to these values, you will likely notice a pattern. Only angles are determined, with no track lengths. What this prevents is the occurrence of magnification and reduction errors with different image sizes (the conversion of images to different sizes would be a waste). Thus you have an analysis that contains the essentials and can answer any therapeutically relevant question – analysis with only 10 measured values.

In contrast to many other analyzes, it should simply show you have simple it can be, and with how little information you can answer all the questions that are therapeutically relevant for any treatment plan. So to emphasize once again, your evaluations are reproducible. Only what is necessary is analyzed, and that which is also therapeutically relevant. Concentrate on the essentials. Get Dr. Baxmann´s Lean Ceph Analysis to make your work process simpler and efficient.

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