Sales of Dental Equipment and eDRs Down

Peterson Dental Supply Reveals a Decline

By Darrell K. Pruitt; DDS

Yesterday, Kevin Henry posted “Dental news of the day for Thursday, Feb. 18” on the DentistryiQ Blog.

The source for the day’s dental news was a sales report provided by Patterson Dental Supply.

Soft Sales

“Sales of dental equipment and software declined 10% from the year-earlier level, which was consistent with Patterson’s forecast for this period.”

If one remembers the economy at the last of 2008, it is not difficult to understand why Patterson’s analysts forecast that sales of dental equipment would drop. But, how did they know that sales of Patterson EagleSoft, their clinical and practice management software would also fall by 10%? I find it interesting that their accurate prediction was made shortly after Patterson announced the release of EagleSoft Version 15.00 on October 10, 2008. That must have been discouraging to EagleSoft employees.

When is the last time you’ve heard of a company roll-out of a new version of software – expecting it to be even less successful the previous version? That’s interesting.

Health Policy and Politics 

What makes Patterson’s valiant prediction of a decline in software sales even more remarkable is that a year ago, President-elect Barack Obama was giddy enthusiastic for digital health records, which includes Patterson’s EagleSoft. Not to say I told you so [maybe-a-little], but Patterson’s analysts obviously recognized what I did long before: Digital dental records are losing popularity among dentists. What’s more, none of my patients have ever said that they wish I had digital dental records. Dental patients simply do not desire them.

As a matter of fact, some have expressed relief that my paper records are more secure than anyone’s digital records. They also like not having to sign HIPAA forms – a meaningless waste of trees and appointment time.

Insightful or clueless dentist?


A year after Patterson privately admitted doubt about paperless dental practices, the slow-moving ADA House of Delegates met in Hawaii in October ‘09 and officially encouraged ADA members to adopt eDRs. Why doesn’t the American Dental Association know at least as much about dentistry as Patterson Dental?

This is an intriguing time in dental history. I can’t wait until the ADA opens up about their mistakes in dental informatics. One of these days we’ll all have a good laugh about their lame, expensive shenanigans.


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