Case Studies

Cloud Communication Solutions for Pacific Dental

January 26, 2021
Cloud communication solutions help implement a centralized company-wide environment where teams can easily find and connect with each other.

Communication is a huge factor in every organization. When all parts of your organization communicate smoothly, it can improve workflow and overall productivity. Especially during Covid-19 lockdowns where 74% of business owners said they have all staff currently working remotely, reliable communication is extremely necessary.

This case study features Pacific Dental Services. Learn how signing up for all-in-one cloud communication solutions helps this organization to improve their overall operation and an easy transition to Teledentistry, empowering their dentist to provide care for patients during the pandemic-caused lockdown. 

Company Profile:

Pacific Dental Services® (PDS®) is a leading dental support organization (DSO) that provides business and administrative services for dental offices, providing supported autonomy that enables dentists to concentrate on clinical excellence and the highest levels of cost-effective comprehensive patient care. PDS originated the Private Practice+® model to enable dentists to focus on their passion: serving patients. PDS also pioneered the concept of Modern Dentistry so that dentists are equipped to combine advances in the latest technology with the best operational practices and procedures, highly skilled support staff, and a commitment to ongoing training and education. The company now has more than 800 supported dental offices across the United States and is adding dozens every year.



Cloud communications solutions helps Pacific Dental Services provide better care for their patients and improve overall performance.

Communications Infrastructure in need of a check-up 

Most of the hundreds of thousands of dental practices in the US are small businesses. The dentist who owns these practices often runs a one-man business where they also devote themselves to doing administrative tasks such as billing, data entry, and so on. These proved to be challenging and allow very little time left to focus exclusively on their patients.  

Pacific Dental Services® saw the need and pioneered a business model which aims to help these practices streamline their operations—including billing, staffing, IT, marketing, even integrated dental specializations. This in turn allows dentists more time to focus on patient-centric oral health care. Because of this, dental clinics supported by PDS are now the providers of choice in the markets they serve.  

The company’s unique approach has worked and soon enough the organization has expanded its reach to over 800 dental practices in 22 states with dozens of new dental clinicians signing each year. The organization developed a successful, efficient process that streamlined the operations of hundreds of its supported dental practices. The company experienced rapid growth so much that one factor was missed – the company’s own IT Communications. Over the years of acquiring new dental practices, their communications infrastructure was becoming more complicated. Many small dental practices are not fully equipped to adapt to new technologies. They have such outdated voice systems that PDS is having a hard time creating a centralized communications platform for all. This is enough to create frustrations especially when one team member tried unsuccessfully to reach a co-worker in other locations.

“Some of these dental practices were still using old answering machines with cassette tapes to record voicemails. That type of phone infrastructure wasn’t going to scale.”  – Rich Brownlee, the company’s Director of Infrastructure & Operations 

A mix up of different internet-based applications

Over time, we acquired several different video conferencing tools and instant messaging apps,” Brownlee explains. “The disparate chat apps led to all sorts of confusion, and people often had trouble joining meetings from certain devices or if they missed an update of the conference software.”

“We had a mix of phone systems, offices working with different telecom providers… and lots of communications headaches.”Rich Brownie | Director of Infrastructure & Operations, Pacific Dental Services

Cloud-based unified communications solutions

RingCentral provided a Cloud-based unified communication that will help implement a centralized, company-wide environment where any team could easily find a co-worker through a company-wide directory and be able to make calls directly via a simple direct-dialing system. 

The cloud platform also introduced a virtual phone application that can be downloaded and install on any phone. This virtual phone app can then be used to take and make business calls from any computer or mobile device.  

The company also used RingCentral’s built-in team messaging application to streamline its internal support operation.  Before, if a team member or a clinician needed help, they’d have to submit a ticket, which went into the support team’s queue. With the team chat messaging features, PDS team members can no directly send a message to Service Desk in real-time and support agents can communicate with each other quickly should they need to escalate matters to or find solutions to a problem.  

The team messaging features and virtual phone applications solve the issues of having too many instant messaging apps and video conferencing tools.  

As Michael Brown, the company’s IT Enterprise Operations Manager, explains, “The messaging tool is improving our ability to have the first-call resolution for our team members, owner dentists, and patients. 

The benefit of comprehensive cloud communication systems 

The company has seen major improvements after signing up to RingCentral. Although these changes were a vast development, they are only the first of many advantages PDS realized after switching to cloud-based communication systems. 

Integrating communications solutions with productivity apps to boost operations 

PDS’s IT team also tapped into RingCentral’s open API platform, integrating their communications solution with many other productivity apps to improve the company’s workflows. 

An example of this is RingCentral’s SMS text feature which supports an app for healthcare practices. The design of the platform was modified to removed protected health information (PHI) from digital messages. This helps the provider stay on the right side of the patient privacy law while communicating using the app.  

As Brown explains, “Thanks to an API integration with RingCentral, we’re able to monitor and inhibit PHI from the texts we send to patients, which keeps up HIPAA compliance.” Those SMS communications themselves have proven extremely valuable to PDS’s business. “Because we’re able to send out automated text reminders to patients about upcoming appointments, we’ve seen a significant drop in patient no-shows, and that makes a real difference in our bottom line,” Michael continues. 

An easy transition to Teledentistry in the Covid-19 Era

Because PDS already had unified, cloud communications solutions in place when the pandemic led to stay-at-home orders, PDS’s network of supported dental practices was well-positioned to quickly begin offering teledentistry services to patients all over the country. 

Today, patients can easily schedule teledentistry appointments with a PDS-supported dentist. During these appointments, available for anyone with a smartphone, tablet, or computer, patients have the opportunity to be screened by a clinician from the comfort of their homes. The PDS-supported dentists can review their patients’ symptoms via live video and assess what their best course of action is. For patients needing in-office care, same-day appointments will be scheduled for them. PDS credits their cloud communications platform—and the video conferencing in particular—for enabling their dentists to provide care for patients during the lockdown. 

“I’ve heard from several patients who were so happy, and even surprised, they had a chance to see their dental provider at a time when almost all other services were shut down,” says Brown. 

And, as Brown adds, Our supported dentists are well-positioned, using RingCentral Video, to do face-to-face follow-ups with their patients. I think that’s key to helping us improve that personal relationship between the dentists we support and their patients, which is really what the whole PDS model is all about.” 


Key Takeaways: 

A smart tech decision to transition to a cloud-based unified communication system has given PDS ways to improve their overall operation through the following:

  • A centralized, company-wide environment where any team can reach their co-worker via the company-wide directory and simple direct dialing. 
  • A virtual phone app that can be downloaded and installed on any phone. This virtual phone app can then be used to take and make business calls from any computer or mobile device.  
  • A built-in team messaging application to streamline its internal support operation.  
  • Integrating communications solutions with many other productivity apps to improve the company’s workflows. 

Need help with finding the best cloud communication solutions for your business? Get in touch! 



This article Pacific Dental Services was originally published in RingCentral.

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