Health Tech: Donna Armstrong On How Promethean Dental Systems’ Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our Overall Wellness

An Interview With Dave Philistin

Dave Philistin, CEO of Candor
Authority Magazine

--

We make the technology accessible, providing the confidence to a pre-dental student that they can master the psychomotor skills needed in the profession and it gives the dental school admissions committee a new differentiator when looking at the application pool.

In recent years, Big Tech has gotten a bad rep. But of course, many tech companies are doing important work making monumental positive changes to society, health, and the environment. To highlight these, we started a new interview series about “Technology Making An Important Positive Social Impact”. We are interviewing leaders of tech companies who are creating or have created a tech product that is helping to make a positive change in people’s lives or the environment. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Donna Armstrong of Promethean Dental Systems.

Donna is the Owner and a Board Member for Promethean Dental Systems and offers a business education and background, coupled with a career of business service design and operations experience. Donna brings significant hands-on experience with dental simulation education delivery and is able to bring the combination of technology and dental education together effectively.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory and how you grew up?

I grew up in a small town in southern Illinois. I have 4 brothers and therefore had a bit of tomboy in me as a child. Alongside a multitude of animals, I spent much of my time outdoors with them, fishing in the lake and exploring the rural property we lived on. I do believe caring for so many animals instilled a strong sense of responsibility and integrity in me. As a mom to 2 dogs and 2 horses currently, I find them to be huge stress relievers for me. My mom and step dad owned a business and I was always intrigued by that. I spent time pretending I owned a general store and a bookstore.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

No one has ever made me feel like I could accomplish anything more than my husband. Where I tend to be more conservative, he is a driver and not afraid of tackling hard issues. He really has been instrumental in our successes.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” -Dr. Wayne Dyer.

I love this quote because it reminds me to see things from all perspectives. It can help prevent problems and conflict. I am also a middle child so I have a tendency to do this naturally.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Patience — We are bringing new ideas to an industry that does not change quickly. It can take many conversations with just one group before we see some progress but it is happening.

Loyalty and Honesty — not only are these traits important internally among our partners and employees but they are also important as we build partnerships with other companies to expand and accomplish our collective goals. We also have to be loyal to ourselves to stay the course, fight for what we believe in, and know the change we seek is progress for the better.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about the tech tools that you are helping to create that can make a positive impact on our wellness. To begin, which particular problems are you aiming to solve?

We are evolving dental education to include the latest “innovations” in technology that enable dental schools to prepare their students to embrace the changes facing dental professionals. We offer comprehensive dental education services over the entire dental life cycle. Starting with students who are applying to dental school, extending through their career until retirement. This includes online courses and simulation skill training and assessment as a pre-dental student, dental student, licensure candidate, licensed professional, or dental industry company.

How do you think your technology can address this?

Technology can provide a more accurate, faster and safer workflow around procedures. A student or dentist who has more repetitions on a certain procedure will provide a better quality of care to their patients once in practice.

The technology on the Simodont Dental Trainer allows the user to practice operative procedures of dentistry over and over again until the muscle memory is developed. With a quick choice on the touchscreen, an exercise can be restarted as many times as desired. Whereas a standard student may have prepared 17–24 teeth for crowns prior to graduation, they can now practice this as much as they desire, with the technology giving immediate, consistent, and objective feedback on their progress pointing out the areas that were correctly and incorrectly prepared. Currently, this feedback is given by faculty in limitation. The Simodont gives the actual margin and reduction errors and faculty no longer needs to be present to grade every tooth. The faculty can spend more time instructing.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

Knowing there was no accurate way of evaluating the psychomotor skills of pre-dental students as well as no way of objectively grading dental student hand skills was an eye opening moment. Once I began working with undergrad students wanting to enter dental school, I immediately understood how this training boosted their confidence. This confidence helped them tremendously when they went to their admissions interview. The feedback from these students confirmed we were making a difference by offering the technology outside of dental schools

How do you think this might change the world?

Dental schools now have a way of evaluating applicants on one more aspect of their applications by asking them to spend a short amount of time on the Simodont Dental Trainer. This gives dental schools a glimpse into whether or not that student will struggle with psychomotor skills or not.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

I only see the positive. This technology helps to develop a skill prior to working on a patient and it helps to keep those psychomotor skills strong throughout a dentist’s career. Think of it this way- would you like to have a cavity filled by a dentist who has done the procedure 50 times or one that has done it 500 times?

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five things you need to know to successfully create technology that can make a positive social impact”? (Please share a story or an example, for each.)

Will it provide confidence, save money, cut down on time, limit the use of disposable materials, and provide better healthcare?

We are thrilled that by combining the Simodont Dental Trainer along with our learning management system and our custom programs, our technology is making a positive social impact. The accessibility of this technology leads to Acceptance, which leads to Improved Education, leading to Improved Professionals and ultimately, Improved Healthcare.

1. We make the technology accessible, providing the confidence to a pre-dental student that they can master the psychomotor skills needed in the profession and it gives the dental school admissions committee a new differentiator when looking at the application pool.

2. Accessibility promotes acceptance of better dental students who have the opportunity to practice a large number of procedures and boost repetition of each in order to master it.

3. This frees up faculty time because they no longer need to be present with the student when the student is doing repetition boosting, which improves education. This cuts down on the remediation of dental students who are falling behind. Remediation also requires faculty time. Dental students save money by not having to drop out of school due to poor hand skills. Schools save money because the student cannot be replaced once they drop out. A dental school class that has graduated dentists with more experience will in turn provide better quality of care to their patients and ultimately save them time and money.

4. Improved Education leads to improved Professionals, which is demonstrated in licensure exams that provides unbiased, objective, machine graded results. It also eliminates the need for a patient based exam. This reduces the cost, time and stress to the licensure candidate.

5. Improved Professionals provide improved Healthcare that is continuously evolving and elevating through practicing professionals who maintain their hand skills in addition to their yearly CE and/or remediation requirements.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

There’s never backwards, only forward. But there is entropy, energy is always moving toward disorganization. As an individual, if we have the ability to participate in keeping the momentum flowing toward positive results, we should. It takes a collective to progress, to better the issues we face on a daily basis.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)

Yes! Joanna Gaines.

I am a visually creative person and love to spend time designing, whether it be a vision for a piece of artwork or renovating a room. I love and respect craftsmanship and the beauty it can add. Not only is Joanna a spectacular designer, but she has also created and branded Magnolia in a classy, smart way. I would be thrilled to spend time with her.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Please visit our website: prometheandentalsystems.com

Facebook: facebook.com/prometheandentalsystems

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/prometheandentalsystems

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success in your important work.

--

--

Dave Philistin, CEO of Candor
Authority Magazine

Dave Philistin Played Professional Football in the NFL for 3 years. Dave is currently the CEO of the cloud solutions provider Candor