Five states share ADA technology


On site: ADA Aptify team trains the Indiana Dental Association staff.

Dr. Hagenbruch

Carmelo Cinqueonce

Nevada: NDA’s Corinne Politi, records coordinator, and Anthony Ferreri, director, member services.

“Change is good” is how one state dental association member service director described its venture into Aptify, a new software that will replace outdated systems formerly used for membership records and other functions.

Aptify is a faster, more flexible software that allows the ADA to interface with states in an effort to provide better service to members at whatever point they connect with the Association—national, state or local. It replaces outdated software and systems the ADA had used for membership records as well as allowing the development of the ADAcatalog.org website.

Although still in the initial stages of the rollout, the Aptify association management software has been deployed in five states so far: Indiana, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire and Virginia.

Anthony Ferreri, director of member services for the Nevada Dental Association, sees advantages in making the transition to Aptify from the Tripartite Ssystem software that connected Nevada to the ADA.

“I’m the first to admit that after attending Aptify training in Chicago, I was a little skeptical on how I would be able to use this immense system to service my members in a timely manner. But change is good!” he said.

He gave an example of how the faster system helped him meet a member’s need. “One of the dental schools in my state has an orthodontic program, and a requirement for that program is membership in the ADA,” he said. “With just a couple of clicks, I was able to generate a membership history for a student that needed to prove his continued membership in order to advance in his program. Because of Aptify, I was able to serve him and have him go back to his work within three minutes.”

In 2010, the House of Delegates approved a $23 special assessment that paid for information technology infrastructure improvements, including Aptify.

ADA Eighth District Trustee Joseph F. Hagenbruch, who chairs the Board of Trustees Information Technology Committee, said he has witnessed the money put to use “that enhances service to member-dentists” during the past four years.

“We have leveraged that investment to ensure we can serve our members now and into the future and to do so in a way that can seamlessly include state and local participation,” he said.

Aptify offers modules that cover a variety of functions. New Hampshire is preparing to use the system to register attendees for their continuing education programs and their 2015 annual meeting. “This will save us an enormous amount of time and resources,” said Jim Williamson, executive director of the New Hampshire Dental Society.

Access to the national database means the states retrieve information that can help them quickly serve a dentist who has moved to their state, whether it’s in figuring out what their dues level is or what issues they are most interested in. “The case management module allows us to track trends among our members,” such as calls about specific regulatory issues, said Carmelo Cinqueonce, executive director of the Minnesota Dental Association.

“As more states employ Aptify case management, we will be better able to spot hot button issues occurring across the country,” he said.

The Indiana Dental Association started with Aptify in mid-June, said Doug Bush, IDA executive director, so their experience so far is limited, but he sees many advantages to come.

“Aptify will allow us to better track which members are contacting us, and the nature of their inquiries. It will aid us with follow-up, better assuring we meet member needs without allowing questions or requests to fall between the cracks. I think Aptify will anchor the Power of Three concept (ADA.org/powerofthree). The ADA, IDA and our local societies will to able to jointly view our contact with members and refer requests to the entity best equipped to respond. I’m looking forward to putting Aptify into practice.”

The VDA will use Aptify to streamline its 2015 membership renewal process. “This will allow members to renew their membership on the ADA website,” said Leslie Pinkston, VDA membership director. “Members will have an easier way to update address changes, make dues payments, place orders, track CE, and receive current updates.”

The Virginia Dental Association was the second state to transition from the aging Tripartite System database to Aptify. “The entire ADA Aptify  group has been a pleasure to work with,” said. Ms. Pinkston. “It’s not only in their support for each state and component staff member, but  in their enthusiasm and concern in ensuring the transition goes as well as possible for us as new Aptify users.”

The ADA is offering this system to dental societies with no cost for the following: technical infrastructure, Aptify software (unlimited user licensing) and data conversion from the Tripartite System.

“We certainly are still learning,” said NHDS’s Mr. Williamson, “but the ADA is there to help us every step of the way. The ADA has the most resources to help us on the local level where we need and have the most contact with our members. We are very pleased that we went first, but I know that every other state will get similar support.”

The ADA is encouraging dental societies to adopt Aptify, which fits in one of the Members First 2020 goals in the ADA’s 2015-2019 Strategic Plan, said Dr. Hagenbruch.

“That goal says ‘All levels of the ADA will have sufficient organizational capacity necessary to meet member needs.’ That’s what Aptify embodies,” he said.

He also wants to reassure members that the ADA is sensitive to their privacy and related preferences and has processes in place to address those issues.

For more information about Aptify, contact Peter Bradley (bradleyp@ada.org), director, Aptify Enterprise Solutions.

Board proposes 2015 budget tied to member value, service, growth

photo of Dr Norman
Dr. Norman
photo of Dr Feinberg
Dr. Feinberg
photo of Dr Lemmo
Dr. Lemmo

The Board of Trustees’ 2015 budget proposal continues the Board’s effort to tie financial planning to the Association’s Strategic Plan, with a key focus on member value, service and membership growth.

At its July meeting, ADA leaders approved Board Report 2 for transmittal to the 2014 House of Delegates. The report includes action recommending a 2015 operating budget of $134,877,000 in revenues and $128,728,000 in expenses and income taxes, generating a surplus of $6,149,000 in net income before noncash adjustment and planned reserve contributions.

In response to Resolution 84H-2013, the Board is directing the transfer of $6 million royalty revenue from ADA Members Insurance Plans to a designated reserve. The reserve is dedicated to member value and long-term dues and financial stabilization.

With the anticipation of a surplus, the Board is not recommending a dues increase for 2015.

Dr. Ron Lemmo, ADA treasurer, offered his insights into the Association’s financial future. “The most important part of the conversation about the budget is that we are focusing our spending on our members, which is the focus of the 2015-2019 Strategic Plan. Because of our financial stability, we are able to better dedicate resources not only in ongoing programs but are also able to invest in new, innovative programs to support members in the future.”

ADA President Charles Norman commended the progress the Board has made during his tenure on the Board as a trustee, president-elect and president. “The budget process is continually evolving to better serve our members. We continue to modify and refine the budgeting process to support Members First 2020, the five-year strategic plan that begins in 2015, and that is truly reflected in the 2015 budget. We are invested in member service and member growth,” he said.

A key challenge is to provide support to members with innovative programs while continuing the programs that have proven value to members. The Strategic Plan calls for the ADA to increase its member market share and for an increase in the assessment of member value by membership.

“That calls for a balanced approach to finances,” said Dr. Maxine Feinberg, ADA president-elect. “We have to keep the long-term needs of the Association in mind, continue building financial stability and dues stabilization, while providing the programs and services our members value in their day-to-day practice life as they negotiate today’s marketplace and prepare for future needs.”

The Power of Three campaign has allowed more meaningful conversations among the local, state and national ADA organizations to work together to improve the member experience, to offer higher value benefits and superior member service through investments of resources in the Member Service University, the Leadership Academy, the Certificate in Practice Management programs, best in class continuing education program, and further development of the Center for Professional Success.  

ADA leaders are hopeful that the Power of Three will enable greater efficiencies, less duplication of effort and cost savings for those state societies who will take advantage of the Aptify association management software, being provided to them at no cost.

Dr. Lemmo said the Board’s focus on member value is seen throughout the budget process.

“There are so many aspects of building member value that the Board is managing with staff,” he said. “Over the last few years we have budgeted for capital expenditures for the building, which alleviates the need for special assessments so as to avoid fluctuation in dues, which again supports dues stabilization. This is the second year in a row we are not asking for a dues increase, yet our programs are getting better as we develop new ones.”

Dr. Lemmo cited the strides the ADA Library has made in the past few years in its transition to a digital resource library that reaches more members each year with vastly expanded resources — and accomplished with no dues increase.

From January through July this year, the ADA Library & Archive Web pages totaled 3,530 visits, 4,826 searches and 3,754 downloaded articles. Members can access online some 285 e-journals, 55 current textbooks, Cochrane Database and DynaMed Database and librarians are available to help members find what they need.

The Association has also enhanced member value through its investment in Aptify, an association management software that allows the ADA to collaborate with states in an effort to provide better service to members at whatever point they connect with the Association — national, state or local. It replaces outdated software and systems the ADA had used for membership records as well as allows for the development of the ADAcatalog.org website. Sixteen states are being deployed in 2014 with another 26 planned for 2015.

Other member-focused investments have led to improvements in these areas:

  • The Center for Professional Success, which launched last fall, provides dentists with an online tool to help with the day-to-day business management of their practices. The website is organized into three areas: Practice, Live, and Learn and is highly interactive with updated news feeds, trends trackers, research, quality of life, improved video capabilities and financial calculators.
  • The Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry website was updated this year, and the Center in July added a Science Podcast to address EBD and other dental science topics. The Center offers a comprehensive database of systematic reviews on a broad range of oral health topics, providing tangible benefits and value for dental school students and faculty, as well as dental practitioners.

The ADA House of Delegates will meet Oct. 10-14 in San Antonio. Members First 2020 — Strategic Plan 2015-2019 is available on ADA.org in the Member Center/Leadership and Governance/Strategic Planning section. Board reports and resolutions for the 2014 House are available to members only on ADA.org via this path: Member Center/Leadership and Governance/House of Delegates/Board Reports and Resolutions.

2015 revisits 2014—no dues increase

San Antonio, Texas — The ADA House of Delegates Oct. 14 said “yes” to a 2015 operating budget with $136,077,000 in revenues and $128,271,000 in expenses and income taxes. With the transfer $7.2 million to the Insurance Royalty Reserve, the projected 2015 operating surplus will be $606,087.

They also said “yes” to keeping 2015 national dues at the same level as 2014: $522.

Resolutions passed by House with financial implications totaled $1,143,000. New programs include Res. 101H-2014 that directs the Association to implement a proactive social media campaign and websites to promote to the public the safe, positive effects of optimal water fluoridation.

Following her installation as ADA president, Dr. Maxine Feinberg commended the House for its actions this year. “The House acted very responsibly to ensure that our programs and services align with Members First 2020, our 2015-19 Strategic Plan,” she said. “I am also very pleased that our House actions are focused on member success. These actions also reflect the fact that we are using data to drive our decision-making, whether it’s about a social media campaign on fluoridation or our Power of Three efforts.

The Power of Three campaign has allowed more meaningful conversations among the local, state and national ADA organizations to work together to improve the member experience, to offer higher value benefits and superior member service through investments of resources.

Dr. Ron Lemmo, ADA treasurer, in addressing the House during the meeting, noted the challenge of reversing market share trends in membership. “Our financial position has improved dramatically over the past couple of years, yet the ADA has been challenged annually by falling membership market share which is the single most critical need for the ADA and is reflected in the focus of the new Members First 2020 strategic plan.

“As a result of a strong reserve position, a surplus budget, and less dependence on dues,” continued Dr. Lemmo, “we are positioned to have the resources available to deliver programs and initiatives that enhance member value and address our declining market share. As part of this effort, the ADA also recognizes its important role of working with state and local components to deliver member value through the Power of 3, and the ADA has invested in a major transition that engages our stakeholders across the Association to enhance our member’s experience.

He enumerated these 2014 achievements to the House:

  • Net income reached a record of $ 17 million in 2013.
  • No dues increase proposed for second year in a row.
  • Operating reserve fund at 73 percent of annual operating expenses.
  • New reserve funds for building maintenance and insurance royalties.

Dr. Carol Gomez Summerhays, ADA president-elect, also pointed to the financial stability of the Association. “The ADA is getting stronger, and we are in great financial shape. We are really in a position to make a lot of changes over next two years. I very much look forward to working with everyone throughout the country.”

She said the delegates were very focused this year on member value. “It was a very efficient and collegial House of Delegates, ” she said. The future is going to be great — I keep saying that, but I also add that I didn’t say it would be easy. But it is going to be great.