The Practice Pulse Program TM & System “R”

The Practice Pulse Program™ & System “R”
By Dr. Glen Cowan

I have always considered myself to be a conservative orthodontist who strives to provide quality care for my patients.  No one would accuse me of being on the cutting edge as I prefer to use proven, mature technology.  With this background I was very cautious about trying self-ligating brackets.  After much research and consultation I began by starting 20 cases with the GAC In-Ovation®  R brackets.  My initial experience was very positive with the brackets being easy to place, convenient to activate, durable, and non-irritating to the patient.  In addition the desired dental movements seemed very smooth and the adjustment visits less time consuming.  My clinical impression was further bolstered when a well respected colleague sent me information on 60 traditional and 60 In-Ovation R cases (consecutive debands).  His data indicated the In-Ovation R cases finished on average with 2 less adjustment visits.  Based on continued clinical use he now uses 8 week patient intervals and is considering reducing the chair time for each patient by 10 minutes.

I was now very intrigued and decided to use the Practice Pulse Program to investigate how the In-Ovation R system could positively affect my practice.  The first area of interest was how the In-Ovation R system would influence the individual case profitability.  In the Case Profitability section of the Practice Pulse Program I created two scenarios, one for my current system and one with the potential changes allowed by the In-Ovation R system (longer treatment intervals and less chair time).  The Practice Pulse Program indicated the In-Ovation R system offered a potential reduction of 4 appointments and over 4 hours of chair time for each case.  This resulted in an increase in net profit of $16 per appointment and over $70 per hour even after factoring in the additional cost of the In-Ovation R brackets.

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A second area of interest concerned how the In-Ovation R system might affect my overall patient caseload.  Using the Practice Case Load section I again created a scenario for my current situation and one representing an In-Ovation R practice. The projections indicated the In-Ovation R system could reduce the total number adjustment visits by over 120 per month.  This could potentially save between 60 and 130 hours of chair time per month.  In addition the fewer number of adjustments could reduce the number of patient treatment days from 13 to 11 if the number of patient visits per day remained constant at 61. If the number of treatment days remained steady at 13 the In-Ovation R system could reduce the number of appointments by 11 per day.  These changes in the practice case load could be used in a number of different ways including more free time, more relaxed patient days, opportunities for additional patient starts, or providing potential expense relief via less need for staff.  Each of these options can be explored fully with the Practice Pulse System.

Based on my clinical experiences, the advice of trusted colleagues, and projections from the Practice Pulse Program I am making cautious yet steady progress in converting my practice to the In-Ovation R system.


After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1982 from the University of Alabama, Dr. Cowan attended the University of Alabama School of Dentistry and earned his D.M.D. degree with honors in 1986. He was awarded a Master of Science degree in Orthodontics from the University of North Carolina in 1992 and opened his practice in Tuscaloosa following his graduation.

Glen Cowan, Jr., D.M.D., M.S.

Dr. Cowan feels it is important to stay on the cutting-edge of orthodontics. Thus he is a member of many prestigious professional organizations. Dr. Cowan is a past president of the Sixth District Dental Society and the Alabama Association of Orthodontists. He is an active member of the American Dental Association, American Association of Orthodontists, Edward H. Angle Society, College of Diplomats of the American Board of Orthodontists, and the Southern Association of Orthodontists. In addition, Dr. Cowan was a part-time clinical instructor for over 10 years in the University of Alabama Orthodontic Department.

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