States use ADA technology for renewals
January 05, 2015
Aptify, the new software that is replacing outdated membership record systems, has come a long way in 2014.
Seventeen state dental societies have implemented the tool, which the Association has been rolling out nationwide in an effort to increase member service on the front end and to allow for more integrated and efficient member records management on the back end.
That's a boiled-down description of a complex system that has a multitude of enterprise possibilities. One of the key components of Aptify is handling of membership renewals, and this past fall, 16 states have learned how to implement a new way of doing things.
"The process for Mississippi went very well," said Connie Lane, the executive director of the Mississippi Dental Association, "which is really incredible for a first-time implementation. I credit my staff and the ADA Aptify team for working hard to get the 'data foundation' keyed in correctly. By making it a priority on the task list, our results were successful."
For Washington State Dental Association, the process was more of a challenge because they transitioned from an existing system to Aptify.
"We have some complex processes, such as a mandatory PAC (political action committee) donation and 12-month payment plans," said Bracken Killpack, who on Jan. 2 became WSDA executive director. "But the ADA is working with us to build a system that accommodates this complexity."
He sees an advantage for any ADA member. "If a member logs on to his or her component site, and then goes to the ADA page, that individual is already logged in. It will be a seamless experience, simplifying the number of sign-ons and passwords you have to use. You can change your address in one place for component, state and national organizations. This is a connectivity we don't have now."
Mr. Killpack also looks forward to other software development through Aptify, such as a WSDA custom application for mobile devices that would allow members to log in and have access to their continuing education calendars, job listings, CE credits and more.
"A lot of that information is in the database now, but members don't have a portal that allows them online access now, " Mr. Killpack explained.
Drew Eason, Florida Dental Association executive director, said the process worked well for them. "The FDA team and the ADA team worked hard in advance to make sure we had everything set up correctly and when we ran the renewals, it went without a glitch."
Mr. Eason said they knew there would be challenges. "I'm not saying we didn't have frustrating days, it's just that we expected them so we got through them without too much panic. The ADA team stayed calm and was accessible whenever needed."
Carmelo Cinqueonce, Minnesota Dental Association executive director, said the administrative side of the change was challenging, but that it was seamless for members. "We have a slightly different process that we were used to with the Tripartite System (the former ADA software program). But these challenges are a one-time event. Next year when we do this, the statements will already be in place."
Dr. Terry Dickinson, Virginia Dental Association executive director, says it's "huge" that members can pay dues online with the Aptify system. "It should save staff a lot of the busy work involved with collecting, processing and posting of dues. The installment sign-up option is wonderful and should streamline the signing up process for members opting in for the payment plan," he said.
Whether their societies faced a simple transition or a more complex one, the state executives agreed that the endgame would bring benefits to members across the country.
"Aptify will allow all the components within the ADA to see and share critical information about our members, which until recently was siloed within our individual databases, said Dr. Alec Parker, executive director of the North Carolina Dental Association. "The connectivity it provides to societies across the country will help us easily track where our members are and what they're doing, and it opens the lines of communication among all of us. Aptify is an important component of the Power of 3. Its potential to bring us all together in service to our members is exciting. We're thrilled to be part of the ADA Aptify community.
Jim Williamson, New Hampshire Dental Society executive director, agrees that it builds community. "I think that the dues payment online system makes it more evident that members are part of the ADA and the state. Just our working together makes our staff know that we are one team."
Minnesota's Mr. Cinqueonce is enthusiastic about the future with Aptify. "The case management aspect has been just great. We use it internally, and our staff is up to speed on making sure interactions with members are recorded. This helps us better respond to member inquiries to make sure their needs are being met."
Membership reports in Aptify are available at the same time to the state and local dental societies as well as the ADA. "The advantage of paying through Aptify," said Florida's Mr. Eason, "is that all three levels will know that the member has paid — guaranteeing there won't be a break in service."
Mississippi's Ms. Lane said Aptify allows the association to better serve members. "If these economic times we are living in have taught us anything, it should be the importance of doing more with less. At present, within the tripartite, we all understand that if our members do not experience the value of membership through our service delivery capabilities, then we all lose in the end. Being able to join forces with the ADA in this process and provide more for our dentists is what it is all about. The synergy in doing so is great."
Mr. Eason says one measure of the success of Aptify will be its anonymity. "The Aptify system will be considered a success when we are no longer talking about it — when data sharing across the country is instant and members experience an even higher level of service as a result. This behind-the-scenes work should be invisible to members. Excellent service is the only thing I want them to see."
The 17 states/components that have implemented Aptify in 2014 are Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Washington, D.C. Twenty-five more are scheduled for 2015, with a total of 49 of the 53 state/components and their staffed local societies scheduled to be on Aptify by June 2016.
More information about Aptify is available from Peter Bradley (firstname.lastname@example.org), director, Aptify Enterprise Solutions. Aptify is one of the components of information technology infrastructure improvements that the 2010 ADA House of Delegates authorized through a $23 special assessment.