How does a company creating orthodontic software ensure that its products include the latest technology? It makes a point of opening the door and clearing the way for partnerships with innovative independent vendors.

With the recent launch of the Carestream Dental Partner Program, Carestream Dental has created a formal pathway for outside independent software vendors to submit their solutions for integration with a number of the company’s management platforms, including CS OrthoTrac and CS PracticeWorks.

The program gives third-party vendors a direct way to submit their software modules to be reviewed and approved by Carestream Dental. Modules range from patient engagement and revenue cycle management to data and analytics to clinical functionality, according to the company. But beyond giving vendors a direct submission pathway, the Carestream Dental Partner Program aims to ensure consistency and quality across the company’s third-party software add-ons. Once approved and integrated, Carestream Dental partners receive a seal to display on their websites to acknowledge their partnership with Carestream Dental.

“We have pretty great innovation within Carestream Dental. We’ve got cutting edge solutions, depending on what a practice needs. But [we] also acknowledge that there are several companies out there that are living and breathing in certain areas each and every day and they are looking to integrate with and partner with us,” says Lon Taylor, director of global e-services.

While the company has worked with several high-profile partners for years, ie, CareCredit and Solutionreach, this program gives smaller app developers—the up-and-comers—a pathway to reach a larger organization.

“This program is an acknowledgement that we want to find a way to partner with those cutting-edge solutions that are out there that we think our clients will benefit from,” says Taylor. “We want to integrate their thinking with our thinking to really add strength to the CS OrthoTrac solution.”

That said, this isn’t a come-one-come-all scenario. Carestream Dental is committed to making sure that a given application will work within the context of its various products—whether CS OrthoTrac or CS PracticeWorks, etc—and that it’s secure.

And security is key here. Companies in this space are mindful of protecting user data at a time when technology platforms like Facebook are coming under fire for failing on this front. Facebook has been accused of failing to ensure privacy for user data after it poorly vetted partner applications that were given access to its platform.

“We will do our very best to avoid that happening to our customers,” says Taylor. “We want an orthodontist to know as they’re looking at solutions to work with their practice-management system, that the software [or add-on application] is secure, first and foremost, because they rely on it, and that it is going to work as intended.”

And that’s where the seal comes in. “The seal says, we’ve tested this product, we work with this partner, this is an authorized integration—and you as an orthodontist, as an orthodontic practice, should feel comfortable using this product,” says Taylor. “Look for [that seal]. If you are approached by a [company] and they don’t have that seal, that validation work has not been done. If they do have that seal, you can be assured that we have done a high level of diligence to ensure that it will work within the workflow of the practice.”

Over time, these partnerships also ensure that add-on applications can keep up with the CS software product line as it evolves. Partners are given access to new software releases ahead of time, giving them an opportunity to make sure their application continues to work seamlessly with CS platforms in the practice. OP