Trude Henderson, MA
The medical industry has seen some of the greatest advancements in technology over the last decade. This being said, the medical industry, specifically the dental industry has been plagued by a lack of technological updates to their administrative and operational tools and methods. For years, operational and administrative staffs in these practices have been “stuck” using outdated tools and methodologies for everything from patient scheduling to lost revenue prevention. After years serving as a consultant to dental and orthodontic practices and trained in HRO (High Reliability Organization) practices our founder, Trude Henderson, realized that although her business as a consultant to these businesses was thriving, the need to solve this problem was on a larger scale.
Trude Henderson introduced High-Reliability Organizational (HRO) concepts to the dental industry and is the founder of healthcare tech startup ToothFairy. Her company offers an innovative software solution designed to modernize dental practices to maximize patient and employee engagement, boosting the bottom line. Confirmed by a 3-year pilot study of orthodontic practices in the Western US, ToothFairy process implementation drastically alters the status quo in America’s fastest growing industry.
No stranger to new technologies, Henderson, as a young radiologic technologist, was one of the first to operate the then new MRI machine in Amarillo, Texas. Soon she changed careers, transitioning from the medical industry to nuclear aerospace, and in time developed the first formal qualification program for the Non-Destruction Evaluation Team at Pantex, our nation’s only nuclear weapons manufacturing plant. Her training program covered the handling, radiography and radiographic film interpretation, for example, of assemblies from post-WWII era components to the most modern warheads. It was in this challenging and high-consequence environment that she discovered her passion for operational excellence and coaching, and ultimately for building high-performance teams.
In 2013, after a one-of-a-kind 26-year career in the “high-reliability” organizational cultures of the healthcare and nuclear aerospace sectors, Trude relocated to the California Bay Area with her husband for his new job. Within a few short months, she came in contact with an orthodontist from San Francisco who had sustained substantial losses since the 2008 recession and was in search of a competitive edge – something which could take his practice to the next level. Henderson saw the opportunity to apply what she had learned to the orthodontics industry, and immediately went to work. The result was an evolution of integrated processes and tools that helped her clients achieve record-setting growth, earning sales and service excellence awards. ToothFairy is the culmination of years of applying HRO principles to hands-on practice management and continually refining the process through feedback, analysis and organizational learning.
Trude praises doctors for their readiness to step outside of their comfort zones and embrace innovation. She also credits her mentors and influencers in the nuclear aerospace sector that shaped her understanding and use of high-reliability concepts and methods.
ToothFairy’s strategy is to partner with dental organizations in order to help them substantially improve their customer experience to build and maintain competitive advantage. Trude is convinced that an enterprise plus startup partnership is most conducive to building a more robust ecosystem; one that is equipped to enable dental organizations to fully reap the benefits of the latest digital information technology. In addition, she believes that it will help them gain early access to emerging technologies for which they otherwise would not have access to or lack the knowledge to build. Practice leaders, she maintains, often have limited knowledge about solving business challenges or leading people because dental school curriculums are overwhelmingly focused on the technical aspects of the work. Practice leaders need proactive tools designed to help them engage people, to prevent problems, and when problems do emerge, to solve them in an expeditious and effective manner. ToothFairy is also dedicated to reducing the burdens involved in managing the daily tasks performed in a dental office, as well as to addressing the kinds of errors most likely to cause a poor customer experience.
Trude holds an undergraduate degree in Radiologic Technology and Management, and an MA in Organizational Leadership from Bellevue University in Nebraska. She and Brent enjoy traveling and spending time with their 5 children, 5 grandchildren and 2 fur-babies.
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