How To Choose Dental Practice Management Software For Your Dental Practice
The best dental practice management software for dentists to manage their dental practice. This post will give an overview on how to choose the most suitable dental practice management software for your dental practice?
Dentistry as a profession is always evolving. This evolution has two aspects to it. One is the improvement in the dental science resulting in the ease of dental treatment and
One is the improvement in the dental sciences resulting in the ease of dental treatment and better patient comfort.
Second is the ever evolving business and technological aspect of managing a dental practice. In this second aspect dental practice management software play a major role. So, we are going to look at some of the most used dental practice management software available in the market that you can use in your dental practice.
Running a dental practice is similar to managing an enterprise. It involves many variable factors. What are those factors?
- Patient details & Registration.
- Medical/Dental Records.
- Any past medical emergencies during a dental visit.
- Allergies to certain medicines.
- X-rays & IOPAs.
- Treatment Plan.
- Work completed till the last visit.
- Medicines Administered.
- Dental materials list & expenditure.
- Patient payments list.
- Patient appointment list.
- Patient appointment reminder via SMS/Phone call.
- Any insurance policies that the patient is having.
Once all these aspects of a dental practice were maintained by manual records entered in books, ledgers & sticky pads. It was not only time consuming but there were always chances of the records getting damaged or misplaced. In that era, a computer in a dental practice was regarded as a luxury.
But in the modern day dentistry, all the above-mentioned points and more are maintained by Dental Practice Management Software.
The purpose of this article is to make you aware about the some of the best dental practice management software available in the market. This article will help you to choose a correct dental practice management software. In the course of the article, you will get an idea in relation to the following questions regarding dental practice management software.
What are the various types of dental practice management software?
What are the must-have features in a dental practice management feature?
Is pricing a factor while purchasing a dental practice management software?
Let’s start our analysis!
What are the various types of dental practice management software?
There are various types of dental practice management software that you can use. You need to choose the one that suits you the best in terms of requirements, cost, and maintenance.
1.Native Dental Practice Management Software
Here, You, the dentist hires an IT company or software engineer to get a custom designed dental practice management software. Here you have a complete control over the design and you also own the copyrights to the software. The company takes your inputs while designing the practice management software.
- You have a certain degree of creative control over the software.
- The engineers take into notion your inputs while designing the software.
- You have the authority to make the software representing your dental practice. Also, the copyright and ownership of the software belong to you.
- The custom designed dental practice management software is usually a very costly affair.
- You will require spending a good amount of funds to hire a group of good software developers to design the software for you.
- Though you have a creative control over the design, but a regular need for your inputs can put you under stress.
- You will need to pay a regular maintenance fee to the engineers to maintain the software after completion.
- Many times the developers or engineers with whom you discussed or worked during the software development leave the company, change their city or get busy with other projects.
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For the second type of
dental practice management software
#2. Device Operating System Dependent Pre-Designed Dental Practice Management Softwares
Continuing with from our previous page, now we will see the second type of dental practice management software.
These are the predesigned dental practice management software that is sold by software companies and vendors as a one time purchase. After that, you will need to pay for the regular maintenance and after sales service. These type of dental practice management software are sold based on the operating system of the computers you use in your dental practice. This software come in two versions – for Windows operating system & Macintosh (Mac). You will need to purchase the version that matches the operating system in the computers of your dental practice.
In the majority of the countries (more in Asian & South Asian countries) Microsoft Windows is still one of the most widely used computer OS. In Western countries also Windows OS has an equal market share along with Mac OS.
- Still a widely available used version of dental practice management software.
- You will have many vendors providing this type of dental practice management software. So more options to choose from.
- Price is a big factor. You just need to pay one-time purchase fees and then nominal subsequent maintenance fees.
Need for regular up gradation of computer hardware (resulting in more expenditure for the dentist): One of the major drawbacks is the consistent up gradation in the computer hardware. The computer processors, rams, chips, monitors get upgraded every 6 months or less. Every dentist has a computer with a different configuration. All this gets very tough for the software company to make their dental practice management software compatible with all the different computer configurations.
Challenge to make the software on every computer configuration: The challenge for the software developers is to make sure that their programs will run on all systems and all configurations, even on systems that may be older and outdated.
Also if a particular version of the software (for example the Windows version) does better, then the software company gives more time to the windows format, overlooking the Mac version of the dental practice management software. Not a good news for dentists who own the Mac version.
The need to have regular backups (time-consuming for the dentist): With the increasing number of patients over the years, the storage details keep increasing. So you, the dentist, need to keep upgrading the storage capacity of the computers in your dental practice.
The problem of Data Loss: One day suddenly your computer crashes and with it all your dental practice data of last 10 years GONE! (Unless you have a regular backup stored somewhere). This is one of the major drawbacks of OS dependant dental practice management software.
The problem of being sold outdated service:
This is one the major issues many dentists face in type 2 dental practice management software. Many dentists buy the practice management software from a 3rd party vendor along with the computer. They fall prey to the tall claims of the vendors that as they are providing both the software and hardware, they can provide a better after sales service. But many times the 3rd party vendors just want to clear out their stock of computer/hardware. Once the deal is done, any query for the software they will tell you to refer the official website without providing any help. Simply because they don’t have the dedicated staff to help you manage your dental practice management software. So, be careful of such vendors.
Due to these reasons, the 3rd type of dental practice management software is getting popular.
The Online Cloud-Based Dental Practice Management Software
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#3. Online Cloud-based Dental Practice Management Software
Let’s discuss the third type of dental practice management software that is getting popular.
#3. Cloud Based Online Dental Practice Management Software
We already discussed the problems associated with traditional dental practice management. To deal with the problems, dental practice management software developers have now started adopted serving the software online. This model is also known as Software as a Service (SAAS) or Application Service Provider (ASP).
In this model, the dental practice management software as a service via internet. In this model, the actual software resides on the servers of the software company and they manage it. The end user, you the dentist, will need to enter the patient related or practice-related data which are then uploaded to the servers of the dental practice management software company. These uploaded data, you can access and use anytime.
Less Worry for the Dentist: You do not need to install any software on your office computer. You also do not need to worry about updating and maintaining the software. All the storage, working, updates and maintenance of the dental practice management software are taken care by the software company. So, as an end user, the dentist is free from any worry related to the working of the practice management software.
Minimal Upfront Costs: ASP/SAAS models of dental practice management have low purchasing cost for the dentists. Most of such services also provide one month of free trial and after that, the dentist has to pay a monthly fee or a discounted yearly fees.
Flexibility for the dentist: In Type 1 & Type 2 dental practice management software, the dentist needs to invest money even before using the software for a duration to assess it properly. In the case of not liking the software, there will be contingencies for a refund. But in the case of SAAS/ASP the dentist pays monthly. So, if you do not like the software, then you can discontinue the service. So, as a dentist, you have more flexibility.
Greater Quality of Software: In cloud model of dental practice management software, the goal of the developing company is not just to sell you the software one time. Their goal is to sell you the software (as an online service) and then to retain you as a customer month after month by providing a greater quality of service. So, cloud-based practice management software is usually much better in quality as the company is motivated to keep the dentists happy by providing a better product.
Better After Sales Service: Since this mode of dental practice management software works on the internet, the after sales service are much easier. There is no need of any engineer visiting your clinic. You just need to send a mail query and the issue will be resolved online.
Automatic backup of your practice data: All reputed practice management companies have the system for the automatic backup of all the data as a security measure against any accidental server outrage. So, a dentist will never lose his data as there is always a copy available. If data is just stored in a computer in your practice, then in the case of a crash you will lose all your data, unless you have a backup.
More Accessibility for dentists and patients: Cloud-based dental practice management software lets you create a centralized server containing all the relevant patient records and dental treatments. You can let the patients access their records in case they visit a dentist in a different place. Also for dental practices having multiple branches, dentists will have access to the patient treatment records irrespective of the branch the patient visits.
Multi-Device Compatible: One of the best aspects of cloud-based dental practice management software is Multi Device Compatibility.
Online dental practice management software works via the internet. It will work in desktop computer and also on tabs/mobile phones via apps. They design dedicated apps for mobile phones and tablets.
By using the apps, you can also upload or update patient information/photos directly to your practice management software from your phone or tablet.
This is one of the great advantages of cloud based online dental practice management software.
Powerful Internet Speed Needed: The cloud-based dental practice management software is completely dependent on the strength of your internet speed. So, you need to make sure that you have a fast & steady internet service (Cable or DSL). You will regularly need to upload photos and documents related to patients and dental practice. So, unless you have a good internet connectivity at your place, you cannot use the cloud-based dental practice management software to its full potential.
Your data is on someone else’s server: Many dentists do not like the fact that the patient details/dental practice details are stored on some companies server. They fear about the security & privacy issues. What if the servers of the cloud-based dental practice management company get hacked. (and it does happen ! you will recall even iCloud, apple’s storage server, was hacked). So, it’s advisable to choose a reputed cloud-based dental practice management software, which has a good track record.
Shifting from one cloud-based dental practice management company to another: Suppose you are not happy with the cloud-based dental practice management company you are currently using and want to shift to another. In many cases, it gets difficult as each company stores the data in its native format that may not work on the servers of a new company. So, before purchasing subscription of any cloud-based dental practice management software enquire about the backup and migration facilities. If you miss this point, then you might be stuck with the company even though you want to shift.
So which type of dental practice management software you should choose?
How to make the correct decision that will be good for your dental practice?
See the next concluding page to know the points.
Go Next …
In the previous slides, we discussed the various types of dental practice management software available in the market.
So, now the question comes – how to choose one that will benefit your dental practice?
Choosing a good dental practice management software that suits your dental practice is difficult. With so many options available in the market it does get confusing. DentalOrg.com discussed with more than 1000 dental practitioners (both new and experienced) regarding this and here is the conclusion.
At DentalOrg.com we always advocate being in alignment with the future changes. That is the only way to take your dental practice successfully into future.
So our choice for the dental practice management software will be Cloud Based Dental Practice Management Softwares.
In the last slide, we discussed in detail about the advantages and disadvantages of a cloud-based dental practice management software. (if you missed it see the previous slide).
Though we did mention some disadvantages, but we also feel that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
Biggest Advantage: The biggest advantage of online/cloud-based dental practice management software is that it sets the dentist free.
- The dentist doesn’t need to worry anymore about upgrading his computer processor or ram to accommodate the software.
- The dentist is also free from the calls he has to make to service persons to update or maintain the dental practice management software.
- The dentist is free from the worry of loss of dental practice & patient data due to a sudden hardware crash of the computer.
All the dentist needs to do is to pay the monthly subscription and forget all the worries related to the dental practice management software.
So before you decide on a dental practice management software, you need to take care of the following points:
Carefully check for the necessary features: Do not get overwhelmed seeing so many features in a dental practice management software. Developers many times add too many features into a software, some useful and some not so useful. But as a dentist you should keep a watch on the following features first – patient registration, scheduling, treatment planning, insurance estimation and processing, recall patient management, SMS/Phone/E-mail reminder to the patient, treatment payment record. Then you can assess other features.
If confused, then take suggestions: Before deciding on any dental practice management software take suggestions from your colleagues, practice staffs, and senior practitioners. Read the reviews of the software. Ask for a trials period and in that time take suggestions from practitioners who have been using a dental practice management software.
Check that the practice management software has administrative and financial features: Managing a dental practice is not only managing patients. It also involves managing administration and finance too. So, keep a watch that the dental practice management software also provides you the features to maintain a tab on the monthly dental supplies, finances invested and revenue earned, salaries paid to the staffs & pending finance to distribute.
Do not ever take a dental practice management software that does not provide patient reminder and recall system: The reminders can be in the form of automated messages or emails reminding about the upcoming treatment appointment, payments that are due, birthday wishes & compliments on festivals. Patient reminder system is perhaps the must have feature for any dental practice management software.
Ask about the storage capacity to manage high-quality patient images: In the course of running a dental practice, you will end up accumulating photos & videos of your patients’ treatments (pre-treatment & post treatment). So, before deciding on a dental practice management software, always think about the storage capacity you will require 3 to 4 years down the line. If you choose a type 1 & 2 type dental practice management software then you will need to keep a check of the storage available on your computer. If choosing a cloud-based dental practice management software, then enquire regarding the storage spaces and how much you will need to pay for extra space if required.
Always ask for a free trial period to assess how easy it is to use the dental practice management software? However nice looking it may be but never decide on a dental practice management software by just looking at an attractive appearance or random user reviews. Always ask for a trial period and in that period use the software extensively. Check the ease of using, the display interface & the must-have features we discussed few lines before. All major dental practice management software usually provide a trial period.
Enquire about the after sales service: Before you finalize on a dental practice management software, ask properly regarding the status of the after sales service. Especially in type 1 & 2 type of dental practice management software. You will need on-site servicing. In the case of cloud-based dental practice management software, there must be a robust online support system.
We will soon roll out a detailed analysis of all the top dental practice management software.
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The conclusion on Choosing a perfect dental practice management for your dental practice.
The conclusion on Choosing a perfect dental practice management for your dental practice.
If you have read the article till now, then by now you have an idea on various types of dental practice management software available and what are the points to cover while choosing one.
In the end, it’s all about
“Making the Right Choice”
Dental practice management software has the power to greatly improve your dental practice.
- It makes your workspace easy to manage by reducing the paper works.
- It makes your workspace easy to manage by reducing the paper load.
- It can automate the patient appointment reminders via SMS/E-mail. It reminds both the patient and the doctor (this feature is prominent with cloud-based online dental practice management software)
- It can act as a storage for all your patient documents and information. These can be very useful – from knowing about the treatment history to medico-legal cases.
- It can also help you manage you your practice management finance – keeping you on track to control the finances of dental practice.
With so many types of dental practice management software out there it is indeed very confusing to make the correct choice.
Here at dentalorg, we are trying to help you with the information that will assist you in making the correct choice in relation to dental practice management software.