You’ve put countless hours into building a successful dental practice. When it’s time to upgrade to the right dental practice management software, the options can seem overwhelming.
Don’t be intimidated by the dozens of options, however. By asking the right questions and understanding your needs, you’ll find a solution that fits your practice like a glove.
The first thing to consider when comparing dental practice management software is what factors are most important to your business operations. There are probably several reasons why you are considering a software change. What are those reasons and how can they be addressed?
Here are five crucial elements you’ll want to consider when choosing the software to push your practice forward.
Finding Dental Practice Management Software That Fits Current and Future Needs
When looking at a new software solution, consider your office’s current and future needs. If the solution you choose limits you from future growth, it’s probably not the right solution.
Installing a new platform is a large undertaking. If you need to change it again within a few years you’ll cost your practice time and money. You want a software solution that allows the functionality to provide care to your patients for many years.
Here are some considerations to reflect on when looking for your new solution:
- Are you making your practice paperless, including all electronic charts?
- Will all of your images be electronic?
- What third party products will the new software need to integrate with now and in the future?
- What is your plan for billing insurance companies? Will it be automated and processed electronically?
- Will you need to convert any current paper files into electronic files once the software is integrated?
- What daily, weekly and monthly reports do you need to store in the new dental practice management software?
It’s important to think about all of these things prior to committing to a new solution. Then ask each developer how their system addresses these issues.
When considering the most important features to your practice, it’s a good idea to assign a point value for each. This will help you make the best long-term decision.
Remember that the requirements of your practice will evolve over the years. You need management software that evolves with you.
What Support, Tools and Training Does the Software Company Provide?
Some dental practice management software applications are very advanced. Will your most inexperienced staffer be able to use it effectively? If not, it might be wise to scale back a bit on the technology.
Spend some time determining what features are absolute musts for your practice, and which ones you can go without. Sometimes having too many features can get in the way of day-to-day functionality and practicality of the software.
It’s also important that your team has the needed training tools to quickly transition operations to the new software. This goes beyond initial training, however. Questions are sure to arise weeks, months and years down the line.
You want a provider who supports you for as long as you use the software. Does the software developer provide ongoing training when updates are made or when you hire new employees? If not, you might be looking in the wrong place.
Here are some other factors to consider as it relates to support and training:
- Does the provider give assistance at every level of implementation and use? Or is there a cut-off point when you’re on your own?
- What different training methods are available? Can you get to them via multiple methods like online chat, conference calls and in person?
- What types of instant online resources can you access that will help answer questions from you and your staff?
When you talk to various solution providers, ask a lot of specific questions. If they fail at answering these questions, you’ll probably want to move on — even if, on paper, the dental practice management software seems to fit all your needs.
Also seek out reviews of the software. Call other practices that are using it and get their feedback. A few phone calls to other customers will give you more information than a three-hour chat with the software rep.
Does the Software Encryption Comply With HIPAA?
Data encryption is important in any business. It’s even more important in the healthcare field.
Failing to comply with HIPAA encryption standards can cost you a fine of up to $1.5 million. Ouch. Choose a software that over-delivers on encryption so you won’t need to worry about security breaches.
Let your customers know that their information is secure. Happy customers refer other customers.
Free is Not Better
Many dental practice management software applications advertise themselves as being free. Free sounds good, doesn’t it? Unfortunately what you’ll normally find out is that free also means very limited.
Sure you may be able to perform basic functions that are an improvement from the pen and paper days. But the limitations of free software can be very frustrating.
Many of the free applications limit how many patients you can manage within the software. Once you go over that limit, you’ll need to start paying a fee — sometimes back-dated to the time you started using the software.
In addition, you’ll find that the entire goal of companies offering dental practice management software for free is to upgrade you to paid status every chance they get.
Be ready for hourly pop-ups and offers that try to convert you into a paid customer. This will get under the skin of your staff very quickly.
To Cloud or Not to Cloud
In the past, dental practice management software access was limited to the office. Times have changed. With cloud systems, you can access information from anywhere you have internet access and a computer or smart device.
Here are some major advantages to a cloud-based system:
- Check in on patient information and scheduling anywhere, at any time.Stay on the same system while you move to different office locations.
- Stay on the same system while you move to different office locations.Access information on your iPad, keeping you mobile within the office.
- Access information on your iPad, keeping you mobile within the office.
Choosing the right dental practice management software is no small decision. The wrong software can bog down your operations and leave your staff frustrated. The right solution can make all the processing work a breeze.
As your practice grows, so should your software solution. By considering these factors, you’re sure to end up with the solution that best fits your needs.
Get in touch with us now and we can answer any questions you have.