Whether you are a dentist with a well-established practice or one that is just starting a career in private practice, using an electronic health record (EHR) will go with the territory. Questions will arise regarding vendor selection, cost, implementation, ease-of-use, transition, and staff adaptability just to name a few. These and all of your other questions are vital to making sure all issues and concerns will be considered.
There is one component that every practice should carefully evaluate and select. This is practice management (PM) software “that will run your office and keep your records” (2010). Every office will need some form of practice management software once other infrastructure issues have been selected such as workstations and server. It will be necessary to evaluate vendors for product applications that will work for you, your office and your staff as it may be with you for years to come.
“Using practice-management software allows the schedule to serve as a jumping-off point to access other necessary patient information and free up the staff to do what they do best-serve and treat patients” (2011).
Your practice management software will be the one most powerful tool in your technology bucket so it is essential that it is intuitive to support your workflow and team. And be sure to select one that will integrate smoothly and seamlessly with your EHR, if separate vendors are involved.
Understanding the features of your practice management system will become easier the more you use it.
- Scheduling software: paper schedules are inefficient, and can lead to communication problems. This allows any staff member to schedule appointments, track call-backs and reminders, and monitor wait times.
- Use PM to track and document treatment plans.
- Use PM to track referrals.
- Use PM to track, document, and review production goals for all staff.
- Let the PM software vendor educate and train to gain full knowledge of software capabilities.
Emmott, L. (2010, Nov.). High tech and indoor plumbing. Dental Economics, 100, (11); DG6.