Choosing Dental Imaging Software for your Practice

Selecting digital imaging software has many considerations, ranging from price to integration with existing systems. What key variables do you need to consider to evaluate and select the right X-ray software for your practice? Dr. Lavine has some tips, summarized here.

Less than 50% of practices are using digital X-ray software right now. That’s staggering, considering the cost savings and benefits that digital imaging has been shown to bring. However, the very process of selection, installation and upgrades can seem daunting. Dr. Lavine focuses on three key features for dentists to consider:

(1) Image Quality. Other than resolution, several other factors affect the clinical usability of digital X-rays. The X-ray heads, the USB cables and the software itself all affect image quality. Comparing images from several systems, preferably on your existing equipment, can provide a much clearer sense of capabilities.
(2) Hidden Costs. This is something buyers need to consider carefully during the contract process. Is technical support included? Will upgrades always be free? Is there a subscription cost necessary, and if so, how long is it guaranteed for? What is covered if something is damaged? How long is life of the hardware pieces? Is the support easy to access, or will it cost you time?
(3) Infrastructure. Like when selecting an EHR, your existing infrastructure changes your options and costs. A color printer, extra backup storage and other factors can affect the usability and safety of your digital data.

Digital radiography has a lot to offer, but making the right selection by considering the right information is the first step to being satisfied with your system and providing quality care.

Lessons Learned:

  • Selecting digital imaging systems requires researching several aspects of comparison, contracts and hardware.
  • Many factors affect the quality of digital images, so viewing results on your own hardware can provide better evaluation criteria.
  • Careful examination of contracts and considering costs like part replacement, access to technical support and the software upgrade cycle can make a big difference for usability.

Lavine, Lorne (2012) “Three Things you need to know before purchasing a digital X-Ray system.” Dentistry IQ, May 28th.