New Dentists Often Tasked with Updating Technology

Whether an associate or a new practice owner, new graduates are often tasked with updating technology in an existing practice. For the author of the article summarized here, practice management software is the place to start.

“The practice management software is far and away the most critical decision that a practice owner can make. This is the “glue” that holds everything together, and all the other decisions, like computers and image software, will be tied into the practice management software decision.”

The top four dental systems, according to online forums like Dental Town and IDF, are Dentrix, Eaglesoft, PracticeWorks, and Softdent. Lorne Lavine, a dentist and dental technology consultant, also considers Open Dental to be a cost effective open source alternative.

When evaluating dental systems, look at systems that follow a similar patient process workflow to that currently used in the practice. Test the system, putting it through its paces carefully with attention to details. For instance, create an imaginary patient and track them through functions you consider important, such as scheduling, record creation, treatment plans, insurance forms, and rescheduling.

Know that if you are considering digital radiography, charting, and treatment planning, computers within the operatory are a mandatory precursor, but don’t buy a system that requires a total makeover of current practice behavior. Evaluate what will suit your day-to-day needs.

Lessons Learned:

  • Dentists are often tasked with implementing new technology.
  • If you need to change how the practice processes a patient to fit the system, it may not be the right system.
  • Evaluate systems by making a list of important functions and tracking a patient through record creation, scheduling, treatment plan, insurance claim, and rescheduling.

Lavine, Lorne. (2009, Fall). New Practice, Old Technology: Where to Start? The New Dentist.