Choosing a Practice Management Software Vendor

With the federal government’s incentive program moving right along, dental practices are becoming more involved in seeking electronic health records (EHRs) and practice management (PM) software systems. The race is also on for dental software vendors to reap the benefits of gaining your business. With many more choices evident, how does a new dentist decide and select the one all-important software to start up a dental practice? And how does a seasoned dental provider transition, switch, or upgrade an established practice to the next level?

Selecting the right practice management software for your practice is critical to achieving and maintaining a successful dental practice.

“Deciding which software program your office should adopt is not a decision to be treated lightly. Whatever software you ultimately choose, make sure it fits both your current and future needs, as well as effectively handles your practice’s financials and workflow. Choosing the right software company can be the best decision your practice ever makes” (2006).

It’s important to evaluate your practice’s needs as well as what the potential software vendor can offer. Answering several questions can help in your decision (2006):

1. Does the software provide accurate financials?
2. What is the software’s total cost?
3. Is it a complete system that meets my current and future needs?
4. What kind of reporting capability does the software offer?
5. Does the flow of the software match my practice workflow?
6. Will the software help keep the work schedule full?
7. What type of support, training, and learning tools are available?

Many dental practice management software vendors purport to offer the latest and greatest tool in digital high technology. While this may be so, it may not fit your practice. And since your office depends on effective and efficient technologies, this choice must be made carefully.

Do they offer clinical charting? How is the software fees instituted? How do you handle upgrades? Can it integrate with other technologies such as electronic health records and digital radiography? Is the software customizable? Can I run reports and statistics? Does the software offer pre-purchase demos?

Practice management software vendors offer suites of products designed to help you, your staff and your patients. When answering the above questions, ask vendors additional questions to further evaluate their product and services.

Lessons learned:

• Choosing a PM software vendor may be the most important decision you make for your dental practice.
• Always ask questions and request demonstrations of the suite of products.
• Remember, you are paying the bill. Get what you pay for.
• Make sure the PM software offers the functions and features you need.
• Make sure the office staff is confident and successful with the PM software.

Blaes, J. (2006, Aug). How to choose a software company. Dental Economics, 96(8); 24, 5 pgs. Retrieved from July 31, 2012.