Customize your Dental Office with Open Source

If you have worked in a paperless office for any length of time, you are aware that proprietary software can be constrained by an inability to mold interfaces and features to fit the needs of the practice. For dental practices frustrated by an inability to customize their office systems, open source may be the best option.

As Dr. Marvin, a California dentist and self-described techie with over 11 years of experience with paperless systems, explains:

“When something is open-source that means it is open for developers to make it better. I really like open source because the software itself is not proprietary. You are not so dependent on manufacturers . . .“

Dr. Marvin has worked with several of the top dental proprietary systems, but he chose Open Dental for its sustainability, affordability, and ability to expand and incorporate other software.

Open Dental has been in existence since 2003 and continues to commit to growth as a community. The software offers regular monthly updates, active user forums, and EHR certification. While there is no initial cost, there is a monthly support fee ($149 at the time of publishing) for upgrades which the author recommends as a worthwhile return on investment.

Probably the greatest draw for open source software is the ability to integrate with other innovative software. While Dr. Marvin utilizes Open Dental for charting, accounting, and treatment planning, he has incorporated  MyPatientScheduler for online scheduling of existing patients and confirmations via phone, email and text message.

Unlike proprietary software, Open Dental has a free full demo of their software available for prospective users on their website.

Lessons Learned:

  • Open source dental office systems can be customized to integrate other software or to change the look of the interface.
  • Open source software is affordable.
  • Open source software offers a community of user developers dedicated to improving the product.

Marvin Pantangco, Irineo [Dr. Marvin](2012, January 12) Open Dental Software Review for Dentists. BigDiastema.com.

Summers, Matt (2011, June 28). Open Dental Demo Database.