Meeting the Software Needs of Dental Specialty Practices

Specialty dental practices, like periodontists, endodontists, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons (OMSs), track and rank their referring general dentists, in addition to enabling health information exchange. As this article from Sidekick points out:

“A dental specialist’s needs, however, cannot be met with typical practice-management software created for general dentists. Specialists need a solution created with their specialty’s specific needs in mind.

“The general dentist’s customer is the patient; the specialist’s customer is the general dentist.”

These specialty practices also perform exams and procedures that may require electronic medical record software with features above and beyond those used in general dentistry.

For instance, periodontal offices need hands-free data entry for quick and hygienic charting. Endodontists require the ability to store canal depths, photos, and radiographs by their specific tooth. Oral surgeons need a system that combines the medical and dental data storage guidelines laid down by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMAS). While top vendors such as Henry Schein design systems for general dentists (i.e., Dentrix and Easy Dental), that software is not intended to meet the same needs as the software Henry Schein designs for specialists (i.e., PerioVision, EndoVision, and OMSVision).

Overall, dental specialty practices need to create a list of their own software needs. To evaluate software, the list of criteria needs to fit actual everyday usage.

Lessons Learned:

  • Specialists need practice management systems that track referrals and enable communication and information exchange with referral practices.
  • Specialty dental practices require specific software features particular to exams and procedures they perform.
  • The same dental software vendor may manufacture different systems for general practitioners, periodontists, endodontists, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

Anonymous (2011) Choosing the right software for your practice. Sidekick.