Have you ever heard horror stories of dental software implementations gone bad? Of course you have. The question is, why did they go bad? More often than not, it’s about poor communication between the dental practice owner and the software vendor. Even the most successful dental software implementations can be very complicated procedures with many steps. Inevitably, issues will crop up along the way. The question is what can be done about them.
I’ve been involved in many software implementations over the years, and one thing I know is that when issues come up, they need to be dealt with as soon as possible and not delayed until later in the project. It comes down to the old passive-aggressive thing.
Dental practice stakeholders, during the implementation, may think that the software vendor is not serving their needs. However, on the flip side they sometimes think maybe it’s their fault because maybe they really don’t understand the technology.
So, what usually happens is that the practice just keeps putting off discussing the issue with the vendor until it builds, becomes a crisis, and jeopardizes some aspect of the project,or ultimately the operation of the entire dental practice.
It is much better to bring up an issue, even if you are wrong or at fault, and discuss it with the vendor than to let it linger and ultimately affect the success of a project. My suggestion is to have regular weekly or biweekly status and triage meetings in which in the entire dental team and the dental software vendor representative discuss the status of previous issues and also any new issues that have come up.
Note that this is a two-way street. Many times, vendors are hesitant to bring up issues they have with the practice, as they think it might jeopardize the business relationship. That is faulty thinking, and I would encourage the dental practice owner to let the vendor know that it is okay to bring up issues that originate on the practice’s side.
After all, a successful dental software implementation takes both sides coming to the table.
Michael Uretz is a thirty-year healthcare IT veteran and nationally-recognized Electronic Health Records (EHR) and healthcare software expert.