Why You Need a Quarterback for a Successful Dental Software Implementation

Dental software implementations are often managed by teams, particularly in group practices. That’s especially true when  a dental practice does not have a large number of internal resources.  In other words, instead of there being a designated liaison, project manager or “quarterback” who is responsible for working directly with the dental software vendor, a number of dental staff members share this responsibility.

Ultimately, this will not work. There needs to be a dental team member designated as the “point person” for the project.

With a designated project leader, the dental software vendor always knows who to communicate with as issues come up during the project. In turn, any staff members of the dental practice can funnel their questions and issues to this project manager. Also, this person within the dental practice is responsible to assign various tasks during the implementation.

In a smaller dental practice, it may be difficult to designate a project manager full-time to this role. Realistically, the person who is responsible for this needs to still do their day job, or regular tasks.

However, it is important to understand that a software implementation can take a good amount of time away from normal responsibilities. The practice needs to compensate for this by having others on the dental team absorb some of the daily practice functions, so the designated project manager can devote an adequate amount of time to working with the vendor and making the implementation successful. Whether the office is moving towards being a paperless practice, implementing an electronic health record, changing practice management or imaging systems or integrating software for information transfer, the process requires dedicated communication time with the vendor and users.

Larger dental practices or dental groups embarking on implementations should always have a project manager on the practice side who can devote most of their time to working with the dental software vendor and the dental practice team on the implementation project

In a larger implementation setting, there are way too many tasks and stakeholders to attempt implementation without a designated project leader with plenty of time to devote to the project.


Michael Uretz is a thirty-year healthcare IT veteran and nationally-recognized Electronic Health Records (EHR) and healthcare software expert.