Confused About All the Practice Management Software Options for Orthodontists and Oral Surgeons?
We Have Some Practical Tips for You!
So you’ve done the obligatory Google search for “practice management software for orthodontists or oral surgeons.”
What did you discover?
You discovered that you don’t want to go through the 6, 470,000 results that Google serves up as search results for your query.
So what do you do next?
You ask around.
Your thinking is, “Surely one of the guys/ladies that have a practice can point me in the right direction.”
So, you make a few phone calls.
From those phone calls, you get a list of possible practice management software options.
But you also get an ear-full about what they don’t like about the software they are currently using.
How do you sort through the possibilities?
We’re not here to sell you on any particular software, but here are some questions and answers that should give you some guidance.
What Does the Practice Management Software Offer for Support?
Like anything that is new, practice management software takes some time for everyone to get used to. While your staff is in that “adjusting to the new software” phase, they’re going to need access to answers and troubleshooting. Check out what the practice management system provider offers for support and be sure to find out if ongoing support is an extra charge, free, or subscription-based.
In regard to support, take a look at:
- Reviews Online
- Training Manuals or Videos Available
- Phone Support, Email Support, or both?
- Who has access to support? – Just the admin or everyone?
Does the Practice Management Software for Orthodontists and Oral Surgeons Have the Functions You Need or Want?
To give the best to your patients requires that you and your staff have the best tools at your disposal. This includes your practice management software. Have one of your staff put together a side-by-side comparison of the features of the top three options and see how the functions stack up vs the price you have to pay to get the options that you would like to have. Another important thing to look at in this process is the track record of the company. Do they have a reputation for being on the cutting-edge of function development? You want to partner with a company that is the first to market with new functions – not one that you have to beg for and wait for newly developed functions.
- Is the software based in the cloud and used through a browser or is it hosted on a local server in your facility?
- Does it have a robust clinical workflow that is intuitive?
- How simple is the scheduling functionality?
- What is the patient communication functionality like? Does the software integrate the way people communicate today? – instant messaging, texting, social media
- Does it have the accounting integrations your accountant needs or the billing features your admin staff require?
Do You Like Using the Software? What is the User Experience Like?
If a software package has a modern, user-friendly interface with intuitive workflows, it’ll be a hit with your staff. If it looks antiquated and has a steep learning curve, you may have trouble getting buy-in from the people that are going to be using the software every day.
- Who is going to use the software?
- How are they going to use the software?
- Is it too big or complex?
- Is it too simple and not have the functions they are used to utilizing?
- Is the workflow dramatically different from your current practice management software? – If so, it may be frustrating for you and your staff.
- How long is it going to take to get used to it?
Will the Practice Management Software Easily Integrate With Clinical and Business Apps Your Orthodontic or Oral Surgery Practice Requires?
This should be pretty simple to check out. Usually, software developers are eager to advertise their software’s ability to work with and sync with the other software solutions they know you need to integrate.
If there isn’t a readily-available list on their website, send an email or give them a call. They’ll be glad to send you a list of proven integrations.
Some of the applications you may need to integrate with your practice management software are:
- Marketing and Social Media Applications
- Digital Imaging Software
- Patient Communications Applications
- Accounting Software
- Banking Integrations
- Vendor and Inventory Applications
What Reporting Options Does the Software Provide?
There are four reasons you care about reports:
- You want analytics to be able to make solid business decisions.
- Your patients like to have a report in their hands that provide transparency into their care and cost of care.
- The government loves paperwork.
- Investors want to know the details.
Of course, every practice management software is going to be able to produce reports. But the question is, are they the reports you want, or just reports for report’s sake? Just because the information is available in the system, doesn’t mean that the data is relevant to you and your stakeholders. Check out the reports that the system can generate “out of the box.” The fewer reports you have to put together by hand the better.
One Last Thought
Most practice management software options leveraged by orthodontic practices and dental surgery offices have free demo versions. Sometimes this is a “lite” version, and sometimes they provide you with the full version for a limited time frame. Either way, taking the software for a spin may be the only way to find out if it has the right function and “feel” for your organization. To get the demo version, you may have to contact the software development company by email. Others freely distribute their demos through a download on their website.
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As a consultant to dental practices, I help my clients maximize what can be done with their technology to maximize production and profit.