2019 Dental Practice Management Software Buyer’s Guide
In addition to providing excellent oral health care to your patients, there is also a great deal of schedule coordination, billing and coding, and other administrative activities that are vital to your practice. In your dental practice, these administrative tasks can become somewhat complex to manage smoothly since you’re typically going to be coordinating details and schedules among various people.
For example, each time you schedule an appointment, you’re coordinating the schedules of a patient, a hygienist, and a dentist. You’re working with an insurance company and a patient for proper billing and payment. And all of this must happen seamlessly and without errors to keep your patients satisfied and returning to your practice for their dental health care.
Selecting or switching to the perfect dental practice management software for your dental practice involves thoughtful research and analysis of the features and system capabilities that will best suit your practice now and scale with you as you expand. You’re busy growing your practice, so we’ve done some of that important work for you by gathering all the important points you need to consider as you’re selecting a Dental Practice Management software.
What is Dental Practice Management Software?
Dental Practice Management Software is a popular technology that more and more dental practices are embracing to streamline administrative work and help their offices function much more efficiently. This software boasts tools, which are specifically designed with dental practices in mind, that give you a more reliable and convenient way to manage all the administrative functions of your office, such as:
• Scheduling appointments (and sending appointment reminders)
• Collecting information and forms from patients
• Updating and storing Electronic Health Records (HER) including patient treatment charts and dental records
• Capturing and storing important dental X-rays and images
• Communicating with patients
• Managing communication and claims with insurance companies
• Creating and managing office staff schedules
Using a Dental Practice Management software solution can help you manage all the important details of your patients and practice, in one easy to use and efficient system, so you can put your focus where it belongs- on patient care.
Advantages of Using Modern Dental Practice Management Software
Dental Practice Management software is swiftly becoming a necessity for dental practices who need to organize and streamline all their administrative processes, and for good reason. This software can help you grow your dental practice through a wide variety of advantages, including:
• Cost Savings and Efficiency: Using a Dental Practice Management software can help your practice reduce expenses by making all of your internal processes much more efficient. Additionally, if you go with a cloud-based dental practice software solution, you’ll be able to manage your costs well with a service plan that fits your budget.
• Dental Practice Growth: With all of your administrative work managed more effectively in a Dental Practice Management software, you can smooth out your processes, avoid scheduling mishaps, and in short, see more patients in your office each day.
• Patient Records: Dental Practice Management software helps you securely store and organize all of your patient records. You can have patients enter their details and insurance information directly into the system on a tablet, or prior to their appointment in the patient portal, which eliminates forms, saves time, and increases privacy for your patients.
• Scheduling and Billing: Coordinating multiple schedules within your practice to make sure each patient is seen in a timely manner can be a complex task when handled manually. However, Dental Practice Management software can relieve your stress and save time by making your scheduling much more efficient and error-free. You can also use this software to communicate with insurance companies and receive payment much more quickly.
• Mobility and Convenience: Dental Practice Management software can help build mobility into your practice and make scheduling much more convenient. Your patients can access you through the patient portal, you out appointment reminders and manage cancellations easily, and your staff can manage and view their work schedules without being at the office.
Key Features of a Dental Practice Management Solution
Dental Practice Management software can help your streamline administrative tasks, get more patients in your chairs, and make scheduling and billing a much smoother experience for you and your patients. An important part of choosing the right solution for your practice is knowing exactly which features you need to support and grow your unique practice. Here are some of the key features that you should make sure are part of your Dental Practice Management software solution:
• Dental Imaging
• Graphical Tooth and Gum Charting
• Scheduling (Patients and Employees)
• Billing and Insurance
• Patient Portal
• Integrated Patient Communications
• Dental Templates
• Secure Image and Document Sharing
Dental Practice Management Software Deployment
Dental Practice Management software vendors typically offer a couple different technologies and deployment methods to best meet the size, budget and needs of your dental practice. While cloud solutions are swiftly gaining popularity, particularly among small and medium practices, larger practices still often choose to go with an on-site solution.
Here’s a closer look at the main Dental Practice Management software deployment options available on the market.
Cloud-Based Dental Practice Management Solutions
Cloud-based technology is becoming increasingly popular across all types of software, and Dental Practice Management is certainly no exception. Cloud technology functions through a third-party platform that is powered by the internet, which supports business mobility and remote system access that a flourishing, busy dental practice needs. Cloud systems are also quite affordable, which gives more practices the opportunity to embrace a Dental Practice Management system much earlier than they would have been able to do in the past.
On-Site Dental Practice Management Solutions
On-premise, or on-site dental management solutions are systems that are built on-site in an office building or other physical location. On-premise CRM solutions require hardware and ongoing updates and maintenance, which makes implementation more expensive than cloud solutions.
Trends in Dental Practice Management Software
Studying both ongoing and emerging trends in the Dental Practice Management software industry is a great way to stay informed and ensure that your practice continues to stay relevant, efficient, and competitive in your space.
Cloud-based Dental Practice management software will continue to grow in popularity. Cloud technology is a trend with seemingly no end in the software space. The cloud makes cutting-edge technology more affordable for even small practices and boasts powerful tools that can be accessed from any smart device.
Windows 7 end of life is swiftly approaching. Many of the on-site solutions that dental practices have in place may be in jeopardy as we reach the end of the Windows 7 lifecycle. Soon, this operating system will no longer be supported, which is driving many dental practices to the cloud for a solution that is easily accessible and brings about less costs and practice interruptions that come with having to upgrade or change out servers and computers to support a newer operating system.
Choosing the Best Dental Practice Management Software for Your Practice
There are various Dental Practice Management software solutions on the market, and while all will have a core group of features that will benefit any practice, you’ll get more benefit out of a system that truly fits your practice and supports your goals for growth.
You can use these tips to guide you as you’re determining which solution will suit your practice best. We’ve also included some sample questions you can ask yourself and your office staff to help you make your decision as well.
Evaluate the efficiency of all the current processes you have in place in your practice. What kinds of tasks are taking up a lot of time? Where do errors or breakdowns occur most frequently? What kinds of things do your staff say would make the office function better?
Think through all the features and automations that could help your practice. Do you need better tools for scheduling? Are insurance claims lengthy and filled with paperwork? If you could speed up or automate anything in your practice, what would it be?
Do your research. Look at several different solutions and compare them against the things you’ve identified matter most to improving your practice. What features are included in each solution? What deployment options does each vendor offer? Does the vendor offer support and training? How long will it take to switch or get your new Dental Practice Management software up and running?
Take advantage of vendor demos. Once you’ve identified 3-5 Dental Practice Management solutions that seem to align the best with your practice, you should set up a demo with each one. Seeing the software in action will help you understand how it functions and give you much keener insight into how well it will work in your practice. You can also use this opportunity to ask questions and learn about each solution in more depth than you can get from the vendor’s website.