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How to Select a Dental Software for Your Practice

September 20, 2016
by Feda Bashbishi


Purchasing a new practice management software for a dental office is not a trivial task. There are a lot of different choices and packages offered by software vendors that confuse the buyer rather than help her/him. Each package has its own strengths and weaknesses. But what are the fundamental elements a dentist should look for in a practice management software?

iKlyk conducted hundreds of interviews with dentists, office managers, front-desk, associates, consultants, and dental assistants to find out the top four items a dentist must consider before making this purchase – integration, scalability, security, and cost.

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Integration
A good dental software should integrate multiple features or applications your practice needs. According to a 2014 report by Software Advice, 93% of dental software users pick improve integration as the top reason why they replace their software. The most must have functions are patient scheduling, billing, and EHR. Some top-requested features/applications that are less common in dental software include digital sensor/imaging.

If you purchase a dental software that does not have a built-in email reminder, for example, you will probably end up having to purchase a separate add-on. This does not just mean extra costs, but also a possibility that the add-on will not function properly due to incompatibility with your existing software.

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Scalability
When your business grows, you may hire more staff members that will access the dental software. As required by PIPEDA, they need unique login IDs. Many dental software vendors charge based on number of users in the office: the more staff required to access the software, the higher the fee.

Multi-office management can be a challenge for some dental software especially desktop-based ones. If data is stored in one local server, you cannot easily duplicate the data to your new office; you or your office manager will have to manually put together statistics of different offices to compare performance; scheduling conflicts may also occur as appointment data is not updated across all locations.

If you are planning to use a cloud-based software, check with the vendor about how much storage you have. As the number of patients increase, you need more space for the data.

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Security
Patient data breach is a major liability. Your dental software should have built-in functions such as audit trail and auto shut off as required. Our previous article titled: Top 3 Reasons for Choosing the Cloud-Based Dental Software also explains security issues of dental software. Your data security should be the number one priority of your software vendor. If you are purchasing a desktop practice management software, your software vendor should provide you the tools you need to protect your system by the highest level of encryption and data protection. If you are purchasing a cloud-based practice management software, ensure that your communication with the cloud is encrypted through an SSL certificate.

Industry-leading data system security: Your software should provide a world-class data storage and encryption capability, data back-ups, redundant power supplies and continuous surveillance systems. All your data transfers between offices or devices should have the highest level of SSL/TLS encryption against malicious parties.
Account security: Access to your account should be defined by strict user access levels so information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. All account activities should be stored in a secure system for auditing purposes.

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Cost/ROI
Cost and Return on Investment (ROI) should definitely be a major concern. When buying a new desktop dental software, your spending does not stop there. Pay attention to costs like implementation fee, hardware prerequisite, IT Services, maintenance, and training. When purchasing a cloud-based dental software, ask your vendor about data storage and service uptime.

Many dentists need to take out loans to open their first office, so the payment schedule can also matter. Most software vendors require an upfront payment for licensing and training, and then charge you a monthly fee afterwards. A high upfront fee puts more pressure on you even before you start to generate revenue; pay close attention to all of those hidden costs. They add up.

There is a new trend in the dental industry. Surveys indicate that more dentists are considering cloud-based software as the software of choice for their practice(s). A cloud-based practice management software is typically more secure, easier to set up and operate, and more affordable.

References:
1. Dental Software Buyer View | 2014 by Dr. Paul Feuerstein, DMD Dental Technology http://www.softwareadvice.com/dental/buyerview/report-2014/
2. Legal information related to PIPEDA https://www.priv.gc.ca/leg_c/r_o_p_e.asp
3. Top Three Reasons for Choosing the Cloud-based Dental Software http://iklyk.com/top-3-reasons-for-choosing-the-cloud-based-dental-software/


Feda Bashbishi is the CEO and co-founder of iKlyk Inc., a Canadian Cloud-based dental software provider dedicated to raising the bar of quality in dental practice management software, patient privacy, and data security. Feda Bashbishi holds an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University as well as a Master of Science in Software Development from San Jose State University in California. Prior to establishing iKlyk, for years, Feda has worked on enterprise level cloud-based applications. You can connect with Feda through https://goo.gl/ZLJiRV or email at fedab@iklyk.com.


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