Managing a dental practice is filled with important tasks. While dental school has prepared you for the clinical side of things, there are many other responsibilities associated with running your own office, from overseeing schedules and appointments to managing marketing spend. Installing a secure billing system, ensuring you have the right insurance coverage, training your staff members – all of these and more are now part of your responsibilities.
These many tasks can fill up the hours in your day, taking your time and attention away from providing the best possible care for your patients. That’s why it’s important to select the right practice management system that will help you manage your practice in an optimised and efficient way.
What Does a Dental Practice Management System Do?
Implementing specialised health practice management software designed with dental usage in mind is a must for healthcare providers. This is a one-step way to make your life easier, while helping you maintain high standards of organisation, care and customer service.
Of course, not every product on the market is equal in its feature set, capabilities and ease of use. By thinking your choice through carefully, you can select a solution that combines every aspect of practice management. The simplicity and effectiveness that come with having one central solution for all these roles can help you and your employees reach peak efficiency in your day-to-day activities.
What Should You Look for in Dental Practice Management Software?
Comparing and contrasting practice management software can be a long and tricky process if you begin without a plan. Therefore, it pays to focus on a few key traits of each solution. The following are six areas to inspect, each helping you select a tool that will empower your team for years to come.
1. Feature Set and Functionality
This is the crux of why you are purchasing a dental practice management solution in the first place. You need a software tool that combines functionality from multiple areas of your business while not skimping on quality in any of those areas.
Your chosen solution may offer some features by default while allowing you to add extra functionality through additional modules. The ideal selection for your practice will cover all your technology needs, meaning you won’t have to install multiple platforms. These features may include:
- Appointment scheduling and reminders: If all staff members have access to a real-time calendar tracking all appointments, planning each day becomes significantly easier.
- Online appointment scheduling: A portal for making or changing online bookings is a key part of a user-friendly customer experience.
- SMS and email messaging: When staff can efficiently send messages and reminders to patients, that reduces the changes of people missing appointments or canceling at the last minute.
- Document management: The ability to find patient records, clinical notes and internal documents is a valuable time-saver that can increase the accuracy of treatment. You can scan paper files or work with entirely digital content.
- Electronic claims: Managing insurance claims digitally enables you to expedite that process.
- Data analysis and reporting: Generating reports from practice data is a great way to create strategies for more efficient, profitable operations.
- Cloud connectivity: Practice management software hosted in the cloud grants personnel access from wherever they are, even across multiple offices.
By comparing such features to your practice’s needs, you can select the ideal software tool for your purposes.
2. Ease of Use
When practice management software is hard to use, it can be difficult for a Practice Manager to convince employees to use it on a day-to-day basis, and the efficiency gains can be limited. This is why you should seek an intuitive option that combines a comprehensive feature set with a welcoming user interface.
When demonstrating different software options in the run-up to an implementation, you should strive to get all the stakeholders in the office take part. This will help them get used to the new tool’s functionality and weigh in on which solutions are truly easy to use.
According to the Levin Group, dental practices should strive for an overhead of 59% or less . Saving on software – and building practice efficiency through its use – can help you control costs. When pondering the cost of a dental practice management software option, you should measure the price tag against the solution’s functionality. Security features, cloud connectivity, frequent updates and other important traits may come with additional cost.
Getting the best possible value for your budget means selecting the product that best matches your practice’s needs – this might not be the most costly option on the market. With that said, it is better to make a significant investment in a fully featured tool that will drive ROI than to miss out on key functionality.
4. Training and Support
With all the specialised work you and your staff contribute day to day, it’s unfair to also require you to be IT experts. Ideal dental practice management software will therefore come with continued support and training from the developer.
You should make sure your chosen software provider is easily accessible by phone or online when a problem arises. The system will be the backbone of your practice, so help when you need it is essential.
5. Security and Compliance
As a medical practice, you have to manage patient files that contain medical histories and personal information. Your chosen practice management solution must therefore meet the Australian Dental Association’s standards for data security. Dentistry IQ warns that a business that is breached can lose 12% of annual revenue dealing with the fallout.
One key security feature today is the ability to connect securely with other devices. These may be printers, scanners, servers, mobile devices, clinical hardware, PCs or any other tech tool deployed in the office.
6. Recommendations and Trust from Peers
Dental practices around the country and the world are dealing with the same requirements and pressures. This means you can use word-of-mouth recommendations from fellow practice owners to select a solution that fits your needs.
Asking about what peers use in their own practices is a way to see what works in real-world conditions, as is reading verified user reviews.
Ready to Choose a Practice Management Software Solution?
By knowing what you’re looking for and comparing all your options, you can select the right practice management solution. If you need more help making a final decision get in touch with Centaur Software today – we have several great options we can share with you.