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    Is it time to switch software vendors?

    Taking the time to explore your software options could mean big benefits for your group or practice.


    Are you being held hostage?

    I can’t tell you how many times I've had groups or practices come to me wanting to look at new software but were fearful that they couldn't change because their vendor had convinced them that it would be too difficult or dangerous to move their administrative, financial and patient information over to the new vendor. To me this is tantamount to being held hostage by your vendor. In a perfect world, you would have negotiated a "transition clause” in your original software agreement that allows you to get your data electronically from your vendor. However, having negotiated medical and dental software contracts for over 15 years now I can tell you that most groups and practices don't think to have this written into their contracts.

    But, even if you don't have one of these transition clauses in your original agreement don't let your vendor bully you into thinking that you need to stay with their software forever just because there is a perception that you cannot move the data from one system to another. Vendors realize that customers do change software systems and from a customer service standpoint should work with you to help you through this transition. It is reasonable to pay them for their time and assistance. However If you determine that the present system is not adequate for your long-term needs and you want to move on then you should do so.

    More from Mike Uretz: How EHRs are changing oral systemic health

    Do I have the time?

    Another reason some groups and practices choose to not look past what they presently have is because of the time it takes to evaluate and select new software. I have seen it time and time again. Change can be stressful. But if we didn't invest the time and energy into changes which our practices and groups needed then where would this industry be? And there are proven processes that have been used for years to help groups and practices evaluate and select software with minimal effort and in a timely fashion. There is also a new generation of online tools that can provide information to help you evaluate your options.

    Opportunity for a better contract

    There is a good chance that the original contract you signed with your dental software vendor is one sided and gives the upper hand to the vendor. Even if you had an attorney help you with this there is a chance the contract is inadequate if your attorney did not have software contract experience. So, this is your chance to get better contract terms. Whether you are looking at a new vendor or getting updated software from your present vendor the opportunity is there to finally get contract terms which are in your favor and that level the playing field with your vendor. I have negotiated numerous contracts in this same situation with good results and I encourage you to be proactive.

    As mentioned earlier it is possible that your present software vendor could be offering you the next generation of advanced software. But, considering the growing importance of software in the future of both your practice management and clinical operations along with quickly advancing technology don't you owe it to yourself to take your head out of the sand and at least compare what's available on the market?

    Mike Uretz
    Mike Uretz is a nationally-recognized Dental software and Electronic Health Records (EHR) expert. Mike has helped hundreds of individual ...


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