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This Inside Look on Dentrix Enterprise explores how the management software can be used to improve large and group practices.
About 20 years ago, the team at Dentrix Dental Systems, later acquired by Henry Schein, went to work creating practice management software designed specifically for large multisite and group dental practices. These larger operations needed a more robust, centralized solution, and because the company had already developed a successful practice management software for solo practices, it just made sense for the Dentrix team to provide it.
They converted the existing Dentrix software architecture to a relational SQL database that made scaling up and centralization possible, and then began adding the types of features larger practices and organizations needed. Once developed, Henry Schein’s Dentrix Enterprise quickly became a solution that multisite group practices, hospitals, correctional facilities, educational institutions, government institutions and community health centers relied on for efficient, centralized practice management.
Dentrix Enterprise continues to evolve, with the latest version of the software-8.0.7-released earlier this year. Here’s a look at the benefits this practice management software provides, its features and the ongoing development process that keeps making this solution even more robust and user friendly.
Benefits for multisite and large group practices
Dentrix Enterprise makes it possible to centralize practice operations in real time across all locations-which is vital for multilocation practices, Multisite Segment Manager Adam McDaniel says.
Rather than logging into different practice management systems or different databases for different locations, everything from patient records to billing to scheduling is standardized and shared in one database, he says. This helps improve efficiencies and the ability to make important business decisions, giving these practices the best opportunity for increased profits and further expansion.
“I’ve spoken with customers that have 20-or-more locations on Dentrix Enterprise and they say they don’t know how they would have gotten to this point or built their organization without a product like this one that runs operations across their entire business,” McDaniel notes. “It also enables them to develop common best practices across all locations and centralized reporting. All the data is in one place. All you need to do is run a report.”
Next page: Benefits for community health centers ...
Benefits for community health centers and other large locations
Dentrix Enterprise also provides a valuable practice management solution for community health centers, hospitals, clinics and other large organizations. Because of the software’s HL7 interface and other technologies, it can easily exchange information with medical software, Product Manager Nate Nelson says, which improves operations and patient care.
“The software tracks meaningful use pieces but it also can communicate with other software systems,” McDaniel says. “So if a hospital has a dental wing plus other medical departments, it can transport information back and forth between medical systems. You don’t typically find a robust system like that in the dental industry.”
Henry Schein, along with other partners, even won a government contract to help modernize the military’s health care system. Its interoperability with medical software was one of the main reasons Dentrix Enterprise was chosen for this project, Nelson says.
A true business platform for dentists
Dentrix Enterprise was built as a business platform and works with other business systems, McDaniel says-which is an important feature for both multisite practices and other organizations. The software can integrate with digital radiography systems as well as various financial software, for example, and is truly an enterprise class system.
“Dentrix Enterprise was built with the dental workflow in mind as opposed to a medical solution that was retrofitted to work with dental,” Nelson notes. “It helps dentists do their jobs.”
The newest features
The most recent release, Dentrix Enterprise 8.0.7, features significant changes to the user interface, Nelson says, which now has an intuitive patient dashboard. The dashboard offers users easy access to complete patient overviews without the need to open multiple windows.
“Instead of having to go through different screens to find patient information such as medical conditions, insurance and treatment plan options, it all exists in one place,” Nelson says. “It’s a dashboard associated with each patient. It’s easy for users to find all the information they need in a single glance.”
The update also includes integrated credit card processing with enterprise class level reporting and reliability as well as insurance enhancements, McDaniel observes. The enhancements made to this version, as well as past and future versions, were based on customer feedback, Nelson says.
“We really do value customer feedback,” McDaniel says. “With software we realize things change quickly and we need to respond to customer feedback. That’s why we try to release small updates a few times a year. This particular upgrade took three to four months to complete.”
Next page: The development process ...
The development process
Dozens of team members continuously work on updating the software, McDaniel says, and define the enhancements based on customer input. The development team draws mock ups of what the new feature might look like, then puts those mockups in front of customers for more insight.
“We refine and improve the feature before the programming begins,” McDaniel says. “It’s more time consuming to make changes to code than it is to make changes to drawings.”
Once the business case is made, the software engineers go to work developing the new features, he notes. They provide demonstrations to the business team every few weeks to refine the product and make sure they’re on track. When the product is ready to release, the marketing and sales teams become more involved and determine how they’re going to promote the update.
Implementing the software
When practices or large organizations are ready to implement Dentrix Enterprise, a dedicated project manager helps plan and track the process, which can take more than a year or just a few months, McDaniel says. It’s all customizable and depends on the size of the group and how quickly they want to be up and running.
“We’re full service,” McDaniel notes. “We’re built to handle software, hardware and technology as well as setting up and integrating the software.”
Every practice is different, and the Dentrix Enterprise team offers the support needed to make the transition as smooth as possible. And once multisite and large organizations implement Dentrix Enterprise, they soon reap the benefits of its many features. Dentrix Enterprise makes it possible to centralize information and standardize operations, helping users become more efficient as they continue to grow.
“We help dentists and organizations understand their goals and needs because it makes a difference when they’re choosing software,” Nelson says. “It’s not just about cost and it’s not just about popularity. Our approach is to understand what they’re trying to accomplish, whether they’re a profitable multisite organization or they’re providing care to underserved communities. We want to make sure they have what they need to succeed and to show them how our software can help them achieve their goals.”