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Ten things to keep in mind before you make any big changes.
So you're thinking about purchasing practice management software... but do you know the top things to take into consideration before you take the plunge? Here are the top 10 things to keep in mind before you invest.
1. The purchaser is usually not the one using the software
Who is the person with the checkbook? The doctor. Who will have their hands in the software, using it every minute of the day? The front office team, the dental hygienists and the dental assistants. The doctor went to dental school to cut hard and soft tissue, and that is their primary role in the practice.
2. The entire team should be involved in the demo
The team will be using the software, so everyone should be included in the demo. The systems you perform every day should be the most important points to talk to with the sales rep.
3. Don’t buy bells and whistles, buy nuts and bolts
The sales rep will want to show you all the cool things the software will do, and has probably rehearsed the sales pitch repeatedly to make sure they don’t skip over that one feature that everyone is raving about. Come prepared with a list of the most important tasks your team does on a daily basis so you can see how the software handles those core systems-and then move on to all the bells and whistles.
4. Make sure it’s compatible with your imaging software
Your team could spend hours of unproductive time working with imaging software and practice management software that don’t talk to each other. If cost is the only thing standing in your way between imaging software that doesn’t integrate with your practice management software and the one that does, pay the money and go with seamless integration. Your team will love you and will spend less time managing images for claims and your referring doctors, so they can spend productive time working on keeping your schedule full.
5. The software will not fix garbage
In some instances, dental practices change software because they feel the new system will fix everything. However, if you have account ledgers that are a mess now, you will have account ledgers that are a mess in the new software. Humans cause messes, not software.
6. Be involved with the conversion
The most important thing is that you understand what patient data will come over and what it is going to look like. Ask how your patient’s account history will look, how the prior data will be recorded on the new reports and if any of the clinical data will be transferred. Having as much information as possible will help your team know what to expect. Knowledge and communication with the conversion team is critical to a successful transition.
7. Just because your office manager used it in another office does not make them proficient
It also does not make them an authority to make decisions on converting to new software. Remember purchasing new software or converting your software should be a team effort, not one person’s decision.
8. Know your state laws on documentation rules
Some states require electronic prescriptions, some require signatures on the health history and some states have completely mandated digital records. Find out what requirements you need to follow in your state and make sure the new software you are looking at can accommodate all the requirements.
9. You don’t get a 30-day free trial with practice management software
Nowadays you can get a free trial with almost anything so you can test the waters before you buy it, but with practice management software you can’t just turn it on and off. The only way you could do a trial would be to run two software programs side-by-side. This would cause double entry, and an enormous amount of work for your team.
10. You might just need training on your current system
Oftentimes an office is switching software because they believe their current software will not do what they want it to do. Most of the time this can be solved with training. Invest the time and money into training your team to optimize your software, learn the functionality you are not using and discover new things you are not using. This investment will be well worth it.