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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Software for Your Dental Practice

Receptionist in purple scrubs using dental practice software.

Why Your Practice Needs Dental-Specific Software

There are many software solutions out there and it can be daunting to select just one for your dental practice. When you’re making your decision, one of the most important factors you can consider is experience with your specialty. 

Choosing a software specifically-designed for dental practices will ensure that your software has the features you need.

Dental Software vs. Management Software

A general office management software might help with general tasks like scheduling appointments but will leave you managing tasks specific to dental practices. Patient chart management, for example, won’t come with most office management software. That means you’re left to deal with tasks that should be handled by your practice’s software system.

A dental-specific software, on the other hand, will have features for dental practices built-in. Dental software will make it easier to manage things like patient imaging and charts. Other features like surveys and emails that might be included with non-specific software will also be tailored to fit a dental practice automatically.

Government and college regulations are other important factors to consider. Dental software will have specific features to comply with regulations. Separate user logins for each employee, for example, will help your practice comply with regulations like PIPEDA or HIPPA

How to Choose the Right Dental Software for You

Even after narrowing down your choices to dental-specific software, there are still a variety of options to choose from. Within those options, there are a variety of features to consider, so it’s important to start thinking about your goals as a practice and how software could help you reach them.

What would help you retain more patients? What aspect of your current software is preventing you from doing that? Determining what you value most in a software will help you begin to narrow down your options. 

In many cases, practices are looking for software that not only reduces paperwork, but also has improved integration. If your software doesn’t have text message integration, for example, you will either need to manage that on your own or purchase a separate product. Either way, a lack of integration means your software won’t be saving you as much time and money as it could. 

Think about what your current software is missing and what features would make your life easier. It might be helpful to talk to a member from each department (receptionists, dental hygienists, office administrators, etc.) to get a better idea of what would help everyone in your practice.

Dental hygienist in wearing purple scrubs and gloves showing a patient an iPad.

Other Important Factors to Consider

In addition to your practice’s needs, there are many other factors to consider when choosing a dental software. 

Cost 

Of course, one of the biggest factors you want to consider is cost. It’s important to measure cost and return on investment, however. You might be able to justify a more expensive software if it has more time-saving features that could save you money in the long-run. Even if a feature saves someone an hour of work per week, that will add up over time.

Also, pay attention to hidden fees or costs. Costs like an implementation fee, hardware requirements, IT services, maintenance, and training might not be obvious at first but can add up over time. If you’re purchasing a cloud-based software, be sure to ask about the cost of data storage.

Ease of Use

A software that is intuitive to use or similar to your current software has the potential to reduce costs. Think of the time it will cost to train your employees. Does this outweigh the benefits of the software? A software that is easier to use could save you money initially and over time through reduced training costs and increased efficiency. 

Cloud-Based 

Many dentists are looking for cloud-based solutions for their practice and it seems to be an industry trend. Cloud-based software is often more affordable and has other benefits too. They can be more secure, simpler to operate, and easier to set-up (especially if you have a multi-location practice). 

Security

Security is an especially important factor to consider in order to protect your patient’s information and to meet government and college regulations. The software you choose should have built-in protections like data encryption, different user access levels, and automatic shut-off on idle devices.

Reporting & Data Analysis

Measuring your practice’s overall performance might not be something you considered or currently have tabs on. A practice health check can be very helpful to get insight into the current state of your practice. Ongoing tracking is important as well, including key metrics like patient cancellations, overall patient retention, and more so you can stay on top of your practice’s strengths and weaknesses.

The Bottom Line

A lot goes into choosing the right software for your practice, but at the end of the day, you have to think about larger practice objectives. What will make your patients’ experiences better? Whatever software you end up choosing should not only improve your employees’ experiences but your patients’ as well.

recallmax dental software features chart compared to similar products

Written by Josh Muir

Director of DSOs & Special Markets

Before he began at RecallMax, Josh worked as a director of practice management at a large Canadian DSO. As a senior leader, Josh has always focused on the development of the people and clients around him. With over 15 years of leadership at virtually every level of management, Josh has learned the essential qualities that motivate and inspire those he is responsible for and accountable to.

Josh has a preternatural ability to understand key financial levers and the behaviours that influence them. While he works to optimize efficiency, Josh never fails to prioritize service vale, regardless of the situation.

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