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Dental Patient Management

As with all businesses providing services to the Public the Patient Base of a Practice sits at the very core of the business, but all too often effective management of this vital data resource is lacking or even absent.  Where Dental Practices continue to struggle to maintain their competitive advantage, information becomes the vital component.  Understanding the relationship between data sets and how they interrelate to provide real-time visibility enabling better decision making, higher process efficiencies and tighter overall financial controls must be a Key objective. 

In today’s technology driven world it is somewhat surprising to see so many Practices still operating fully paper-based Patient records systems.  When the reasons are probed there is a strong perception that change will put the business at risk, staff will not be able to cope with the technology and cost benefits will not be realised.  However, the reality is that paper-based Practices suffer from limited data visibility, analysis is very time consuming and often inaccurate, if indeed it is ever undertaken, and the overall financial value of a Practice is reduced.  It is also worth noting that in the event of a disaster such as a serious fire where paper records are destroyed, in most cases the business would be exposed to a potentially catastrophic failure.

Without doubt those Practices who operate computer driven Patient Database Systems have the advantage over paper-based organisations.  With so many proprietary systems on the market it is important that the right choice is made based on Practice requirements.  As it will undoubtedly involve a significant financial investment it is paramount that the right decision is made, but what are the considerations that will ultimately lead to your final choice?

Here are some of the Key areas for consideration;

  • Reputation of the Vendor – We all like to choose service providers and products based on reputation, but always consider, quality of service or product, price, technical support and acceptable response time 
  • Cost of System licences – The more computers the greater the cost.  Does the vendor offer a charging cap on the number of licence fees payable i.e. above a certain number any additional licences are free?
  • Will you have to pay for future system releases, not to be confused with service packs and bug fixes etc?  Many vendors charge for new version releases thereby introducing significant additional costs to those clients wishing to upgrade, but what benefits will you be getting?
  • Reliability of software – Does the software have a history of stable operation, is it crash free with minimal software bugs?  Another point worth considering, is has the software package been built on an older legacy system with cosmetic changes that still retains some of the inherent issues
  • Functionality of software including data interrogation, analysis and report generation – This is crucial since the software package will become your most important management tool
  • Data Security and Backup – A critically important process that must be without question reliable at all times
  • Hardware specification, cost, installation and support – When the hardware specification and installation is arranged by the Software Vendor does it meet existing and future requirements? Under specification is very common and nearly always results in performance issues and additional costs to the customer.  Don’t forget to factor in hardware support costs?
  • End user experience including training – When introducing a new software solution to a Practice albeit to replace a manual paper process or an existing Patient system, any stress to end-users should be minimal. The scope and quality of user training undertaken by the provider must result in appropriate levels of competency being delivered.  To assist this process consider your needs and questions prior to training
  • Technical Support performance – A test of any Vendor is the client’s accessibility to help and speed of issues resolution.  You will always get through to Sales, but can you get through to technical Support without a long wait?  Is support UK based or overseas?

Having chosen a system, implementation must be supported by a clear project plan including training.  To ensure optimum performance with trusted data, regular data maintenance including accuracy checks must be undertaken as this will ensure that you have the best information on which to base business decisions.  The true values are contained in the ability to measure and manage the patient base activity, growth, revenue generation, financial forecasting and future business planning.  Now your Practice can become pro-active instead of reactive.

Case Study of a Dental Practice in trouble
We were contacted by a Dental Practice owner who was in total despair because his business was in disarray and at risk, with little hope of recovery » read the full story

PSDS Solutions were instrumental in helping to turn our dreams into reality
 Our 2 surgery, leased practice with 7 staff had evolved into a 4 surgery, state of the art practice with almost 20 staff, in our own premises in the same village, and is the envy of every dentist in the locality.Their support is ongoing and we know we can still just pick up the phone and call them if we need advice or guidance. Thank you! » read full testimonial

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