So you've decided that maybe a cloud-based dental software system is the best solution for your practice. Great! (If you're not yet convinced, you can read up on some of our favorite reasons for choosing a web-based software over a traditional version here or here.) There are a number of vendors out there to choose from, so how will you know the best option for your practice, needs, and budget?
Here are a few ideas for getting started:
1. Make a list of the most important functions and features for YOU. This list is personal, and rather than changing your needs to make the platform work, making this list will help you narrow in on a solution that works for your needs. Think through all the needs of your practice: if you could have a dental practice management system that did ANYTHING, what would it do? What would it look like? How would it fit into your workflow? Don't hold back, make that system ideal for you. Once you have that list, you can look through and categorize each feature as a must-have or a would-be-nice. Then you'll be ready to shop.
2. Get input from your staff. Sure, they won't have the final say, but there are a number of individuals in your office who will be interacting with the platform. It's worth having them weigh-in from the beginning to get a feel for their needs and workflow before you invest. This not only will help you find the right solution, it will also help with staff buy-in if you're changing from another system. (Getting staff on board can be the hardest part of any switch!)
3. Sign up for trials and walk-throughs for the systems you're considering. A commitment this big deserves more consideration than the sale rack at Best Buy! Gather as much information as you can before you jump in. This means talking to the company's representatives and engaging with them. This will give you a really good idea if this is a group you want to do business with. Most of the systems will offer free trials or limited features for free, and many will also offer a free demo. Do it! (You can check out our free EHR here.)
4. Talk to others to see what they're using. This can be a really good way to find out the ins and outs of a system from someone who's used it longer than the trial! Read reviews, find other dentists and ask specific questions. It's impossible to get neutral information from a vendor, so these reviews and testimonials can be a wealth of information before you purchase your cloud dental software.
5. Check out their support and documentation. What kind of help do they have available? What will happen if you have a problem? Do they have a wiki? FAQ? A video library?
We hope these five steps will help you make the right decision for your dental practice management software. It's imperative that the system works for you and your practice, and a great solution will help you maximize and grow your patient base.