This blog post will describe various cost to consider while selecting a dental software. The indirect acquisition cost; such as hardware support, hardware refresh, etc., which are most often ignored should be part of total cost of ownership. Further, the cost arising due to limitation of a solution must be part of the decision, e.g: remote access of system from home or another office.
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Let's breakdown the total cost of ownership of a dental practice management system with an assumption that we have narrowed onto comparable features among various options (please refer my previous blog for the feature list to consider):
Direct cost of a dental practice management system:
a. Sticker Price - The price can be one time licensing fees or monthly fees. Make sure to include cost of additional users if needed, limitations of number of records or patients, etc... to compare.
b. Training Cost - The cost associated with training the users. Sometimes, vendor will include the initial cost in the price of software. However, the cost of training must be considered separately because of employee turnover.
c. Backup-Up & Recovery Cost - Most cloud based dental software will include it in the sticker price. However, if you are considering in-premise legacy system then cost must be in separate columns for each Backup & Recovery. If you are starting new or looking to upgrade existing, one should consider a cloud dental software option.
d. Data Migration Cost - If you are migrating then the cost of data migration must be a separate cost column.
e. Customer Support Cost - It must be considered as a separate column. If vendor offers software license and support as part of one package then make sure to ask what is the major and minor software upgrade cost.
The major upgrades - most likely are annual upgrade with new features and requires latest hardware specifications; minor upgrades - most likely quarterly release with bug fixes and patches. Also notes, major upgrades might be charged additionally. Hence, make sure to understand the support cost, minor upgrade cost and major upgrade cost separately.
In-Direct cost of a dental practice management system:
a. Hardware Cost - The cloud based electronic dental record do not need hardware. However, in-premises software will need hardware.
Further, do not ignore the server machine cost or fall into a trap of selecting a bare minimum machine specifications mentioned by vendor, which might not look like a big cost. Your business is dependent on the dental software, and selecting a server with reasonable CPU, RAM, Storage and Storage redundancy (RAID) is extremely critical.
b. Hardware Support Cost - Server support cost must be considered in a separate column from network support cost (do not include network cost - unless you have option of going wireless).
Additional Cost to consider:
a. X-Ray, Intra-Oral, Pano, CEPH Image Storage - Include cost of storage. Make sure to understand cost in terms of storage size or number of images if there are any such limitations.
b. Remote Access Cost - For in-premises legacy systems, if there is a need to access data remotely then a separate column of Remote Access Software cost must be included in total cost of dental software acquisition.
If one is comparing cloud v/s in-premises then this column must be considered because cloud software allows access from anywhere.
In summary, while considering a solution, in-premises or cloud dental, make sure to develop a matrix by columns stated above to fully understand the cost.
tab32 provides a complete cloud solution which will decrease the total cost of software acquisition because there is no need for 3rd party vendors. tab32's cloud solution eliminates need for indirect cost (any hardware related cost) and removes hefty back-up cost and recovery cost. Further, tab32 doesn't charge for initial setup training, for most independent practices and allows to store unlimited images on cloud through its imaging studio.
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