Why Your Dental Software Migration Goes South

January 11, 2024 | 3 min read

Dental software migration is essential for taking the next step in scaling your DSO, improving operational efficiency, and modernizing patient experience. 

But the complexity of moving to a cloud dental practice management system (PMS) means that many things could go wrong if you don’t support the initiative with sufficient preparation. Let’s examine why these efforts may falter and how to mitigate the risks.

Top Reasons Why Dental Software Migrations Falter

These common mistakes could derail your dental software migration effort. Here's how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Spring the Change on Staff Without Preparation

Your migration effort will likely go south if employees get to work one day and realize they have to use a different software and change their processes! While this may be an extreme scenario, a lack of communication and preparation causes confusion and resistance and is a common cause of software migration failure. 

Mitigate the risk:

Implement a robust communication plan well ahead of the migration effort to explain the reasons for the change, its benefits, and how it will benefit day-to-day operations. 

“Take the time to formulate and share a vision of the impending transformation. Inspire the team by providing a clear picture of how things will work post-implementation and how their efforts will directly contribute to the practice’s success.” ~ What to Expect When Switching Practice Management Systems and How to Master Your Data Migration Journey White Paper

Mistake #2: Lack of Ongoing Communication and Feedback

Informing employees about upcoming changes is crucial, but that's only the beginning. Your communication can’t be a one-way street — employees who don’t feel heard are less likely to support an initiative and actively participate in its implementation.

Mitigate the risk:

Continue to communicate about the change frequently and through diverse channels like one-on-one discussions, team meetings, and email correspondence to cultivate awareness about the software migration project and enhance transparency. 

Provide Q&A opportunities and establish a feedback loop for staff members to voice concerns. Regularly and proactively clarify confusion, address uncertainties, and give employees insights into their roles in the migration process to foster personal investment in the proposed changes.

Mistake #3: Not Cleaning Up the System Before the Migration

If you fail to clean up your data before your dental software migration, you risk transferring redundant, outdated, or inaccurate information to the new system. This mistake can cause data integrity issues, inefficiencies, and diminished trust in the new software.

Mitigate the risk:

Include a data cleanup effort in your software migration plan to identify and eliminate duplicate or irrelevant records, correct inaccuracies, and ensure data consistency.

Mistake #4: Not Committing to the Change

Leadership’s failure to demonstrate a clear commitment and visible support for the dental software migration initiative may create a culture of uncertainty and resistance among staff. Employees may question the importance of the upgrade and be less inclined to embrace the new system.

Mitigate the risk:

Leadership must be actively involved in and fully committed to the software migration project to set a positive tone. For example, executives may communicate the strategic reasons behind the change, express confidence in the new software’s capabilities, and actively participate in the transition process (e.g., attending training sessions.) 

Mistake #5: Inadequate Employee Training

When changes are intricate and substantial, as in a dental software migration, team members may lack the knowledge or skills to support a smooth transition. Throwing employees into the deep end and hoping they’ll “figure things out” only creates frustration and hurts productivity.

Mitigate the risk:

Identify training needs and tailor training programs to help employees in various roles succeed. Prioritize vendors that offer training sessions and resources to help your staff learn to use the new system. Besides online webinars and in-house training, implement self-guided “study hall” and “homework” formats to suit different learning paces and styles. 

Putting the Pieces Together

People, processes, and technology are the three pillars of successful dental software migration. Our white paper, What to Expect When Switching Practice Management Systems and How to Master Your Data Migration Journey, shares practical insights from our team on dental software migration best practices for staff preparation, tech requirements, and operations optimization.

The Ultimate Guide to a Hassle Free Software Migr!


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