By Kevin Henry, editor
Irene Tau of New City, N.Y., is very happy with the practice-management software she uses at her husband’s practice. She feels the software gives the practice a good return on investment, and she feels it’s been more of an asset than a pain to the practice over the last 12 months. She also doesn’t see any time in the near future when the practice will be switching software vendors.
Tau’s feelings are echoed by many of the 323 respondents to this year’s Dental Equipment & Materials practice-management software survey. An amazing 90.4 percent of respondents said they had no plans to switch software over the next year, while 64.7 percent said they have “bragged” about their software over the last year more than they’ve “griped” about it. In addition, 91 percent of respondents said they felt their current brand of practice-management software gave their practice a good return on investment.
Tau and her husband have had their practice-management system for nearly 10 years, and they’re very pleased with the results and the learning curve.
“It’s been very easy for us. I wasn’t computer literate when I first started working with it, but I am now,” Tau said. “We find that the ability to schedule appointments and coordinate treatment plans is very important for our practice.”
Again, she’s in the majority. Electronic scheduling gained in importance from last year’s survey when, on a scale from 1 to 10 (with 10 being the highest importance to the respondent), it ranked at 7.59. This year, it earned an 8.176. The only feature ranked more important overall was practice analysis reports at 8.452, up slightly from last year’s 8.37.
Also moving up this year was the feeling of doctors that their practice-management software was easy for their staff members to learn. Last year, on a scale from 1 to 10 (with 10 being the respondent strongly agreed), doctors gave ease of learning a 7.52. This year, it was at 7.644.
“By the time diagnosis is complete, all involved in scheduling and financial arrangements are aware of the dentistry required, the order in which completion is recommended, and the amount required by patient and expected from insurance,” said Dr. Tom Novak of Weatherford, Texas. “There is no need for me, the dentist, to again be involved with coordinating treatment or finances unless it is a monster of a case requiring variable amounts of lab time. I can diagnose, recommend, and move on. After all, it is my time which is the most important commodity in our office.”
And, perhaps most importantly, the level of overall satisfaction has increased, from 7.52 last year to 7.684. That’s not to say that there are dentists and staff members out there who are unhappy with their software, but the majority of respondents who were happy with their software were very happy with their software.
There are plenty of charts and statistics below to tell you how your colleagues feel about their brand of software. It was interesting to put this article together. I know you’ll find it of interest as well.
On a scale from 1 to 10...
Note: The following questions use a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being that the respondent strongly disagreed and 10 being that the respondent strongly agreed.
Overall, I am satisfied with my practice-management software.
Answer - 7.684
My practice-management software integrates well with my other programs.
Answer - 6.647
My practice-management software company trained me properly on the software.
Answer - 6.573
My practice-management software company has a high level of tech support.
Answer - 7.09
The system was easy for my staff to learn.
Answer - 7.644
Note: The following questions use a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest in importance to the respondent and 10 being the highest in importance to the respondent.
Appointment/patient time tracking.
Answer - 7.932
Clinical treatment notes.
Answer - 6.415
Digital image/X-ray integration.
Answer - 6.455
Answer - 5.325
E-signature capability for HIPAA purposes.
Answer - 5.291
Answer - 8.176
Interactive Web site access.
Answer - 4.954
Lab case tracking.
Answer - 5.576
Answer - 5.687
Practice analysis reports.
Answer - 8.452