Are you launching your own dental practice? Perhaps you have decided on its location and the equipment you will need to buy or lease. You’re probably getting the word out to attract a viable list of patients.
Have you thought much about software? It’s easy to overlook among the big decisions you need to make. Yet investing in the right software can make or break how well your practice runs and how successful you can be. There is a variety of software systems that you will need now, and others to consider down the road.
Streamlining the Practice
Practice management software (PMS) is the lifeblood of any dental practice. It helps manage everything from scheduling your patients to creating treatment plans and managing insurance claims. Make sure you select a system that you can easily work with, one that is backed by an easily accessible support team that can troubleshoot any problems you may have. You’ll want to review several systems to determine which is right for your practice. For example, will it easily integrate with other software you might use? While you can always switch to a different PMS in the future, you’ll have to convert data to a new system, so it’s worth investing the time to get it right, now.
Launching a practice is costly, so it’s good to know there are affordable, reputable options for roughly $100 per month, such as Open Dental. Other popular PMS systems include Dentrix and Carestream Dental, though there are many others on the market. Beware of new companies—while they may offer a lower cost, they may not stay in business.
As mentioned above, PMS can be used to manage some of the financial aspects of your new practice, such as insurance and patient ledgers. To keep track of payroll, expenses and vendor purchases, you will also need accounting software. QuickBooks is one of the most widely known software programs for small businesses. Since it is web-based, it can be accessed from any device with an internet connection, plus it can import bank transactions directly from your account. It has its limits when it comes to customizing reports and looking back at history. When it comes to more complex reporting, internal controls, tax strategies and more, you’ll want to consult with a qualified accounting professional with expertise in working with dental practices.
To retain patients and grow your practice, consider email software programs, which allow you to frequently keep in touch with your patients, either through blogs or e-newsletters. For example, MailChimp is a popular program that provides e-newsletter templates. It provides professional-looking newsletters and subscriber signup forms. It is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. You may be concerned about the time it takes to maintain a newsletter. You can start with simple patient reminders and scale your marketing outreach as your team grows. Just keep in mind that it is well worth the time to make regular outreach to current and prospective patients.
Some dental practices take advantage of automated patient communication software that integrates with their PMS. It works by automatically messaging patients to let them know when they are overdue for appointments or simply to confirm upcoming appointments. Patient communication software can help reduce no-shows and help retain patients.
Software will play a vital role in keeping your office workflow healthy. It will help ensure a smooth scheduling system, easy documentation of treatment plans and the sustainability of your practice.
Launching your own dental practice is an exciting venture. A team of experienced advisors will help ensure a successful practice and help you avoid costly mistakes.
Note: This content is accurate as of the date published above and is subject to change. Please seek professional advice before acting on any matter contained in this article.