Top 5 Features to Look for in a Dental Practice Management Software

For dental practice owners, choosing a dental practice management software solution is a very important task. You want to ensure the solution you choose is going to help you efficiently and effectively manage your dental practice and contribute to practice success. Some might find this task daunting – however, having a clear idea of what features to look for will make the search for a solution efficient, straightforward and, perhaps, even enjoyable.

Here are the top 5 features your dental practice management software solution should have to ensure practice success, exemplified with aspects from the ADSTRA Dental Software solution.

Built-in controls

It is essential for dental software solutions to offer multiple safeguards such as the creation of permission roles and user profiles, keeping track of the functions performed by users, as well as the ability to easily check whether key aspects of the record-keeping process have been completed.

  • Permission roles: allow you to create roles and assign permission rights to each role, ensuring the right people are accessing the right information, functions, and capabilities in the dental software solution
  • Users: should log in with their own username and password and the system should allow them to only enter modules or perform functions they have access rights to, according to their assigned role
  • Audit log: this feature tracks changes made to core records and should specify the time, date and name of the individual who made changes. By viewing the audit logs, you should be able to easily investigate discrepancies, if necessary
  • Appointment status icons: allow you to easily determine whether an appointment confirmation message has been sent to the patient, and whether the patient has or has not confirmed their appointment
  • Check-in/check-out controls: these controls give you the ability to easily determine whether a patient has been checked in, checked out with charge, or checked out without charge
  • Clinical note status indicator: this feature allows you with one look to figure out whether a clinical note has been written for appointments ensuring any findings or necessary information is recorded and can be easily referenced if required

Patient communication

To ensure practice success it is important for dental practice management software solutions to provide convenient ways to communicate with patients. Good communication helps develop relationships with patients, leading to an increase in referrals and resultantly more revenue for the practice.

  • Appointment confirmations, reminder and follow-ups: improves success at confirming appointments, or being notified of the need to reschedule as 98% of text messages are opened in comparison to only 20% of emails (SpotOn, 2019). Additionally, automated text reminders have been proven to reduce no-shows by 40%, and cancellations by approximately 95% as less than 5% of scheduled appointments are cancelled after clients receive a reminder (SpotOn, 2019). Also, due to increasing demand and expectations for convenience and simplicity 58% of consumers present a more positive outlook towards companies that have SMS capabilities, and 28% of consumers are more likely to recommend a company to their friends if they have such capabilities (SpotOn, 2019).
  • Patient emails: allows you to send birthday messages, holiday greetings, welcome packages and much more to your patients in a convenient manner, helping you develop and solidify your relationship with them

Top 5 Features to Look for in a Dental Practice Management Software

Paperless records

Implementing a paperless dental software solution will provide your dental practice many benefits. The two most important being that a) you will save money as you do not have to purchase and store paper charts, and b) a paperless solution will create a better work flow for your dental practice, resulting in increased efficiency, case acceptances, and new patient generation – contributing to practice success.

  • Paperless forms: having patients complete forms on a tablet that is connected to the ADSTRA FORMS server, while in the waiting room saves time and eliminates the need for paper – once forms are completed, they are automatically loaded into the patient’s clinical file. Additionally, it ensures that the patient, and only the patient, has access to the forms, complying with HIPPA and PIPEDA regulations
  • Electronic claims: being able to submit predeterminations and claims electronically through CDANet or Change Healthcare is both efficient and effective as it streamlines the processes – predeterminations and claims get submitted immediately and it eliminates the need to mail such documents. Moreover, payment is received in a timelier fashion
  • Paperless charts: paperless odontograms and perio exams allow for easy reference as they are stored in the patients paperless clinical file which can be easily accessed. They also save time as the new chart is created from the patient’s most recent chart – only new conditions and findings need to be charted / recorded. Additionally, perio findings can be compared over time
  • Clinical notes: predefined templates make the writing process much more efficient and effective as only certain information needs to be adjusted to suit the findings from your examination
  • Alerts and notes: you can create notes directly in a patient’s paperless file, set an alert on the note(s), and/or set the note to popup when you open the patients file. This makes the information readily available and highly visible, helping ensure no information is missed – an important feature for good patient care and interaction

Patient education

Having a way to educate your patients on treatment options via visual aids helps patients understand the recommended treatment, getting them to accept it, contributing to practice success. ADSTRA has several patient education tools.

  • Infographics: documents with visual and informational content designed to assist in educating your patients effectively, helping them to better understand the proposed treatments. A library of predefined infographics is included. Infographics can be shown on the screen, printed or can be easily sent to patients by email.
  • Case studies: show actual photographs with the “before” and “after” for common conditions and their treatments, making them a very effective tool for instant treatment presentation. Within ADSTRA Imaging there are six predefined case studies with images and text in which the text can be customized. There is also the option to create and add your own case studies, allowing you to customize them as much as you would like.
  • Presentations: can be built to compare up to nine images of the patient’s current condition, which you define, with images of before and after treatment of similar cases. Additionally, the display order of the images can be adjusted and the selected images can be saved for future presentations. Once a presentation is created, you may save it for future use and you may print or email the presentation.
  • Treatment plans: they tell the patient what the proposed treatment is and what each aspect of the treatment will be, helping them understand what will be done, feel more comfortable with the proposed treatment and in the end accept it. Treatment plans are created by entering the code for the procedure that is to be done and the associated fee

Practice management

In order to contribute to the success of your practice, your dental practice management software solution needs to have features and capabilities that will help you analyze practice performance and patient information in a quick and concise manner.

  • Reports and charts: with over 130 reports, ADSTRA’s reports and charts provide in depth insights into practice performance allowing you to seamlessly review the overall practice and determine areas in which efforts can be improved
  • Patient analytics: help you determine via pre-defined patient selections recall appointments that have and have not been booked, and patients that have and do not have appointments, among other patient information, so nothing will be missed and no revenue will be lost
  • Control panel: provides snapshots of practice performance, allowing you to quickly analyze how the practice is doing – this data combined with that of ADSTRA’s reports and charts will allow you to make informed decisions on how to increase/improve practice success
  • Marketing reminders: remind office staff and patients about ongoing or upcoming treatments, and allows you to follow-up with patients and ensure that current dental treatment plans stay on track