What to consider when switching software

Change is inevitable. Whether you're changing cell phone carriers, doctors or CPAs, we all experience it in some form. Switching practice management vendors is a big decision that can cause anxiety and uncertainty.

Here's a comprehensive overview of things to consider when switching Practice Management Software.

Why Switch?

Switch it you are unhappy with existing features or missing features. Or with support and customer service. Switching software and hardware at the same time might make sense if your PCs are outdated.

Reduce IT Costs

Apple products are built for longevity and require less maintenance and offer more virus protection then PCs.

The biggest reason dentists and doctors should consider changing is for AES data encryption and integrated secure messaging to protect patient information (PHI) and to avoid $1M fines for HIPAA violations. Do you know that the biggest dental software vendor (the one that starts with D) was recently fined by the FTC for misrepresenting their data security? They were prohibited from using the word "encryption" in their sales and marketing materials.

Client Server vs. Cloud

More than 95% of dentists still run their practice on a server in their office. Servers may seem "old school" but you can control and protect your patient data and access to it. Ask questions: what is the total cost of ownership, where the data is stored, is the data encrypted, and is your data protected? Consider the vulnerability of the browser you will be required to use. Keep in mind that internet outages and sluggish performance affects your revenue. In the past few years, some of the largest companies in the world have experienced breaches and hacks of customer data.

Set Realistic Expectations

Remember - you are considering changing for a reason so, even if the transition may not be perfectly smooth, it doesn't mean it's not worth it. Choose the right vendor and you'll be in good hands.

Communicate Clearly

Clear and effective communication is essential. Change can be scary. Make sure your staff is included in the transition plan and know that you may have to reassure them that you have made the best decision for the practice and your patients.

Data Migration

This is the process of moving your patient data and records from your current vendor into your new software. Choose a vendor that has an experienced, in-house conversion team and it will be a well-executed process. If you wish, data can be easily transferred from PC to Mac.

Don't Skimp on Training

Training is the most undervalued but most important part of successfully switching software. You can opt for online or onsite training, but having a trainer come to your practice is by far the most effective. Plan on 2-3 days of training for a smooth transition. The more you train, the shorter your learning curve. The shorter your learning curve, the sooner your revenue stabilizes.

The biggest reason to not switch is simply fear. Keep in mind that dental software has vastly improved, and you owe it to yourself, your staff and your patients to use the most modern, robust and secure software.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Becker's Hospital Review/Becker's Healthcare. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

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