A: I hear this question quite often. Everything is working fine so why would I want to mess with it? Why should I invest in new hardware to run this software?
The first thing is the hardware. If you are running old hardware, it will eventually start to fail. Computers don't last forever; they become obsolete. Also, Windows XP is at the end of its life and will stop being supported in the next few years. Which means you will be stuck with unsupported hardware and software if you don't upgrade.
The most important thing is the feature that your office is missing out on. Since Dentrix Dental Systems released Dentrix 11 more than five years ago, numerous advances have been designed into the Dentrix practice management system to further automate, streamline, and simplify daily tasks. Advances in technology outside of the dental industry, such as faster Internet and computer processor speeds, smartphones, and even the Apple iPad, have pushed software developers to design features that allow dentists to take advantage of new technology that can help their practice.
Such is the case with the newest version of Dentrix, Dentrix G4, which offers new features that not only automate more tasks but also let dentists use new technology, such as smartphones, to access their Dentrix data. This latest version of Dentrix also offers a new reporting tool, Practice Advisor, which was designed with the assistance of leading dental consultants to help practices identify problem areas in their operations and use simple management tactics to correct them and improve profitability.
Below are just a few of the new features Dentrix G4 offers the modern dental practice to improve productivity and profitability:
Dentrix Mobile is a new feature that gives you fast, secure access to patient details, appointments, medical alerts, and prescriptions. Dentrix Mobile runs on the most popular smartphones and mobile devices, including BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Palm Pre, and Android.
The new Practice Advisor helps you assess the overall financial health of your practice. The Practice Advisor monitors several key performance indicators in your practice, compares them to industry standard benchmarks recommended by leading consulting firms such as the Pride Institute and Jameson Management, and offers recommendations to help you improve your practice's profitability.
The Practice Advisor compiles reports with comprehensive practice analysis information that shows practice details about production, collections, new patient analysis, continuing care, and schedule management to help you know and track how your practice is doing.
Enhanced patient chart
The enhanced chart offers 3D representations of teeth in various views, including upper, lower, quadrant, side of mouth, and arch views. It also allows you to drag and select multiple teeth and post procedures for teeth with multisurface requirements, which saves a lot of time.
Enhanced clinical notes
The enhanced clinical notes feature helps users save time by using predefined or user-created clinical note templates. Dentrix also helps improve the content, accuracy, and consistency of clinical notes by providing many selection lists and drop-down menus populated with the available options. (This feature was a key point in my office going chartless.)
New Treatment Planner
The Treatment Planner includes features and options that have been requested by Dentrix users. Several treatment cases can be created to offer as optional or alternate cases. It also includes two new treatment plan reports: Practice Case Report and Patient Case Report. They're easy to use and create a great visual presentation for patients. It's an excellent resource in the operatory and for communicating treatment to the front office.
The new integrated Presenter module allows you to build presentations based on a patient's selected treatment plan. These presentations can be customized with digital photographs and can be burned to a CD for the patient. The new Presenter module aggregates all relevant treatment plan information (such as Guru libraries, chart views, x-rays, financing, relevant patient education, and consent forms) for a complete snapshot of what is needed to educate the patient.
Digital signature for consents
eSignature for digital consents makes it possible for patients to digitally sign an electronic consent form after accepting a treatment plan. Electronic consent forms can be customized to fit the needs of a practice.
Redesigned Document Center
The Document Center features a new look and feel, along with increased functionality that helps your office move toward being paperless. You can import and store any object linking and embedding (OLE)-compliant file types (such as Microsoft Word documents, Microsoft Excel documents, and PDF documents) in the Dentrix Document Center.
Family Appointment List
You can select a new option called Family Appointment List to display all future appointments for every family member on the Family Walkout. You can select to include all family members, future appointments, and continuing care due dates with the Family Walkout.
So whether you run Dentrix or another software, don't get left behind because of not wanting to invest in your computers, software, and training.
Martin Jablow, D.M.D., is a practicing dentist and a self-professed technophile who lectures and blogs on a variety of technologies used in dentistry (dentechblog.blogspot.com). If you have a technology question for Dr. Jablow, e-mail it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org?.
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