Practice management software update

By Rabia Mughal, contributing editor

October 24, 2008 -- The ADA annual session's World Marketplace in San Antonio certainly showcased the competitive nature of the dental products business. Flat panels flashed product demos, booming microphones invited attendees to technology and procedure presentations, and some vendors even enticed browsers with margarita machines and celebrity autographs!

In the midst of all this excitement, editors trolled the aisles of the exhibition hall to discover the latest and greatest products in a number of categories, such as practice management software, which has become a critical component of the wired dental office. Selecting the right software has become easier in recent years due to vendor consolidation. Today, some of the leading products are Dentrix from Dentrix Dental Systems (a subsidiary of Henry Schein), SoftDent from Kodak, and EagleSoft from Patterson Dental.

Here are some of the practice management innovations these vendors showcased at the ADA meeting:

Next-generation Dentrix

Henry Schein rolled out the latest version of its Dentrix software, the Dentrix G3, in May of this year.

New features include its enhanced document center, which allows dentists to view a patients' tooth chart by treatment plan case and electronically sign and display a signature on a document. Also, if the dentist receives a letter from a specialist, it can be sent directly to the document center, eliminating the need to copy and scan such documents. The document center can store patient documents in Excel, PowerPoint, and Word format, or as PDF files.

The new version also features a patient questionnaire that allows patients to complete their information electronically at the office; then, with a couple of clicks, the questionnaire is entered into Dentrix. To save more time, patients can fill out forms at home and submit them online. Dentists can customize questionnaires to suit their preference.

Perio charting is easier as well, according to the company. The latest version allows dentists to enter exam data using an input device, such as a mouse or voice activation software.

Dentrix G3 also comes integrated with a limited edition of the Guru patient education system.

"G3 and Guru allow you to attach consent forms, procedure animations, and case details to a treatment plan and improve case acceptance and patient retention," according to the company Web site.

The Guru patient education system.

All these upgrades are free for existing Dentrix users.

"Dentrix is trying very hard to get offices to go paperless," said Denise Ciardello, a certified Dentrix trainer and a practice management consultant, at the company's ADA booth. "It saves time and money, as well as natural resources."

Fingerprint scanning feature for Softdent

In an attempt to ramp up the security and high-tech appeal of your practice, Kodak Softdent practice management software will soon offer fingerprint scanning for staff.

This new feature was launched for Kodak PracticeWorks software a few months ago and will be available for Softdent by next year, according to the company.

Staff members can log in and out of practice management and imaging software, saving time and eliminating the need for multiple passwords. The module can also be configured to provide up to 10 levels of security, allowing dentists to customize security access for different employees.

The fingerprint scanning module.

"For added security, you can use the normal log-in process and the new Fingerprint Scanning feature to ensure you are providing the highest level of security available," according to the company Web site.

Two scanners sell for $1,995.

The company is also gearing up to introduce a kiosk check-in module that allows patients to check in electronically. Patients can use a mouse, keyboard, or touchscreen to enter their information into the kiosk. The staff working behind the check-in counter will be notified of the patients' arrival.

The kiosk check-in module.

You can customize the imagery, background color, text size, and welcome message on the module.

Cost: $795.

EagleSoft 15.00 from Patterson Dental

Patterson started shipping its latest version of EagleSoft in late September. Earlier this year, the company announced that EagleSoft is now available at no cost. This offer includes free data import from your existing software plus phone training. Dentists can also obtain the imaging software at no cost with a qualifying digital technology purchase, according to the company.

"We wanted to extend EagleSoft to our customers," explained Darin Blickem, a product support manager, at the Patterson ADA booth. "And if you are not a Patterson customer, this can be your entry into the company."

EagleSoft 15.00 also now includes Caesy patient education printable PDF files covering a broad range of topics, from preventive measures to postoperative instructions. The software will automatically print relevant Caesy patient education literature during the patient walkout process after a service procedure code is entered.

Other features allow users to view actual production numbers against production goals for each day in the month-at-a-glance calendar; make notes within the practice schedule regarding appointments, patient requests, and staff meetings; and track changes in a patients' insurance information.

Cost: Free.

Copyright © 2008

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