Every dental office needs the same thing. Not only do they need a strong clinical team, but dental offices need to streamline booking and billing. We are well beyond the days of scheduling books and handwritten insurance estimates. The front desk must manage a higher number of patients due to dental procedure advances. That means technology can be a major advantage in doing so. There seems to be a top two when it comes to dental software.
Another leading dental software is Dentrix. They are developed by Henry Schein. As many dental professionals know Henry Schein also creates operatory equipment, like dental chairs. They are also a major supplier for materials like resin composite, impression material, all the way down to the polish used in hygiene. Their sole focus is to be a one stop shop for dental offices. They acquired this software in 1997. Much like EagleSoft, Dentrix also offers full office support. They have charting, treatment planning, digital imaging, scheduling, and administrative reports. Earlier versions do not offer security features that allow you to save patient card information. Later versions do allow this. They also incorporate the ability to connect to CareCredit.
From my use of Dentrix, there are a few features that I really found useful. The first one the ledger. The visual makes it very easy to pinpoint where balances are coming from. There is also the ability to leave notes on claims to state why a claim was denied and if it being resubmitted. That clears a lot of clutter in the patient’s account. The second one is the treatment planner. I like being able to go in and change the insurance coverage manually. This overrides systems “insurance mistakes”. For example, a patient is covered at 50% with a downgrade. Office staff can go in and change that one thing to override the 50% coverage. The next feature I like about Dentrix is their reporting. With recalls, the system automatically updates if a patient is scheduled and clears them off the list. I also like that production for the day is displayed on the schedule. When I worked for a corporate dental office this was important. We had to be strategic in scheduling to make sure each day was meeting the goal. This gave the front desk direction. A full schedule is not always a productive schedule. The last feature I like is how documents are stored. Dentrix does allow one document to be shared amongst multiple patients. For example, if we need to store and insurance breakdown for a family, we can add that to each individual chart without having to scan the insurance breakdown multiple times. That cuts down on time needed to scan and helps keep paperwork off the desk.
For Dentrix pricing is also determined by the version. Each version has different features and the latest version of course has more modern features. There is a charge for in office training. There is also a charge for over the phone on demand assistance. The offer a free demo and webinars to keep offices up to date with Dentrix software glitches and updates. Their software navigation includes the use drop downs and icons. Dentrix Ascend also removes the need to have extensive knowledge of CDT coding. Although, with the original Dentrix treatment planners do need to know codes or have a reference for speed with treatment planning. The original version of Dentrix and Dentrix Ascend allow remote access to different offices within the software. That does remove the need to contact different offices to schedule patient, especially when they need to see a specialist. The original version of Dentrix can take a full day to install, this includes transferring files. That means that it does have to be done on a day the office is closed and there are several tests that need to be ran if the software is being integrated with other hardware and software. Once it is up and running it is seamless.
Pros: Billing, Reports, Remote access, Integration with inexpensive hardware (Avision Scanners retail for about $50 – $100 per unit), Clears information from reports automatically, Detailed walkout statement, few tendencies of software glitches and shutdowns
Cons: Integration of outside software can cause temporary loss of files, X-rays must be uploaded to earlier versions of Dentrix, Scheduling can get cumbersome, Staff training cost depends on version, early versions do not have in software dental insurance verification
One of the leading dental software for both private and corporate offices is EagleSoft. EagleSoft is a software created by Patterson Companies. Patterson is a dental product supplier. They also offer veterinary supplies. Interestingly enough, Patterson also has stakes in protein production or butchery. Their headquarters is in Minnesota, a state that has many different protein producing plants. Patterson has been in business for about 55 years. This software offers digital image storage, and insurance claims creation and submission, and paperless charting. EagleSoft also integrated a security feature that allows storing credit card information for patients. Not only can they store credit card information, they also provide compatibility with CareCredit for payments.
From my use of EagleSoft the top features would include scheduling and entering treatments. These make my top two choices when it comes to practice management software because they are very user friendly. Appointments can be copy, pasted, and moved much like the right click function that we are used to with our daily computer use. This allows offices to keep track of who cancelled and rescheduled same day. It also makes moving appointments much easier when compared to cancelling an appointment out and re-entering it. When it comes to treatment planning in EagleSoft, it provides the option to search by descriptions. For clinical staff and anyone else who do not know coding, they can search for a procedure by name and locate the proper code easily. This lightens the load on front desk staff and streamlines treatment changes.
When it comes to pricing for EagleSoft is dependent on the number of patients, the number of doctors, and the amount of information that needs to be stored. They have different packages when it comes to features as well. The more an office wants, the more they pay. Patterson Dental does offer a free demo to dental practices. They also offer training in person for a charge or online videos for free. With this there is customer support and technical support to help maintain functionality for dental offices. They offer live chat, over the phone support, and a knowledge base for reference. Offices can also subscribe to expert tips and tricks, to give users an idea of how to best use the software. EagleSoft does market themselves as easy to set up. They are very user friendly for front line staff. There is not a need for extensive training into CDT codes. Navigation for EagleSoft software navigation includes the use drop downs and icons. Earlier versions allowed email integration at no extra cost because of there push for a safer, more compliant software.
Pros: Free Updates, Remote access from phone or tablet, less extensive staff training, standard computer import and export, x-rays are saved to the software automatically not matter the version
Cons: Random system shutdowns, Copay estimations are cumbersome, Reports are not useful because they report redundancies, integrates with expensive hardware (i.e. scanners must be Brother for integration which can retail for about $500 per scanner), each feature increases the premium, in system insurance checks do not sync consistently, billing ledgers are difficult to read from a first look, Walkouts do not provide next visit information
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