Part 2 of 6
My last article served as an introduction to what follows. For anyone considering purchasing a second location or potentially creating a mini or boutique dental group or corporation, a successful outcome can be achieved by keeping the following in mind:
1) Make a decision on the practice management/imaging software combination you plan to use. I strongly suggest that you don’t mix and match. If your practice management works best with one sensor because the imaging is “integrated”, then use that sensor. Mixing non-"integrating" software just makes things that much more difficult when you add practice number 2. Every patient in your database has a patient ID number. If your imaging is “integrated” then that number incorporates the images. When you bridge with other software, that software can sometimes create its own number to cross reference. Trouble can lay in the merger of images from the second practice acquisition – if ID numbers in the practice management software happen to match numbers in the digital imaging software, images could be assigned to the wrong patient. Not only is this terribly inefficient for the team that has to identify and fix the issue -post merger, it could lead to potential legal trouble (for example: if a doctor sees caries in a radiograph and treats a tooth only to discover the radiograph didn’t belong to that patient. It HAS happened.) Make sure it has enterprise or multi-location reporting abilities (some examples are EagleSoft nSite, Dentrix Enterprise, and Open Dental). This is the foundation you will build on so do your research and make sure that what you select has the right amount of R&D and support. Take into consideration cost as well – particularly for the support as this will compound as you add locations and each software combo will have a different recipe for how that support number changes.
2) Research the conversion of both the practice management and imaging software. Ask for a list of referrals of offices that have converted from that software into the one you use. CALL THEM. Find out what the biggest obstacles and roadblocks were. Most issues can be dealt with via planning ahead but if a corrupted database after conversion becomes a pattern, then you might be better off starting fresh and not converting the existing database and images but keeping them on hand for reference.
Check back next week for part 3 of 6 in the Strategizing Multiple Locations series.