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Dental Software: Do More Features = Greater Satisfaction?

As the dental software market grows, vendors are adding features at breakneck speed to provide increased functionality for clients as well as to keep up with the requirements of the meaningful use program. Quite a number of clinics have switched electronic dental record (EDR) systems at least once for many reasons – to add functionality, reduce cost, meaningful use compliance etc.


However even though added functionality remains the biggest reason for switching, not all practices are happy with the newer product. At first glance, this may appear counterintuitive: after all, if the newer product has more features than the old one, users should be satisfied. But all too frequently, physicians are dissatisfied even in cases where the desired functionality was added.


More is not always better

Qualitative comparisons between dental software is not the easiest of tasks and even websites/magazines devoted to such comparisons mostly end up giving scores on the basis of the number of features. Rarely do they take into account how well the feature is implemented or how easy it is for the end-users to get accustomed to the interface. The general assumption that more features should automatically make for a better product does not necessarily hold true when it comes to EDR software.


Feature rich but usability poor

It is not unusual for medical professionals to encounter EDR software that is brimming with all the features that could possibly be required, only to find that it is not very usable in real life situations. As users become more sophisticated and informed about dental software, vendors have tried to meet their requirements by simply adding features on top of one another.


In their haste to be the first to offer a particular feature, few developers pay much attention to the interface or designing the new feature to integrate seamlessly with the rest of the software suite. Naturally it leads to a situation where the doctor or nurse has to juggle multiple windows or click hundreds of times to completely fill a patient record even if most of the fields are inapplicable to that particular case.


Rather than just adding features for the sake of doing so, providers must focus on improving usability. As the demands on medical professionals keep increasing every day, few have the patience or time to fight with the software just to get their work done. A well designed dental software product like Dovetail can help dentists to concentrate on their patients instead of wasting time on typing, clicking or editing records.