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Guide to Evaluating Dental EHR Systems

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Dental practice software is revolutionizing the industry and has become a powerful tool for many practices. The right EHR and practice management software should be able to streamline dental charting, treatment plans, progress notes, scheduling, patient communications, e-claims and e-prescriptions. Coupled with the latest advances in cloud computing this gives doctors the ability to share and collaborate in real time, making a dental EHR a powerful tool in profitable practice management. Quality software can greatly increase practice efficiency, workflow, customer satisfaction, increase revenue and decrease overhead.

Even with these great benefits, implementing new software can sometimes seem daunting, especially when it comes to conventional, old-fashioned practice management software that is non-intuitive or has incomplete integration. However, there are a number of alternatives that support a smooth and quick transition for users while minimizing the learning curve for doctors, hygienists and admin staff.

So what steps should be taken to ensure that an increase in user satisfaction, office productivity and increased revenue is realized for a new dental EHR?

Evaluating Dental Practice EHR Implementation
Now that conventional EHRs have been available for several years, their shortcomings have become more apparent. Doctors often remedy this by using various workarounds as the existing navigation is too clunky or the interface is unintuitive or confusing. Sometimes issues can be remedied with updates; other times users wait years for the vendor to deliver a promised update that never arrives. If your software is causing issues or isn’t increasing the efficiency of your practice, it is worthwhile to explore the new alternatives. Look for a vendor that provides access to quality customer service and focuses on the satisfaction of their customers by providing for a rapid and smooth transition.

Choosing a Dental EHR
The functionality of an EHR and the usability of an EHR should be assessed separately. It often happens that users invest themselves into a new software only to find that the vendor has over-promised and that the usability of the tools is far from ideal. A great way to explore a new software and test whether the services and tools are as advertised is to sign up for a free trial.

An EHR that uses a weighted scoring system which gives greater importance to critical features notably improves the workflow of the user through increased accessibility and functionality. Look for EHR software that is designed specifically with the dentist in mind and offers an uncluttered interface free of unnecessary features.

Ask each user in your practice about their experience with the usability of the current system. This will allow the practice to isolate problem areas, diagnose any issues and determine which features are desired in the new dental practice management software.

When the complete analysis of the current EHR software has been performed the practice can make an informed decision to continue with their current software or upgrade to a modern system that can be customized to meet the needs of each individual user. Why struggle with a complex and confusing system if you can customize your own interface to fit your working style?

How would you measure the value of your dental EHR and what features are the most valuable to your practice? Add your comments below – I want to hear what you think!


– Dr. Pietro Di Battista

Pietro Di Battista


Dr. Pietro Di Battista, Dovetail Founder & Chief Executive Officer, runs a successful private periodontics practice, and is a senior lecturer at different dental venues, study clubs and professional conferences. Pietro has served as Director of Clinical Periodontology at McGill University. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Concordia University, and a D.D.S. and a M.S.D. from Case Western Reserve University. His hobbies include hockey and mixed martial arts.