Steps to simplify switching practice management systems
Many dental practices are still using legacy systems installed on their local computers. They realize this is bad practice and that these systems are unable to meet the demands of today. But some of the questions that stop them from taking the next step are:
How will I get my team to work on a new system?
How will I get all the data in my system to a new one?
Will I lose data in the process?
Will it affect my day to day operations?
However, this is not a good enough alibi to restrict yourself and your practice to outdated systems. The advantages offered by such systems are too great to ignore. Let us try and explore few steps that can be taken to ensure the switching process is easy. We will also explore the services to look for while choosing your practice management system partner.
Reason for switching:
The reasoning behind the practice’s decision to move from their existing software helps to set a better strategy for an organization-wide roll-out. Doing a workflow analysis and choosing a system that allows customization to accommodate them is a good first step.
Look at the user experience:
The user experience is perhaps the most important element to predict the outcome of your roll-out. A better user experience than your current system convinces your team that you have made the right choice for them and they take enthusiasm making the whole transition smooth and productive.
Demonstrate useful features:
One way to generate enthusiasm among your team to switch is to show them how their jobs get simplified if the new system comes. You can also show front desk personnel how to easily search for a slot and schedule an appointment and assign them to exam rooms using modern software, or demonstrate features to your back office staff that can speed billing or more effectively track claims.
Choose a vendor who offers good customer support:
You’re going to want great customer support throughout the switch. When you’re close to selecting the right vendor, get to know their customer support before you commit.
Customization and setup: See if you can work with their implementation team to identify the existing office workflows and set up the PMS to meet the specific workflow requirements of your practice.
Data migration: Check if your vendor has necessary tools for extracting practice, clinical and financial data from all existing dental practice management systems.
Integration: Check if your vendor can integrate their PMS with any other business critical systems used in the practice.
Training: Ensure your vendor has options for onsite, remote and self-paced training programs and that they respond in good time.
Support: Getting their support staff to diagnose and fix issues in your environment in a timely manner can ensure business continuity even during problems.
Account management: You should have a technical account manager to analyze your existing usage trends and guide you with steps for better automation.
Offer good training to your team:
A successful roll-out and migration from an existing program revolves around training. It is necessary to establish a comfort level for your team with the system. Team members must feel empowered and excited for the new system while provided with role based training sessions. This includes how their daily activities will change, new firm processes and the tools to improve their everyday workflow.
Tips to simplify the switch
Switching from one practice management software to another is not very difficult at all, if you are working with the right vendor.
1. Data conversion is a major step
The strategy for this should be decided based on what fits your practice the best- whether it is sudden change or a staged approach. This can depend on the practice size, the complexity of existing workflows and available free time of your team.
One good method is to complete data conversion, training and implementation in stages, allowing practices to continue operating on their old system while switching to a new system to avoid work and cash flow disruptions.
2. Making the switch: implementation
There are two major approaches to this:
- Complete – A strategy that changes all parts of the system at the same time in a practice, as opposed to a phased implementation that goes module by module.
- Phased implementation – A gradual roll-out of functions sequentially to sets of departments / practices.
Study your workflows, study the system, discuss with your team, form a core group and set an implementation strategy that fits your practice the best.