Most dental software company’s products are very similar, in that they keep all your patient financial and clinical information sorted and provide you with reports and financial information to measure your office success. Some software companies are much further advanced and are continuously providing you with meaningful updates to enhance the capability in the office. There is just one problem with this – the user. Your software should be considered as a useful team member, most software features aren’t used to their full extent, just as we want our team members performing to their full extent, we want the same for our software.
Software training usually occurs when a new team member joins the office. This training is provided by another team member who learned from another team member, who learned from another team member and so on. You get where I am going, teaching software use like this gets the same results as playing broken telephone. We are very lucky in that software engineers are very cognizant of our failures as users, and they provide at least three different ways for every task to be completed. Some team members get curious and find solutions on their own as well. The problems that are being described are that we are taking short cuts and not using the software features as intended.
Here are some common problems and solutions to avoid user errors with your software:
- Provide continuing education for your team on software just as you would on any equipment that you have in the office. This can range from having a trainer come into your office and see how you are using the program to assigning software training to one team member who is responsible for training all other team members on the features of your software’s updates.
- Ensure that your team is providing the information in the manner that is needed into your software. This means that patient’s non-scheduled treatment has been entered so that it will appear in the lists of your software. For example, if you have Tracker you need to ensure that the next visit has a pended appointment attached, if you have Abeldent you need to make sure that the treatment has had a contact created. If these steps don’t occur, then those patients won’t be on your hygiene lists or treatment lists. The good thing is that no program will lose this information, you may just need to find the information in another area of the program.
- All team members including the owner should be able to use the software in the same way for everyday functions. For communicating with patients, notes should be left in uniform places to make it easier for the team to locate information. Depending on the note topics there can be financial notes, appointment notes and treatment notes. Keep it uniform it will have a positive impact on internal office communication as well as patient communication.
- Know the reports in your software and use them. Most software has daily to do lists you can create to ensure your team is doing things on schedule, a short notice list for patients who are waiting for appointments, all financial information can usually be sorted in several different ways and there are lists to show of any treatment or payments that may be being changed without the owner’s knowledge. Your software is likely holding any information that you need or want, you need to be able to find it.
Your software can be very helpful with creating efficient services, protocols, and full patient schedules if you use it properly. Don’t blame your software if things are not going as you would like. Provide your team with the skills they need to use the tools you already have, to move your practice forward.