I have a bad habit of letting my wallet do the shopping. Not more than six months ago I was looking for a new cast-iron grill for making pancakes. At Walmart I was presented by two choices. One was nearly half the price of the other. It was an easy choice and I bought the cheaper one.
Fast forward to today and I'm looking for a new cast-iron grill for pancakes. The one I purchased was okay for a while. But then it became more difficult to clean, the pancakes would stick to the pan, and it started to warp a bit, which doesn't help you make perfectly round pancakes. Had I purchased the more expensive grill, I have to believe I would have been more satisfied with my purchase.
Getting burned on a $9.97 grill is not a big deal. But I've let my wallet do the shopping on dishwashers, refrigerators, and furniture. Had I paid more for the better appliance, I would have saved money and avoided expensive repairs. Looking back on these experiences, I recall a voice crying from afar that I should spend more on quality and durability. But that voice always got drowned out by the wallet that said, "Dude, you're gonna save $10! Buy the cheaper one!"
When shopping for dental software, you'll do yourself and your practice a big favor by listening to logic rather than an emotional wallet. Why? Because switching management software is disruptive to your practice. You only want to do this once and you want to get it right the first time. The temptation to save a few bucks on cheap software is compelling: It's cheap and it appears that it will get the job done.
Moving your practice laterally, rather than progressively, can also compound a bad purchase decision. To be clear, if your practice is using client-server software (meaning you are chained to a server), moving to another system that requires a server is not a progressive move for your practice: It's a lateral move and it will have little to no impact in helping you build and manage the killer practice.
Again, doctors who make this kind of mistake are listening to their wallets instead of good sense. Cheap, client-server software is not progressive. I'm not saying it won't work—I'm saying it's not on the cloud, and that's where your practice needs to be. The cloud is the current technology standard. Staying handcuffed to a server is staying handcuffed to an outdated platform.
The dental profession is experiencing a great migration to the cloud. Every doctor is beginning to feel a gentle, logical tug forward. If you ignore that gut feeling, you may be making another trip to the dental software store to buy software again, which will disrupt your practice . . . again.
If you feel your practice is already the killer practice, then good on ya! I would say make sure your software isn't a source of drag or inconsistent with your brand. Imagine the patient that appreciates your killer office, your killer staff, your killer clinical skills, but then wonders why your dental software looks like it belongs in the '90s. Speaking of building the killer practice, dental software consultant Macey Bernards does a grand job at explaining how cloud technology factors help you reach that goal at www.curvedental.com/KillerPractice.
The bottom line is this: If you let your wallet do all the talking—or all the whining—you risk having to buy dental software twice before you get it right.
Andy Jensen has 20 years of dental software experience. You may find him in the appliances aisle in Walmart looking for cast-iron griddles. He is a member of the Curve Dental team based in Orem, Utah.