In an orthodontic clinic, it’s vital to have a smart and smooth practice.
These days, practice management software for orthodontists helps you boost your efficiency, streamline tasks, enhance patient care, and grow your business.
These great tools come in many varieties, but they’re not all equal.
Many have pros and cons that you need to consider before investing or switching. In fact, the wrong one for your business can hold you back while the right one can boost your growth for years to come.
In this article, we at Greyfinch will explain all the key things to know about these software and how it can work with your clinic—whether you’re just opening your first clinic or you’re an orthodontic service organization (OSO) with many locations.
What is orthodontic software?
Orthodontic practices have to handle tons of tasks and challenges. Everything from appointment scheduling to imaging to financial management—not to mention making beautiful smiles!
Practice management software is a digital and centralized tool that lets you do all of those tasks and operations and improve many areas of your practice.
Some of these are systems that you download onto computers and devices in your practice. Then, whenever you want to use it, you just open the software and you can access your information.
Some of these are server-based systems, which require pieces of equipment that you’ll keep in your office so you can store and back up all the sensitive data information about your practice, your patients, and more.
Some of these are cloud-based orthodontic software. “Cloud” just means everything is stored digitally or online so there’s no need for you to have actual servers or hardware. In theory, cloud-based software can be accessed from your phone, tablet, PC, Mac, and more with just a click.
But that’s not always the case with so-called “cloud” providers. (We’ll explain more later.)
Finally, a new category is those that are completely web-based, which is how Greyfinch works. To access your entire practice management platform, it’s as easy as going to any website.
Just use your device, get on any browser like Safari, Chrome, Firefox, etc., and everything you need is at your fingertips.
How can software grow your orthodontist practice?
There are countless ways that a practice management tool can help you grow your practice, no matter how long you’ve been an orthodontist—or how many orthodontists you have in your team.
Below, we’ll share some of the key ways it can enhance your business.
Keep in mind that not every single practice management software can do all of these things, but they are definitely benefits to consider when you’re looking for a new tool at your orthodontic clinic.
Book More Appointments and Patients
These software can give you great tools for managing your calendars, preventing double-booking, and reducing missed appointments. Some also come with automated reminders to improve patient communication and significantly reduce no-show rates.
More Productivity and Efficiency
By automating routine administrative tasks, practice management software boosts overall efficiency and productivity. Orthodontists and their staff can focus more on patient care and less on busy work, creating a streamlined clinic.
Better Patient Experience
Practice management software can help slash wait times, cut down on paperwork, and build stronger relationships. They also can enjoy more convenience with automated reminders and the freedom to access their information online.
Other automated activities can even make visits smoother and faster, which makes for happier patients.
These tools often include communication features like appointment reminders, follow-up emails, and treatment progress updates. Some of these software even offer 2-way SMS and emails that are fully HIPAA-compliant to improve patient engagement and overall satisfaction.
Better Patient Management
With these digital tools, you can create and update electronic health records (EHR) for your patients—everything from treatment history and progress notes to imaging.
Higher Satisfaction Scores
When you combine a better patient experience, more personal communication, faster appointments, and more, you’ll make for much happier patients.
Happier patients mean much better online reviews, referrals, and overall practice reputation.
Some practice management software offers unique tools to collect reviews for popular websites and can even help you collect vital feedback.
At Greyfinch, we offer a one-of-a-kind feature to help you improve your patients’ experiences that you cannot find anywhere else in the orthodontic industry—all under one roof.
The right kind of software gives you great security measures to protect sensitive patient information from unauthorized access or data breaches. They also backup your data to safeguard both your patients and your practice in case of unforeseen events.
The financial parts of an orthodontic practice can be complicated.
The right tool can help orthodontists simplify all their financial tasks—they can easily generate invoices, process insurance claims, and track payments. By having software that runs this automatically, it can significantly reduce tedious busywork (or errors). It can even offer a clear picture of your business’s financial health for better data and forecasting.
Better Treatment Planning and Imaging
Leading practice management software usually have treatment planning tools and imaging capabilities. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, orthodontists can use these features to visualize treatment outcomes, simulate changes, and communicate treatment plans effectively with patients. Then, it syncs with 3D imaging technologies for the precision you need.
There are plenty more ways that the right tool can help grow your orthodontic practice, but these are some of the most important!
How Much Does Orthodontic Software Cost
Short answer: It depends.
The longer answer: The costs are based on several factors. For example, the size of the practice, the software company, and the specific features you want.
Here’s a helpful breakdown of the common costs you’ll see for many orthodontic software out there:
Subscription and License Fees
Many practice management software solutions use a subscription model, with recurring fees paid by orthodontic practices. Subscription fees depend on the software company and the size of the orthodontic practice or group.
For example, if you’re just starting out as an ortho, your software might cost around $100 per month (on the lower end). However, if you’re a full-scale group, you might pay $10,000 (or more) per month, which is based on various factors.
Some orthodontic software charge licensing fees, which increase based on the size of your practice. As a result, the more computers you have, the more your monthly or yearly fees.
At Greyfinch, we have no licensing fees or rigid contracts—just one affordable monthly rate per user with everything included.
Setup and Training Costs
Setting up practice management software sometimes involves costs with installing and configuring the system.
For server-based software, orthodontic practices typically need to take care of initial setup costs, which may setting up a server infrastructure and hardware on-site in your clinic.
Training your staff to use it may also lead to additional expenses.
3rd Party Costs
Some practice management tools don’t have all the features you want. To make up for it, you can look for third-party software to install.
Keep in mind: this isn’t always practical because separate software don’t always connect together so it’ll create more work for you down the road. Some orthodontic clinics have as many as 5 to 7 different 3rd-party applications, which can rack up a lot of fees per month.
Support and Maintenance Costs
Always consider ongoing support and maintenance costs in the overall budget for your practice management system.
These costs include software updates, troubleshooting, and customer support services.
If your practice management software requires servers, keep in mind that you will always have to pay for servers, IT maintenance, and any issues that might occur.
What to Consider Before Choosing a Practice Software
Choosing a practice management system for your orthodontic practice can be challenging.
After all, there are many options out there and they can seem pretty similar.
To help you choose which platform is best for you, here are some helpful things to consider before choosing a system.
Know what kind of infrastructure you need before choosing a practice management system.
As mentioned, some systems require actual servers, which are pieces of equipment that can take up space in your office. When you have servers, you need to pay for the upkeep, maintenance, and ongoing support in case anything happens.
For example, in older systems, there is often no cloud access—instead, you remote into a PC to access your data. They also often require downloads for updates, as opposed to a platform like Greyfinch, which automatically updates AND gives you free cloud access to all your files.
Many software that claim they’re “cloud” are not 100% cloud-based. In fact, a lot of them still require servers, downloads, and other third-party installations, which means it’s not as agile or mobile as you would like it to be.
Greyfinch is one of the very few orthodontic practice management software that is 100% web-based (and we mean 100%). Whether you’re using your phone, tablet, or Mac, you have access to everything at your fingertips with incredible data privacy and security.
Whether you choose a cloud-based or server-based practice management platform, you need to consider how it integrates with all your systems and technology in your practice.
Everything from imaging devices, laboratory systems, payment processing platforms, and much more.
Do all the different parts of your practice link together? Do they talk to each other? In other words, if you change one thing, does the rest of your platform adjust or do you have to manually change everything every time you add a patient, change their file, etc.?
Integration boosts your efficiency and saves a lot of time and money.
Some providers offer many great features in their platform, but they’re only available at an extra cost. So while the initial fee might seem small, when you add up all the extra features you want, they can actually cost hundreds of extra dollars per month.
3rd Party Apps
As we mentioned, many orthodontic practice management platforms don’t have all the tools you need, which requires you to purchase third-party apps.
You need to factor all these extra costs into the total expense for managing your orthodontic practice.
It’s far more cost-effective and efficient to look for a system that includes all the features you need in one place and in one fee.
Easy to Use
It’s better to choose software that’s user-friendly, easy to learn, and free of fluff. This is important so your staff can quickly learn how to use it for a quick and efficient transition.
But if a software is clunky or outdated, it can be a lot harder to learn—this will make it tough for staff onboarding and lead to a lot of extra waste of time and busy work.
Every orthodontic practice is different. The right kind of software should let you customize things to meet your specific demands and how you like to do things.
Look for solutions that can be tailored to your practice’s workflow, reporting requirements, and treatment protocols.
For example, with Greyfinch, you can customize many different features and workflows to match exactly how you work at your clinics. That way, you get the best solution for you—not someone else.
Customer support is a very underrated factor in making your choice.
If you have a question or there is an issue with your software, how soon will your software management team be available to help? How helpful are they? It’s important to consider how responsive the company will be in supporting your clinic.
When it comes to orthodontic records, patient scheduling, and billing, you want to make sure to have the right answers as fast as possible.
Read the reviews and also look for what people say about the customer service before you buy.
Upgrades and New Features
Some orthodontic software are on the cutting edge. They’re always creating new features that are at the forefront of the industry.
Other software, however, are stuck in the past. They rarely make new updates or innovative features. Instead, they either play “catch up” (and are years behind other competitors) or they force you to buy third-party software that may or may not integrate with your practice management platform.
This leads to extra steps and tedious tasks just to make everything work together.
Always review a software—even your current one—and ask when was the last time they made a great enhancement. If not, it might be time to start elsewhere for a platform.
At Greyfinch, we’ve created tons of new features to stay ahead of the rest. Many of them, in fact, are the first ever in the orthodontic industry—all accessible from just one web-based platform.
It might seem counterintuitive, but don’t just look at the cost of the software.
Look at the total value that you get.
Ask questions like: Will make work easier for your team? Will it provide a better experience for your patients? Will it streamline busy work for your staff? Will it increase revenue?
For example, if a practice management tool eliminates the need for third parties, you can save a lot of money on those expenses, which should be factored into your decision.
Your Future Potential
Another important thing to consider is NOT “where you are now.”
It’s “where you want to go.”
Which software allows you to scale? Which software grows with you?
After all, the orthodontist industry is highly competitive. But if you can set yourself apart from the competition with your platform—and the features for yourself, your staff, and your patients—you can make put yourself in the best position for the future.
That’s why, at Greyfinch, we’ve created leading features like:
- NPS reputation management
- Patient Portal
- 2-way SMS and Email
- KPI dashboard
- World-class data warehouse
- And much, much more!
Want to see how Greyfinch can help you achieve your goals?