Planet DDS Denticon: A complete Enterprise solution

As I help DSOs and dental groups evaluate and acquire new software systems there is one thing that has become evidently clear: The world of software for groups and DSO’s is rapidly changing to accommodate the unique needs of this growing market.

Dental software with feature sets and functionality for DSOs and multi-location groups is more commonly known as “Enterprise” software. A growing number of vendors trying to take advantage of this exploding market profess to have “true” Enterprise capabilities but at this point few do. One of the true Enterprise software vendors, Planet DDS, which also happens to be one of the oldest, has over the years rolled out several initiatives that are helping its DSO and group practice clients reach a level of operational and financial efficiency.

As with most software, there are numerous feature sets that I could discuss. However, in this piece I want to focus on four major areas that, when you look at all these features together, help make Planet DDS Denticon software unique when it comes to the Enterprise world: centralized databases, cloud-based technology, Meaningful Use capabilities, and revenue cycle management services.

Centralized databases

So how does a DSO or group with 10, 50, 100+ locations make sure that all the data input and retrieval from all these locations used to manage daily operations and support financial analysis is done in a timely manner, with the most flexible reporting and analysis capability, and with the most efficient technology? Well, it makes logical sense to have all the data in one place, more commonly known as a centralized database.

The problem with some software which claims to manage multi-locations is that each location has its own database, captures its own data, and then through some mechanism sends that data to a common location. Or sometimes the data is not even aggregated from the different databases and what you see is what you get: A bunch of databases and information spread out over the locations. I have a few DSO and group clients that are in this situation and cannot aggregate patient records, cannot get the kinds of operational and financial rollup reports and analyses they would like, and cannot easily manage schedules across all locations. In addition, managing all these databases with many locations can be a technical nightmare. The answer is to have a common, centralized database of information where information from every location can be accessed and managed across the enterprise. Planet DDS has had centralized database architecture from the beginning.

Cloud-based technology

Assuming you do have many locations, but do not necessarily have full-time dedicated IT resources to help manage the system, how do you manage all of it? Well, then you’re talking about the promises of cloud technology.  You don’t need to manage your own servers, make backups, resolve system issues, or figure out how to keep your system constantly humming along efficiently. Also, a growing number of third-party applications, such as imaging, secure messaging, analytics, etc., are in the Cloud. So, having a cloud-based software system just makes interfacing and using these applications that much easier. Planet DDS was the first dental software company to offer cloud-based software technology.

Technology subsidy capabilities and support

If you’re familiar with my articles, webinars or podcasts, then you know that I have been engaged with helping DSOs and groups obtain federal and state subsidies to the tune of $63,750 per dentist. This federal money can be a windfall for many DSO’s and groups. Case in point, one of my clients had 40 eligible dentists which translates to $2.5 million in potential subsidies. One of the requirements, in order to be eligible to obtain the subsidies is that a DSO or group must use “certified” software. The subsidies are spread out over six years.

In the first year you must show a purchase of certified software, and in years two through six you need to report on various metrics captured within your software workflow. And here is the problem with some of the Enterprise software out there. Some Enterprise software vendors allow you to get the first year money by purchasing an extra “certified” component. And this works OK to get your first year subsidy. But not having certain “Meaningful Use” metrics built into your software’s workflow along with the reporting that the government requires, can make the process of obtaining year two to six subsidies very difficult, if not impossible.

Planet DDS was one of the first Enterprise software vendors to have Meaningful Use built into the software workflow which allows DSO’s and groups to more easily get the subsidies that they are eligible for. I have personally used their reporting “dashboards” to help clients get their year two subsidies.

Revenue cycle management services

Software-based revenue cycle management services offer the ability for a software vendor’s expert billing staff to access a client’s database for purposes of revenue cycle management and collections. A key feature here is that the software allows you to set up various insurance exclusion rules which allow you to customize revenue cycle management process. Several software vendors in the medical world have offered this service along with their software for a while now, and it has definitely helped cash flow for their software clients. Using cloud-based technology definitely offers an advantage in this area.

The bottom line though is that in general, the dental software industry has not offered this option to the extent the medical world has. Planet DDS was the first to offer revenue cycle management services using its software platform and company trained billing staff to help its clients improve their cash flow.

Planet DDS Denticon, an all-purpose Enterprise solution

The more options you have with your software, the better. There are some Enterprise software vendors out there that offers centralized databases. There are cloud-based vendors. There are even a small number of Enterprise vendors that have Meaningful Use built into the workflow allowing you to obtain years two through six federal subsidies. But, Planet DDS Denticon Enterprise software has all these options rolled up into one with a bonus of robust revenue cycle management services if you choose.

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