Topics of the day:
Practice management software (Re: Andrew Kohl)
The practice I joined 6 years ago had OPMS Dos in use and it did a fine job for what it was intended to do. We connected 2 offices via a relatively stable dial up modem and networking system.
About four years ago we decided to take the plunge and upgrade our systems. I researched OPMS, Orthotrac, Orthoii, and Oasys. I wanted to stay in my familiar Windows environment and therefore did not explore Tops (I hear good things though) and others.
Over a long period of time I had added to my "wish list" that I kept in my Palm Pilot all of the things I desires in my next system.
I caught our regional rep with now Practice Works on his way out the door to another company and had a truly abysmal time of trying to just obtain a coherent and timely quote. Calls to management were similarly ineffective. Coupled with what I perceived as intentionally vague responses when queried about how long OPMS Dos would be supported, I was done with Practice Works.
By far and away, Oasys offered the most impressive list of useable features. More importantly, I needed to now have some kind of high bandwidth connection between the offices and strongly wanted to maintain a single server. I connect to my remote office via a T1 line (~400/mo in Cincy, OH) using Windows Terminal services. Basically, Windows Terminal services uses thin client technology. Your remote office terminals have no moving parts, no OS to maintain (there is one but there is no need to touch it). The desktop image I see both at home as well as at my remote office is generated by the server in my main office. Think of this as your television just representing the feed from the broadcasting station. Therefore, update your software on the server once and you've just updated every session that connects to the server. This greatly alleviates your time to do dentistry, not computer management. Other companies offer this, but Oasys embraces the Windows Terminal services utility with gusto.
I now have 19 computers plus 3 users connecting from home via Windows Terminal services. When I connect from home, I see the exact same screens as I would from either of my offices. I can also run reports from home and print there as well. I absolutely love the software. Great patient checkin system that we can't function without, excellent imaging (my staff capture images on each of their 5 tablet pc's), office messaging and system triggered assignments, integrated timeclock, electronic claim submission, electronic treatment card, a wealth of customizable reports. Every piece of the software is permission restricted by you or someone you've given the permission to do so. Should chairside assistants be able to view the patient ledgers? Sure, but refinance or delete them, no. There are many things I really think makes Oasys strong:
1. User customization. If you prefer Notepad to Microsoft Word, look elsewhere for your next system. I send my staff to the user meetings and they return pushing me to further utilize the system. It is nice that the system's capabilities outpace your own. I have intensively customized my new patient phone call, exam process, and professional correspondence. At the end of my exam, I print out a summary to the referring doc, and if applicable, a treatment plan, Truth in Lending statement as well as office protocol forms for signature. This is all possible via a very flexible system called Workflows whereby you create (or use existing) fields that are basically questions with predefined answers. The answers can be then kicked into a letter or translated into entirely customizable translations for the intended recipient of the letter (eg. referring doctor, patient's family, inter office document, etc...) All of these fields can be searched via the reports. Very powerful tools!
2. Responsiveness on the part of the support staff as well as programmers. If you want custom code, just ask. The code is always evolving and the updates are reflective of the desires of the end users. Feature that, a sort of open code!
3. One source for many bits and pieces of the puzzle that runs the orthodontic office. Time is money. Oasys helps me in a busy office to both stay informed about a myriad of tasks my staff perform on a daily basis as well as tightly coordinate all of our functions to work together as a team. Take "Assignments" for example. Every time a patient schedules for debonding, the system (with no further input on my part after I initially setup the original assignment) send my financial coordinator a message to both check to see if the patient ever had a full fee contract and that the balance is fully paid. Other Oasys users may not use this, but it's there for them. Another example: In the checkout workflow I added the executeable "ldgview.exe" which brings a copy of the patient financial ledger up right before the next appointment is scheduled. Again, nobody at Oasys told me I had to do this but it is indicative of how powerful and flexible the software can be.
As you can tell I am very passionate about Oasys. I am very pleased with the software, support and good people at Oasys. I apologize for the length of the discussion. I find it difficult to enumerate all of the attributes I appreciate so much. There is far more than the above to discuss.
In the spirit of financial disclosure I will note that Oasys knocks a few hundred dollars off my yearly support fees in exchange for helping out around the booth at the AAO. This year I approached Tom Gwaltney and offered too help. I do this primarily because I truly value the software and I enjoy the people at Oasys. Tom knows that my primary purpose for attending the AAO is for the lectures. When not with family at Disney or in a lecture, you'll see me at the booth. I hope this does not diminish anyone'e view of my thoughts above.
P.S. Oasys had originally been recommended to me by an ESCO subscriber.
Just wondering how my fellow colleagues handle orthodontic emergencies while away on vacation? My office will be closed with no staff available.
American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
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