Staff Reaction after starting Dentrix Ascend

Reaction to Dentrix Ascend after Training

Have you ever converted your dental practice software? If so, you know the time it takes to perform your due diligence to select the right software for your practice and then the effort required to review every detail of the conversion. Not to mention the downtime needed to train your team. This is definitely not a decision to make lightly.

Challenges for Multi-Location Groups

For multi-location group dental practices that have server-based software in each office, there are challenges in dealing with separate programs that may put the prospect of conversion into a different perspective. Some common challenges include:

  • Difficult to compare reports between the separate locations
  • Using or another remote connection is slow and frustrating
  • Staff logging into each office often kick each other out
  • Duplicative effort to set up templates in each office

Even worse than the time wasted is the expense of the servers and backups. As multi-location groups expand, they often take over smaller offices with outdated equipment. Then, since things are working, it’s difficult to make the investment in a new server, effective backup systems, virus controls and even just updating computers that are still using Windows XP! For a small office, the IT investment can quickly grow to $20,000 just for a new server and 7-8 new workstations. And again, you’ll need to plan downtime to install the new server and move the data over.

I have observed these challenges in several dental group practices and can see the real benefits of having a cloud-based dental software – and I’m interested to see if it’s worth the conversion!

Staff Reaction 3 days after Conversion

I have had the opportunity to work with two offices that recently converted from Dentrix G5 to Dentrix Ascend. One office has three doctors and a staff of about 12 and the other has two doctors and a staff of about 9. These are busy offices with very specific schedule blocking. They were my first experience with observing the before and after of a Dentrix Ascend conversion.

Due to the size and complexity of these offices, we brought in Dentrix Ascend trainers onsite. This is unusual since normally the training occurs remotely. The staff was super pleased with the training and felt well prepared to use the program with patients. Sadly, I was unable to be onsite with the trainers (felled by an unexpected kidney stone, ouch!) but I had the opportunity to work with the teams just 3 days after they went live with the new software.

I was absolutely blown away by the confidence level of both office teams in working with Dentrix Ascend. I was told several times that the program was just easy and they felt comfortable with it! I jumped in to help at the front desk to check out patients, review treatment plans and schedule recare and I had to agree. The thoughtful design of just giving you what you need in the right places (in IT speak they’re calling this NUI or natural user interface) works because there are only limited choices on each screen, which makes it easier to find what you need.

As a side note, we were interviewing an administrative candidate who commented on how current and contemporary the software appeared (especially compared to our past program). Between a pleasing appearance and my team’s comments about how easy the program is to learn and use, I think this could make a big difference in our ability to hire and train new team members!

Now, don’t let me lead you down a primrose path because it’s not perfect. I was often calling tech support with questions, some easily handled and others that turned into feature requests. And I disagree with at least one recommendation the trainers made and we changed up a protocol right away to make the practice schedule flow better. And, we are all very clear that we are just scratching the surface of learning this new program to not only use more features, but really understand where data is pulled from so we can develop confidence in the system’s logic.

Overall, the dental staff felt confident on day 3 of the new software. That is huge. With positive attitudes and confidence, we have established a great baseline to move forward. So, if you are running a multi-location dental group practice and you’re monitoring the progress of Dentrix Ascend to see if cloud-based software might make sense for you, now you have some observations of how staff react to this new program when it’s still brand new in the practice!

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AUTHOR: Jill Nesbitt
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