June 15, 2017

How to Choose A Dental Dashboard for Your Practice

Are you in the market for a dental dashboard? We’d love to help you make a smart choice for your business (even if it isn’t BlueIQ). Depending on your wants and needs, there’s a ton of business intelligence dashboards to choose from with different prices and functionality. So, how do you know which one is best for your business?? Well, here’s everything you need to know to make an educated choice for the success of your practice!

What is a Dental Dashboard, Exactly?

By definition, a business intelligence dashboard is a data visualization tool that displays the current status of your business metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs).

To break down the mumbo jumbo, a dashboard tracks the numbers relevant to your business and consolidates them. Simplifying complex data so it’s easier to understand.

A dental dashboard is simply an industry-specific business intelligence dashboard for dentistry. It’s a dashboard specific to your needs, which is exactly what you want.

A good dental dashboard will be able to pull the data from your patient management system (PMS). Plus, provide pre-built dental metrics for you to select (which if you’re new to this whole thing, helps you know what to track). As well as, have the ability to create custom metrics to fit the specific needs of your practice.

To be clear though, not all dental dashboards are created equal.

Dental Dashboards on the Market

Here’s a list of popular “dental dashboards” available on the market as of June 2017. Please note, the list is arranged in alphabetical order and may not be complete. Click links for more information.

  1. Backbonepro: $99/MO w/ optional $399 success coaching
  2. BlueIQ: $299/MO w/ training
  3. DDSgeeks: $297/MO
  4. Dental Intelligence: $449/MO w/ $1000 training fee
  5. Divergent Dental: $149/MO
  6. Domo: Contact Sales
  7. iDashboards: $29.95/User/MO (billed annually)
  8. OnTrack: $39/MO for Patterson Advantage Customers
  9. Practice Analytics: $199/MO w/ training
  10. Practice by Numbers: $200/MO (for 4 users) w/ one-hour training
  11. Sikkasoft: $395/MO

Check Before You Buy!

A dental dashboard is an essential part of running a data-driven practice. Knowing which one is best for your business comes from knowing your needs and objectives. Here are some important points to consider and check before you buy:

Visual Representation, Usability & Team Acceptance

dental dashboard design and usability

First and foremost, business analytics are complex and difficult to interpret. Hence, the need for a dental dashboard to visualize your data and make it easier to understand. When your data is being presented in an uncluttered, clear and relevant way, it’s easy to assess where you need to act in order to improve operations and grow your practice.

So, look for a dashboard with a strong visual representation to allow you to assess the various goals that matter to your business as a whole. At the end of the day, being able to make informed business decisions greatly depends on your dashboard’s visual representation. If you can’t understand the information being presented, you can’t put it to use. End of story.

When choosing a dashboard, here are a few visual properties to consider:

Drag-and-Drop Interface

This is the ability to put key metrics into context so that you can better understand the correlating information, which can help explain a spike or dip in performance. It’s a straightforward and easy way to display the data where and how you want in the dashboard.

Color-Coded Performance Thresholds

This is the ability to designate a specific color to performance thresholds, allowing performance and progress towards goals to be assessed at a glance.

User-Friendliness

Make sure the data is being presented in an aesthetic, easy-to-understand way. But also, it's important that the overall software is easy to navigate and use. It should have a very low learning curve, even if you’re not tech savvy.

Presentation

The data should be dense, but not cluttered to the extent that it’s difficult to differentiate data points. Graphs and charts should be simple, yet informative.

The last thing you want is a dashboard that’s overwhelming and complicated. It’ll make for a bad experience and make it hard to unlock hidden insights into your practice. Plus, do you really want to ask the IT department or call Technical Support every time you want to run a report?

Instead, choose a dashboard that helps you connect the dots in real time so that you can take action more quickly. Go for one with a good look and feel. When you choose a dashboard that provides a fun experience and simplifies their work, not complicates it, team buy-in is natural.

In fact, when choosing the right dental dashboard for your team, you may want to consider giving extra weight to color-coded performance thresholds. They add an element of gamification that has been proven to drive employee production, motivation, and satisfaction. Especially, when the dashboard has goal-setting & tracking abilities.

Cloud-Based Software, Automation & Real-Time Data

cloud-based dental dashboard with real-time data

In today’s world, discs and hardware are practically obsolete. The direction most business intelligence tools are going is cloud-based. Obviously, the best part of cloud-based software is the immediacy; both the software and your data is immediately available for use. But also, cloud-based software has the added benefit of being able to access it from multiple devices, anywhere you have an internet connection.

When you invest in a cloud-based, automated dashboard, you’re investing in simplicity. Automation helps save time and improve efficiency without complicating current systems. In fact, an automated dental dashboard does the data entry work for you, pulling in the data from the necessary systems in real-time.

And when it comes to business management, nothing beats real-time performance checks and balances and up-to-date progress evaluations. More reason to forget spreadsheets and static reports, which epically fail to meet this important criteria.

A good dental dashboard, on the other hand, provides accurate, real-time data in order to help you make high-level decisions that positively impact your company’s welfare.

Scalability

dental dashboard scalability

Do you have, or plan to have, more than one practice location? If so, you need a dashboard with the ability to pull in data from more than one location. Allowing you to aggregate data from all locations in order to have a clear picture of the overall health of your organization. Of course, you also need the ability to drill-down into each individual location and their department data.

If you plan to scale, then you need a dental dashboard that can grow with you.

Integrations & Data All in One Place

dental dashboard integrations

If the dashboard doesn’t integrate with your PMS and accounting software, then it’s not the one for you. It’s critically important that you’re able to pull in all the data you need in order to make informed business decisions.

In fact, if you’re already using other business tools (e.g. Excel, Basecamp, SalesForce, Google Analytics, Facebook Adverts, or others), then you may want to consider a dashboard that integrates with those business tools as well. Allowing you to access everything you need in one location and compare that data.

This includes social media accounts. Hopefully, in this day and age, your office has social media accounts to market and connect with potential and current patients. If so, it’s important that your dashboard integrates with those accounts in order to track and compare that data as well.

When it comes to increasing efficiency, having your data all in one place significantly helps. Ensure your dashboard can integrate with the tools and platforms you use for the success of your practice.

Remember, business intelligence technology is all about being able to communicate the right information at the right time. An integral part of that communication process is being able to compare information easily. If your dashboard can’t provide the data you need all in one place, then you’ve done your business an injustice. Whether you’re analyzing how your digital marketing campaigns stack up against your print advertising, or how your practice generates new leads, having all the critical data at your fingertips is essential.

Customization

dental dashboard customization

No two businesses are alike. From building metrics to arranging them, customization is important. Having the ability to customize your dashboard, means you have the ability to adapt it to fit your specific needs. Otherwise, you’re stuck with their default metrics and layouts, or have to pay extra for a personalized system.

So, make sure to choose a dashboard that can adapt to your unique practice.

This is the best way to gain the insights you need to further understand and meet your company objectives. Trust us, you don’t want some off-the-shelf software.

Accessibility & Amount of Users

dental dashboard accessibility and sharing

Do you need to share your business data with anyone . . . team members . . . a business partner . . . a coach or consultant?

Then you need a dental dashboard with the ability to provide access to others and control what they can do and see within the software. Not only is it important that your data is safe and secure, but also, securely and safely shareable.

An important thing to consider with accessibility is limitations. There could be a limit to how many users can access the software. Additionally, there could be limitations on how many people can view a dashboard simultaneously. For these reasons, it’s important to inquire about limitations and potential costs to add more users (important info to know when evaluating deployment and maintenance costs).

Mobile Options

dental dashboard on mobile devices

Most dashboards let you view your data on tablets or smartphones. Either by mobile app or web-based (cloud-based) software. If this is important to you, make sure your data will be available in a mobile format.

Is Free Dashboard Software Worthwhile?

Nothing in this world is free. Even if you’re not spending your hard earned cash on it, you’re still spending your time and energy. So, if you’re wondering whether or not a free dashboard is worth it, here are a few items to consider:

  • Less & limited integrations (probably won't pull in all the data you need)
  • Less & limited features (e.g. minimal report types, storage limits, metric & user limits)
  • Limited support

However, there are some benefits to free dashboard software. Especially, when the dashboard company offers a free version as well as a more robust version for a fee. In that case, you can start with the free version to see if it will be useful to your business before making a big investment. Also, it’s easier to upgrade in the long run if your business grows and the free version no longer fits your needs.

Conclusion

All in all, it’s of great importance that you take an in-depth look at what design capabilities you require in a dashboard so it’s easy for you and your team to use and has a significant impact on growing your bottom line!

BlueIQ the Perfect Dental Dashboard

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