Wondering how to build practice management software for your dental practice? Take the following steps:
1. Compare your ideas for a dental practice management software with competitor’s products
You likely have ideas for building your dental practice management software. However, it helps when you review other prominent dental management software products. You might then get important ideas.
Review both server-based software and cloud-based software. The following are a few well-known dental practice management software:
- Ace Dental;
- Curve Dental;
You can decide on the essential features to offer by analyzing the pros and cons of these dental software products.
2. Onboard a team to kick-start your dental office management software development project
You should assemble a team to initiate and plan your proposed dental practice management software solution. A competent project manager (PM) should lead this team. Look for a PM that knows the following:
- Project management knowledge areas;
- Top PM methodologies;
- Important PM best practices;
- Prominent PM frameworks.
You need a capable software architect on this team. Furthermore, you need a few business analysts. This team will gather and manage the requirements. It will formulate the software development approach and plan the project.
3. Decide on the features to offer in your proposed dental practice management software
Business analysts need detailed discussions with the business stakeholders in your organization. They should gather the functional requirements and document them. The architect should assist them, and the PM should lead the effort.
You might offer some or all of the following capabilities in your proposed dental practice management software:
- An integrated patient portal;
- Capabilities to store patient records securely;
- Patient communication tools;
- Aids to treatment planning;
- Capabilities to provide electronic prescriptions;
- Patient scheduling;
- Capabilities to handle appointment requests and confirm appointments;
- Automated appointment reminders;
- Clinical charting;
- Capabilities to manage digital imaging and imaging equipment;
- Reputation management;
- Contact databases;
- A repository of useful content like online training materials, “how-to” videos, free demos of useful products, etc.;
- Billing processes;
- Capabilities to process payments;
- Customer support options, e.g., phone support, email support, and chat support;
- Patient engagement capabilities.
1. The above isn’t an exhaustive list of key features. You could certainly offer more features.
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2. Decide whether you will create a cloud-based or server-based dental office management software.
3. Choose whether you will offer web and mobile apps. Furthermore, identify the target mobile operating systems. In this guide, we assume that you will offer web and mobile apps. We also assume that you will target Android and iOS, the 2 leading mobile operating systems.
4. Identify the features of the dental practice management software MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
You would likely test your dental software ideas in the market. Feedback from the market helps you validate your business ideas. You will likely launch an MVP for this. While it will be a functional product, it will have fewer features than the final software.
Consult an appropriate MVP guide and identify the features of the MVP. You should identify high-impact features that are easy to implement.
5. Decide on the non-functional requirements of the proposed practice management software for dental care organizations
The architect in your team should decide on the non-functional requirements (NFRs) by studying the important industry benchmarks. NFRs include performance, scalability, maintainability, testability, security, etc.
A note about security is important when we talk about practice management software for dental practices. Privacy and security of patient data like electronic health records (EHRs) are crucial. Your organization must be HIPAA-compliant. You should implement robust data security measures.
6. Choose a technology stack and formulate a software development approach
You need to decide on a tech stack and software development approach. Do the following:
A. Choose a software architecture pattern
Offering a set of complex features all in one software can make a project complex. Stringent non-functional requirements can add to the complexities. Software architecture is the key to navigating these complexities.
The architect should make sound software architectural decisions. Your team should also choose a suitable software architecture pattern.
B. Decide on a technology stack for web development
C. Choose technology stacks for mobile development
We recommend you develop native Android and iOS apps. Native apps use the features of mobile devices and operating systems optimally. Therefore, they offer the best user experience, performance, and security.
Use Swift for native iOS development. Apple prefers this modern programming language. Swift offers high performance, security, and productivity.
D. Select databases for dental software development
You need to choose appropriate databases for developing dental software programs. Based on your requirements, you can choose between SQL and NoSQL databases.
Well-known open-source databases exist in both categories. For e.g., you can choose either MySQL or MongoDB. You can also choose one between MongoDB and PostgreSQL. The architect in your team should choose a database after analyzing factors like scalability, data integrity, ease of use, etc.
E. Choose a cloud provider and cloud platform
Cloud computing made it easier to develop software solutions. You too can take advantage of cloud computing.
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Your software architect should decide the kind of cloud platforms to use. You might choose one of IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), and MBaaS (Mobile-Backend-as-a-Service).
The architect should choose an appropriate cloud deployment model, e.g., public cloud, private cloud, etc. You should compare the top cloud providers and analyze their strengths. The architect should compare PaaS providers and MBaaS platforms if you need them.
F. Decide on an API development approach
While you might use a few 3rd party APIs for non-core features, we recommend you develop your own APIs for core features. GraphQL and REST are two well-known approaches for API development. Both have their strengths. You might find more developers with RESTful API development experience since REST is well established.
Note: Your requirements might prompt you to use cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), or Internet-of-Things (IoT). You need to choose relevant technology stacks for these work streams. E.g., you can use machine learning tools like TensorFlow for ML development.
7. Plan the dental management software development project
Managing dental practices efficiently requires robust software. Operational costs can be high for a dental practice. Set-up fees can be high too, therefore, dental practices need to operate smartly.
If you talk to a dedicated success coach for growing your dental practice, then you might have heard about the importance of operational efficiency. Your proposed dental practice management software needs simplicity as its cornerstone.
Team members in your organization shouldn’t face a steep learning curve with your proposed application. The system should offer an efficient workflow. It should make mundane tasks like credit card processing and front-office tasks easy.
Building such a high-quality business application takes sound planning! Your PM should plan the key activities like risk management, hiring, quality management, etc. in detail. The project plan should utilize the strengths of the agile methodology.
8. Hire software developers to build the proposed dental practice management software
You now need developers, testers, etc. for project execution. We recommend the following:
A. Identify the roles for hiring
You should hire competent people for the following roles:
- UI (user interface) designers;
- Web developers;
- Android developers;
- iOS developers;
- DevOps engineers.
B. Look for developers with experience in building practice management software for dental practices
Developing a software solution to manage dental offices can be complex. You should look for developers with experience in creating such applications. Evaluate whether developers know the following:
- Intricacies of various dental practice technology solutions;
- How modern dental practices spanning multiple locations manage their operations;
- Best practices for implementing solutions for automated patient communications;
- What dental professionals look for in practice management software;
- How dental practitioners like oral surgeons plan patient care;
- Best practices for organizing useful content, e.g., customized training material, training videos, etc.;
- How dental care companies utilize platforms like the dental product shopper to grow business;
- Best practices for managing multiple providers;
- How to manage multi-location practices;
- Key features needed in the support portal of a dental practice;
- Best practices to manage documents like treatment plans;
- Managing dental offices with different business hours and support hours;
- How dental practices process payments securely;
- Scope for streamlining office tasks in dental practices.
C. Look for the right hiring platform
While you might think of hiring freelancers, we don’t recommend that approach. Freelancers work part-time on your project. They might leave your project mid-way. In that case, you need to find replacement developers. Freelance platforms don’t offer any project management support.
You should hire full-time developers from a trustworthy hybrid software development company like DevTeam.Space. Our developers are skilled, experienced, and motivated. We also provide project management support.
D. Interview candidates
You should post your job requirements after choosing a hiring approach. Interview the applicants. Ask questions that help you evaluate the hands-on skills of candidates. You can use our sets of interview questions and answers, e.g.:
- Node.js interview questions;
- Java interview questions;
- Python interview questions;
- Swift interview questions;
- SQL interview questions.
E. Onboard developers
Now that you found developers, you should onboard them effectively. Explain project requirements and share the relevant documents. Grant access to the technical environment of the project.
Introduce new developers to your existing team. Set up a communication process and explain the project schedule. Establish accountability.
9. Design and develop the proposed practice management software for dental care providers
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Having completed planning and preparation, you can now start design and development. Do the following:
A. Plan “sprints” with appropriate features
We recommend you follow the scrum framework. Develop the proposed app in “sprints”, i.e., iterations. Your team should analyze and estimate different features. Subsequently, the team should plan for them in different sprints.
B. Design the UI (user interface)
Your UI designers should use appropriate guidelines for designing the web app UI. The UI design team should use the Material Design Guidelines for the Android app UI design. The team needs to follow the Human Interface Guidelines for the iOS app UI design.
C. Design and implement a robust application security solution
A dental practice management software must incorporate robust data security & privacy measures since it will process sensitive information. Formulate and implement a sound application security solution.
The solution should include modern tools like MFA (multi-factor authentication) or digital signatures. It should cover aspects like encryption, antivirus, firewall, and API security. You should proactively identify and mitigate application security vulnerabilities and plan compliance tests.
D. Develop your own APIs
You can develop RESTful APIs by taking the following steps:
- Develop APIs using an API development tool like Postman;
- Document APIs using a tool like Swagger;
- Test APIs;
- Secure APIs using encryption, authentication, quotas, and throttling;
- Create rules for API requests and responses;
- Design API endpoints;
- Host APIs using a cloud platform.
E. Develop, test, and deploy web and mobile apps
You can use a popular IDE (Integrated Development Environment) like Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA for coding the web app. Integrate the APIs. Test and deploy the web app using the DevOps tools provided by the cloud platform.
Use Android Studio to code the Android app. After integrating APIs, test the app using Espresso. You can use the appropriate Google Play guidelines for publishing the app.
Code the iOS app using Xcode, the popular IDE. Integrate APIs. Test the app using XCTest. Subsequently, submit the app to the Apple App Store by following the appropriate guidelines.
Submit a Project With Zero Risk
You need to spend significant effort to build a dental practice management software application. Your project needs competent software developers.
At DevTeam.Space, we have high-quality software developers with relevant expertise. Our dedicated developers have been vetted and trained in our AI-powered agile process.
If you want to learn more, simply fill out our DevTeam.Space product specification form. One of our experienced account managers will get in touch to answer any questions you might have.
DevTeam.Space has skilled and experienced software developers with relevant expertise. For e.g., our developers have created DentaMatch, a dental practice management app. Our world-class development processes help you to succeed.
DevTeam.Space team members that will work with you for building your dental practice management software understand the importance of maintainability. You will not only get functional software but you will also get supportable and maintainable code.
DevTeam.Space provides competent developers and cohesive software development teams. Furthermore, you get complementary support from a dedicated tech account manager. Our account manager provides oversight of the work of our team members.