Tuesday, 16 April, 2024

31 Mar 2012 | eLABORATE

news > Spectrum > Page 14

Bottom line thinking

The benefits of "computerizing" your practice are well documented. Compared to a "paper and pen" solution, using software offers a huge range of benefits such as the ability to find previous patients at the click of a button, producing auditable patient records for your entire patient history in a matter of seconds or running weekly patient recall reports (to name but a few). However, one main concern over computerizing a practice remains - the cost of software and hardware purchases.


Fortunately the software industry has experienced a major innovation over the last few years with web-based systems becoming increasingly available in most professions. A good example is an accounting system called "xero.com" (pictured left) which provides a viable "pay-as-you-go" solution to installed software packages such as MYOB. "Pay as you go" software is sometimes also referred to as "Software as a Service" (SaaS). For Prosthetists, BaseDiary.com.au (pictured above right) has become available over the last few years offering the same advantages to the dental industry that all web-based systems offer compared to installed software.

The cost of purchasing software outright represents a large capital outlay for a small business and could severely impact on cash flow in the year of the purchase. Such an outlay may even delay the decision to purchase any software package to computerize a practice. By comparison using an "SaaS" solution distributes the license cost and other fees over many years, making the software purchase easily affordable for small businesses while allowing the practice owner to benefit from the advantages of a computerized practice.

A common concern of using "pay as you go" solutions is that the business will never own the software it uses. However, the reality of software maintenance is that software vendors need to update, fix and support their packages which requires them to pass on some of that cost to its customers in the form of support fees and software upgrade fees.

As a result, the cumulative cost of software purchases continues to affect cash flow even after the initial license cost is accounted for. In contrast, SaaS solutions turn IT cost into plannable expenses with no surprises.

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