Purchasing, Starting or Expanding a Dental Practice

In Business by Dental Entrepreneur

Investments in Technology are Key for Entrepreneurs

One of the most important decisions a dentist makes is the selection of practice-management software and their software developer. Software is at the core of everything a practice does. You can’t run a successful practice without it. There are several capable software programs you could use to run your practice, but what if one required significantly lower combined initial and ongoing investment over the life of your practice (Total Cost of Ownership – TCO) and enabled greater security and productivity? What if it was far easier with that software to comply with HIPAA, to avoid millions in federal and state fines and to avoid ransomware and other malware?

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

If you’ve sold a home, you’ve looked back over time and calculated your TCO. You don’t realize how many heating and air conditioning units, windows, roofs, etc., you’ve replaced and how frequently until you have to calculate your tax basis for capital gains. Dentists should do the same when comparing computer software systems if they are to make a smart business decision. Look forward 10 years or more to compare your total investment, the “return” on your investment and the residual value.

Renting vs. Buying Software

Software isn’t like a car that you tend to replace every four or five years. Software is a commitment that should stay with you for the life of your practice.

Don’t be deceived when comparing an upfront investment to a monthly software rental. The software monthly rental fee might seem small for cloud, however you pay FOREVER, you do not own your data AND you rely upon people you don’t know to secure your data. And even though you may access your data using a Mac browser, your data is actually in Windows or Linux on a shared remote server, which is vulnerable to PC viruses and ransomware. It’s also likely will incur higher Internet service fees for both your primary and backup connection. Cyber security experts all expect Internet interruptions to expand due to DDoS attacks and the growth of IoT. If that happens, you will lose access to your data intermittently.

If you prefer, you can also make monthly payments on software you buy (versus rent) by financing or applying for a tax-qualified lease. A lease runs typically 3-5 years, but a benefit is writing your full investment offin the first year, reducing your income tax by thousands of dollars. After the end of your lease, you will only pay annual support and updates fees, and YOU own the software. This table contrasts some anticipated Mac Client Server, Windows Client Server and cloud cost factors.

The Mac Server, which can also be used for data entry, uses the same free operating system as your computer at home and may cost only a few hundred more than your terminals. Your values may differ. Workstations and network support are not included, but contrary to what many IT professionals advised, IBM reports every Mac saves them $535 over four years, which amounts to an additional savings of $7,500 or more over 10 years.

It’s clear that Macs cost less when considering Total Cost of Ownership over 10 years. And with 92 percent overall user satisfaction,

The software monthly rental fee might seem small for cloud, however you pay FOREVER, you do not own your data AND you rely upon people you don’t know to secure your data.

MacPractice software beat the other PC and cloud software in almost every category in the Clinicians Report User Survey published in March 2017. Clinicians Report is one of our industry’s most respected sources for independent evaluations and information on dental products.

Ransomware Kills Practices

In 2016 and 2017, thousands of malware events were reported affecting millions of patients and eventually killing hundreds, if not thousands, of practices, which are required by HIPAA and states to report breaches to HHS, patients and the media. Law enforcement agencies say most breaches, of which Ransomware is one cause, are unreported. This is bad for most businesses, but would likely be catastrophic for your dental practice.

Why Mac Users Aren’t Affected

MacPractice is ONC-ACB Certified native macOS dental practice management and clinical software with tightly integrated services. MacPractice designed MacPractice DDS and their iOS products to protect practices and patients. Because of their superior design and commitment to security, Apple products are not vulnerable to PC viruses, malware or ransomware. Malware is by and large developed to target vulnerabilities in Windows, Office, Android, web browsers, firmware and Linux. If you avoid these products and operating systems, you avoid cybercriminals.

Does Your Software Have ‘Built-In’ Encryption?

Unlike other dental software, Apple built encryption into their products for data at rest and in motion, and the password is unique and encrypted. They also built-in network secure messaging (email). All these are required by the HIPAA Security Rule, and a practice that protects its patients’ data in such a system can qualify for HIPAA’s Safe Harbor. Safe Harbor releases a doctor from having to report a breach to HHS, their patients and prominent media, in addition to reporting on their homepage. Something to keep in mind: More than 50 percent of patients surveyed said they would abandon a practice that has exposed their identity and health information.

Why an ‘All-In-One Design’ Is Better

All-in-one design integrates every practice function, including secure email, network fax, patient portal and other services. For example, MacPractice’s built-in networked word processor not only increases productivity and eliminates the cost of Microsoft Office, it also eliminates a favored target for hackers.

Apple Devices and OS – Least Cost

Many companies like IBM, which supports 500,000 PCs and Macs, have proven for themselves that Macs are more secure and cost less. As a matter of fact, every Mac saves IBM $545 over four years. Conversely, PCs require 5.4X more onsite service, and PC users call for support 8X more. In addition, Windows must be updated 104 times more annually than macOS. macOS is free and so is Pages (word processor), Numbers (spreadsheet) and Keynote (favorite dental presentation software) with free updates and new versions. On the other hand, Windows Server (required on a PC server) can cost $800 and requires expensive IT support, Windows 10 Pro cost $200/PC, and Office 365 costs $99/year/user while requiring an Internet connection and a web browser (another favored target for cybercriminals). In a seven-user practice with a dedicated server, Microsoft products alone cost$2,900 in the first year and $700 every subsequent year, as opposed to being free from Apple.

Apple Products Make People Feel Safe and More Productive

Apple users love macOS and iOS and are more up-to-date than Windows users. Along with the fact that Apple releases new and more secure operating systems every year, macOS and iOS are, and will continue to be, very hard targets for criminals.

Learn more about MacPractice’s advantages by visiting and registering on MacPractice.demo videos. See what MacPractice’s happy dental software.

Mark Hollis has a broad background in education, in public office in NYC, as a bookstore owner, a Certified Financial Planner, an Apple Product Expert, and a practice management consultant to more than 600 doctors’ offices for 25 years.

With 30+ years of industry experience, Mark is an expert with unique knowledge. His articles on Apple Technology, security and encryption, ransomware, HIPAA compliance and electronic health records have appeared in numerous dental and medical publications.

Mark was a featured lecturer in the practice management curriculum at UMDNJ for several years and has lectured at national and regional medical and dental meetings, spoken to doctors at Apple Stores and facilities across the US.

Mark is CEO of MacPractice, a client-centric practice management and clinical software development company dedicated to the development and support of best-of-class macOS and iOS native software and associated services for 30,000 dentists, physicians, chiropractors, and eye care professionals in 31 countries. Like at IBM, Cisco and most companies who off er a choice, Mark’s experience working with doctors has proven to him that Macs are better than PCs, and certainly more suitable for the business of healthcare with greater ease of use and security, and a far lower Total Cost of Ownership.