Is Cloud Based Dental Software The Right Decision

Thinking about purchasing cloud based imaging and practice management software?


While there are some good arguments in favor of cloud based practice software, there are some important questions you should ask before making the switch.


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  • How secure is your data? You are responsible for your patient’s confidentiality.  Since your patient’s private information is being stored at another location, it is important to know if your software company’s security meets HIPAA regulations.
  • Does your software company cover fines in the event of data loss? Losing patient data will result in hefty fines and penalties for dental practices.  Is your software company willing to shoulder any responsibility in the event of data loss?
  • How easy is it to switch over to new software? In the future, you may be interested in switching your imaging or practice management software. It is important to find out if your software company will provide you with a copy of your database(s) in the event of a software change.  It is also important to find out how that database will be provided (on a storage device such as an external hard drive or will you have to download it).  Any company that will not provide you with an encrypted copy of your complete database(s) should be avoided at all costs.
  • How will your office continue service in the event of an internet outage? Cloud based software relies on the internet.  In the event of an outage, you will not have access to any of your patient information.  If you are using cloud based imaging software, you will also lose the ability to take digital x-rays or scan in films.
  • How much does it cost? A recent conversation with a customer provided some insight as to how much cloud based software could cost.  Our customer had both practice management and imaging software through one company.  They were told that they had not upgraded their software and were four versions behind.  They were given a deadline and told that the upgrade would cost $2,400 or their software would stop working if they did not purchase the upgrade.  This cost is on top of the $100 per month they pay just for their cloud storage.  A dental practice with four operatories, two front desk computers, a server, and a private office can purchase Apteryx X-ray Vision from us for $2,820.  This includes installation and configuration.  Since Apteryx is stored locally you will never have to worry about monthly fees for cloud storage and you will never be forced to pay for an upgrade simply because your software is old.  Our recent cloud based customer would pay $2,400 for the required upgrade plus $100/month ($1,200 total) for a grand total of $3,600 just for the first year and at least $1,200 a year after.  Cloud based software is clearly the more expensive option here.
  • Does your software offer a backup plan in the event that they have an outage? While uncommon, cloud outages can happen. Does your software company have any offline options?  Recently, a common cloud based dental software company had an outage that effected all customers using their imaging and practice management software.  The outage lasted eight hours and was during normal business hours.  Since no offline option was offered, any effected customer lost access to their schedule, charts, and images.  Practices who do not use cloud based software do not have to worry about this since all information is stored locally.

While there are a couple advantages to using cloud based software, we believe the disadvantages greatly outweigh the advantages which is why we sell locally stored software instead of cloud based solutions.  Keeping your database stored locally puts you in control of your security.  Using a backup solution, such as ours, will ensure your data is secure in the event of theft/loss, or safe in the event of a disaster such as a fire or flood.  You will still have access to your patient information even if your internet service experiences an outage (Internet outages for cloud software users can be frustrating, embarrassing, and costly).  If you ever decide to switch software, you have immediate access to your database since it is stored locally.  While upgrades on local software may be required due to new hardware such as computers or imaging equipment, most software does not require an upgrade simply because you are running an older version.  Finally, cloud based software can be expensive.   Cloud based software typically comes with a yearly or monthly fee while most imaging and practice management software is a one-time fee.  In the end, you may end up spending tens of thousands of dollars on your software if you choose to go with cloud based software.

This chart will better illustrate how much our customer spends with their current cloud based solution, and how much they could save by moving over to Apteryx Imaging (locally stored imaging software) through Sodium Dental. For this example, we will use an office that has four operatories/hygiene rooms, two front desk computers, a private office computer, and a server.

Initial Cost (Purchase of software) Monthly Cost Total Cost After One Year Total Cost After Five Years
Cloud Based Software $1000 $500/month $7,000 $31,000
Apteryx XrayVision with backup solution from Sodium Dental. $3,670 ($2,820 for Apteryx and $850 for the backup) $0 $3,670 $3,670


If you are in the market to go digital for the first time, or simply looking to get out of your proprietary software, give us a call and one of our professional and knowledgeable account managers can speak with you about our software solution for dental practices.