Test Those Open Dental Backups!!!

In my previous post I discussed the importance of backing up testing your Open Dental data. This post will walk you through setting up a workstation as an Open Dental server to test your backups. Open Dental has some basic instructions on their website. You should review their instructions, too before proceeding with these instructions. It’s been said before, and I’ll reiterate it here–a backup that isn’t tested and verified to be working properly is no backup at all. You’ve got to go through the process of making sure your backups are working. Plus, you’ll sleep better at night knowing your data is safe. So let’s get at it. Setup a Workstation as an Open Dental Server You can test your backups on your main server, but I suggest doing it on a different computer for a couple reasons. First, if you ever need to to replace your server you want to have gone through the process of restoring on a new machine. Second, it’s a good idea to have another computer ready to go as a pseudo-“hot spare” backup server. Open Dental makes this process extremely simple. The only file you need to get started is the Open Dental Trial Version. Once that file downloaded, right-click on it and choose “Run as administrator.” If you’re setting this up on a computer that already has Open Dental installed, uncheck the box for the Open Dental Program and choose a location for the database (see screenshot below). I like to put this in an encrypted virtual drive on the computer (more on this another time). Now click install. Click OK...

How to Backup Your Open Dental Database

The most valuable asset that any practice has is its data. Without it, nothing else really matters. You won’t be able to schedule appointment and you won’t be able to collect on completed procedures if your database tanks. This post will walk you through the easy process of setting up an automated backup system that will give you a nearly bullet-proof, semi-automated backup system for your Open Dental database. IMPORTANT NOTE!!! The only useful backup is a tested, verified backup. If you’re only copying your data to a backup source, but you’re not going through the process of testing your backup, you don’t really have a backup at all. I’ll show you how to test your backup at the end of this post, so hang around until the end. First off, let’s talk about basic concepts in backing up your data. From a purely technical standpoint, a backup is simply a copy of your database. This could be saved in a variety of locations or mediums (external drive, cloud backup provider, separate computer on the network, etc). The best backup system involves multiple layers of fail-safe protection. You want to have multiple backups in multiple physical and digital locations. If one of your backups fails you can fall back on another backup. With that being said, I think you should at a minimum have three external drives that you rotate daily. The drives need to be encrypted for HIPAA-compliance (more on this in another post). The basic strategy is that you’ll never have all of your backups in the same physical location at the same time. That way, if your...

Scheduling Appointment Tips – Lower the Barriers

In my first post on this series, I summarized the four essential components of running a successful practice. Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about the first step: getting patients to schedule appointments. Unless you’re running a walk-in clinic, having an appointment book with an adequate number of patients scheduled is a critical first step. Without it, you’ll be spending a lot of time sitting around wasting time online. This is also an area that a lot of practices mess things up. Too many practices make what should be a simple process extremely difficult. Let me share a personal example. A few years ago I wanted to have my feet checked out by a podiatrist while I was training for a marathon. I did a little bit of research and found one close to my home and seemed like it was a decent place, so I gave them a call while driving home from the office. I didn’t really know what I expected, but what should have been a simple conversation turned into what felt like a background check. The (very nice) receptionist asked me for every piece of personal information I could possibly imagine. She asked for my insurance information, including ID# and Group #, so I had to pull over to look that up. She detailed the office’s financial policy. When it was all finished, we spent nearly 15 minutes on the phone and I was more than ready to hang up. Why do I bring this up? Well, it’s an example of what not to do. Don’t make scheduling an appointment too difficult. Do you really...

Essential Components of Productive Practices

When you boil it down to the most basic, there are four essential components of successful dental practice: Patients schedule appointments. Patients show up for their appointments. Patients receive treatment. Patients pay for their treatment. Looks simple, and in some ways it is. But there are a lot of details for each one of these steps. In order to be a highly profitable dental practice, you need to do everything you can to be as proficient in each of these areas. Today I’m starting a series of posts that will address each of these key four areas of productivity. If you have any additional insights into each of these steps feel free to share in the comments section or you can contact...

Morning Huddle Report for Open Dental

Highly functioning teams need to meet regularly. One type of meeting that’s been proven to be helpful to many practices is a morning huddle. It’s a quick 5-10 minute meeting at most where the staff reviews the appointments for the day and discusses important issues and the overall health of the practice. Having data quickly accessible helps make this meeting time a success. One of the features that’s missing in Open Dental (as of version 14), however, is a morning huddle report. So, I did something about it. I built my own and have shared it on Dentaltown and the Open Dental Forums. Below is where I will keep up to date versions of various options of reports. If there’s something you’d like to see added to the report, please feel free to contact me. If you’re interested in getting automated reports sent directly to your email inbox, check out my service. The reports are saved as text files. To use them, simply download the appropriate query, open the file with notepad, and copy and paste the text into the Open Dental User Query. You can also save your reports to your favorites for easy access.   Today – Appointments, Scheduled Production, Broken Appointments Next Day – Appointments, Scheduled Production, Broken Appointments Set Date – Appointments, Scheduled Production, Broken Appointments Today – Appointments, Scheduled Production, Lab Cases Next Day – Appointments, Scheduled Production, Lab Cases Set Date – Appointments, Scheduled Production, Lab Cases   Have an idea or suggestion on these reports? Contact me.     Divergent Dental Resources, LLC is not affiliated with Open Dental...