Dr. Alex Cranford
A conversation about what to look for in practice management software when opening a new practice with Dr. Alex Cranford of Cranford Orthodontics
Q: You chose Tops for your practice management software straight out of school. Why?
A: There was a lot about Tops that really spoke to me. A lot of it was how intuitive it was and the ability to use this system as effortlessly as possible because here you are going into a brand new practice... you're starting from scratch and you've got to focus on patients and building the practice. If you're in front of a patient and you look like you're trying to figure out where you've placed the images and files, you're going to look like a fool because patient scan pick up on those cues. You have to be as buttoned up as possible.
Q: Anything else?
A: Yes, in my research I called a tech firm to ask about their services. They asked if I was going PC- or Mac-based. When I said I was thinking Mac, they said, "Well then you'll never need us." And hearing that I thought, "That's one less headache to have. I don't have to call IT every day."
Q: We hear that some new grads don't consider Tops because of the cost. So how did the math work out for you?
A: My father is a general dentist, and one of the things I learned from him was that you have to make sure you have quality over quantity. And while you may have more costs up front, the quality part — having something that will allow you to focus your time on patients — is invaluable.Invest the money up front because it will be there for you in the long run. And when I started, the dollar was king. All the money was borrowed yet the difference in the quality made the decision easy. Here I am five years later and it's been well worth the investment.
Q: What would you tell new grads who are in the same position you were in all those years ago?
A: Don't look at the bottom line number of "How much does Tops cost to me." Factor in the costs of IT people coming in day in and day out. And then consider the non-monetary costs of the frustration from your team in the office and from your patients. Think about the costs when your software starts messing up your routine and the patients start talking about their frustration with their friends. That adds up as well. Tops is going to save you in more areas than you could appreciate until you're actually into practice.
You know, there's something else to consider. And it may seem like a small thing, but most of our patients are young and when they come in your office and see that you're using Macs, there's a wow-factor that really impacts your practice too.