Dental Hygienists need a solution...

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Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:13 am

Dental Hygienists need a solution...

Post by jef » Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:23 am

In Ontario, Canada, Dental Hygienists have recently been allowed to set up their own dental practice. A huge start up barrier is the cost of dental software because there does not seem to be anything available in a scaled down version for Hygienists or at a reasonable price. I am looking for anyone who has faced a similar problem - Open Dental is attractive because it does look effective and affordable but one main consideration for us is user friendliness.

Dental Hygienists in Ontario are staring with very small practices and will also be the primary users of the software. Preferably, I am looking for a Mac OS X solution but find the information very ambiguous regarding running Open Dental on a Mac (we have tried running Windows emulators but that complicates things for the users and does not rid us of the problems of using Windows which we would like to avoid).

If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know - thanks in advance!

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Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:24 am

Re: Dental Hygienists need a solution...

Post by stjames70 » Sat Dec 04, 2010 3:40 am

Hi jef,

Our setup:

1) MacPro (early 2008) 2.8 octocore with 16gb of RAM and 4TB of internal storage with 7 iMac (early 2009) workstations and 4 Dell (2005) workstations.
2) MacPro runs OSX with Open Dental running in a virtualized (VM Ware Fusion 3.0) XP box with all the iMac workstations set up in identical fashion as the MacPro. Of course the Dells just run XP Pro natively.
3) MacPro has Remote Desktop application which can control all the workstations including the Dells (TightVNC installed on the Dells)
4) Dexis digital solution running on XP Pro

You could buy all the hardware above second hand and save yourself a pretty penny. This solution is amazingly fast, stable, and they are all linked together through an Airport Extreme base stations, and Airport Express for the Dells (our office was not originally wired for CAT-5 which should really be the way to go -- nevertheless, the wireless solution is 99% stable, requiring nothing more than a simple unplugging, 30 seconds and replugging the power to the Airport Extreme base station to reset it right). You could reuse the XP keys from older windows computers in your macs. We set up one virtual machine in one of the iMacs and we simply copied/cloned that one virtual machine to all the other iMacs. Make sure that all the other iMacs are identical (this is important in order to avoid activation issues for XP as your hardware configuration may be verified before XP can be fully activated).

Now, this may not sound appealing to you as you are still running Windows, but from an IT standpoint, this set-up is great because then you will be able to fix most problems on your own without IT support after everything is up and running smoothly.

If one of your staff ever gets a virus into one of your Macs, simply drag that XP Virtual Machine into the trash, and copy an uncorrupted VM from one of the other Macs into the previously corrupted Mac.

One of my friends went one step further and on the day he created the first virtual XP on the first iMac, he simply copied that virtual XP machine into a 16gb USB memory stick. That way, anytime one of the virtual XP boxes started having problems, he simply erased it, and copied a new one from that USB key. No need to rebuild, reboot or hunt for viruses. Trust me, despite your best efforts, someone in your staff will use your computers and allow a virus to invade your computer.

THUS, the real question you should be asking is whether or not this will save you time and money. And my unequivocal answer is yes. You will be investing your money on really fast and great hardware, and you will be spending minimal costs on the software. By the way OD is superb -- my only gripe is that it will not run natively on the Mac. OD will update itself, shut off all open instances of OD for you on the other workstations automatically, and literally takes seconds after the download is complete. Nothing could be easier or more satisfying as far as updating software. Oh, did I say that this particular set-up is blazingly fast?

I did explore the available Mac solutions, and they are all very expensive with much less flexibility than OD. OD will provide you the bridges for other digital radiograph systems software for free, whereas all other vendors charge you an arm and a leg for that function. The current status quo for practice management software leans toward the Wintel world, so it is much easier to find quality, affordable software on the Windows side. I don't think you can avoid that.

I hope this helps.

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Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:38 pm

Re: Dental Hygienists need a solution...

Post by carldowning » Mon May 16, 2011 11:51 am

Hi stjames70,

Can you elaborate on the use of the dell boxes in tandem with the imacs? Any particular reason or just haven't replaced them yet? Also I'm not clear on what is the server? Is the Macpro acting as a server with imacs and dell PC's as workstations? Also you said you have RDC on the macpro. CAn you tell me why you have that or how it is used when you're running in VM mode? And, have you ever tried having a PC server and having RDC on each workstation to connect to the server? If so what was the downside?

Thanks so much in advance. I felt the same way about paying a ton for Macpractice and utilizing about 10% of it.


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Re: Dental Hygienists need a solution...

Post by alhalwachi » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:30 am

Excellent thread, thanks for all

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