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February 2014

DentaLab NewsFebruary 2014
from Mainstreet Systems & Software

FAQ  DentaLab News

 

No more...no more...no more

It has been a particularly brutal winter here in Pennsylvania as well as many other regions.   In years past, we would brave icy roads and mounds of snow to make it to the office, but thanks to modern technology we have been able to connect from our home computers to our network in our offices and to you to provide support whenever needed. 

But we are ready to say no more with the hope that the melting mounds of snow and ice will soon be gone.   And we know from your calls that many of you feel the same way.  Read on to learn about our plans for the eagerly-awaited spring months.

Early spring specials

It has been reported that this severe winter dealt a $50 billion blow to the U.S. economy.  Included in this were a great many patient cancellations for doctor and dentist visits and for our industry, less work for many dental labs.   We have been asked if we coiuld offer spring specials to help.  We have chosen two of the most popular choices for these:  

If you would like to store scanned images and electronic documents sent by the dental offices as part of the case record to save both time and money,  the license fee for the DQB Image Supplement will be reduced from $400 to $320, a 20% saving. 

If you have been wanting to add another user to DQB for greater efficiency, the license for each additional user will be reduced from $300 to $240, a 20% savings.

These special savings will be in effect until April 15, 2014.

Other spring projects

We have been working with the IdentAlloy Council to add the capability of selecting and downloading eCerficates rather than having to retrieve the paper stickers from boxes.    You will be able to specify whether to print the certificates on invoices and/or case material disclosure forms.  

DQB offers three ways to mark which technician completed each case item: 

  1. by keyboard entry from the case item grid
  2. by touch with the tablet workflow app
  3. by scanning barcodes with one or both of the barcoding supplements

To help all size labs comply with FDA requirements to record and retrieve this information, we are adding Case Completion reports for all technicians or one selected technician within a selected completion date range. 

DQB Release 1.38 is well underway and will also be honoring a number of requests submitted by labs.  

We have had several requests for group training here in Pennsylvania this spring.  Please let us know if you are interested.   

Friday afternoons

The most popular choice by labs for scheduling a training webinar has been Friday afternoon.   After working hard at other tasks,  we too find this is a good time to switch gears as we wind down the week.   These webinars usually are from an hour to an hour and a half.   Sometimes they are broad in scope, other times focused on a specific topic, depending on the wishes of the lab.

Continual education has always been an important part of our support program.  For those with a support agreement, typically there is no charge unless there was additional support or customization in the month.   For those without a support agreement, there is a bill typically in the range of $200 to $300.  

Call in advance if you would like to schedule one for your lab.

 

  Easy, versatile software for the modern dental laboratory.

To answer your questions...

Q:  To what extent can we customize DentaLab for QuickBooks?

A:  Within the standard version, there are a number of features that let you customize the system for your lab. In Options/Settings, there are many choices divided into categories for your company, synchronization, cases, invoices, purchase orders.  For some of these, there are further categories such as work tickets and dashboards.  You also given the capability of setting up custom fields for customers, items and cases.  Then in Basic Lists, you have the opportunity to enter your unique setups for customers, items and work centers, as well as a number of case-related tables such as case stages, lab notes, standard procedures, price levels, shades, tooth charts. 

The structure of the system has been designed to accommodate custom versions of your forms and reports.  For these, we work with you to design the specifications and then use a reporting tool to develop the format.  Beyond this, we often try to accommodate special requirements within the framework of the standard system.   If a lab's needs are so unique that they cannot fit into the standard format, then we create a custom version that is separate from the standard user-group version.   This is a far more expensive route and typically has been chosen only by corporate groups and very large independent labs.

Q:  DentaLab is an awesome system, but can it somehow get our doctors to pay their bills?

A:  Well not directly, but DQB and QuickBooks can work together to keep your staff organized and diligent in this effort.   They provide many features to help you project a highly professional image and develop a strong customer service reputation so that hopefully your customers will want to remain in your good graces.

Working from the opposite stance, there are a number of reports in both systems that can help you pinpoint who are your most worthwhile customers and weed out those who may not be worth your time and effort.  


      With the same look and feel of QuickBooks.

Designing custom work tckets

Over the years the most requested customization for the DentaLab systems has been work tickets.   Some labs want every possible case field on the ticket, some want very little.   Others make use of color and fonts for quick easy identification as the case moves through the lab.   In recent years, with the growing popularlty of outsourcing to milling centers and specialty labs, we have had requests for two-sided tickets, one to be kept in-house and the other to go to the outsourcing point. 

When designing your ticket it is best to begin with one of the standards and then modify it.  The two most popular choices in size have been the USA letter size and the international A5, which can also be used with the letter size cut in half to fit in the case pans.   Here are some points to consider:

  • If you want to have certain information viewable from a distance, such as the case number or ship date, place these near the top of ticket with a large bold font.
  • If you use pan clips, leave the top left of the ticket as open space so that no fields are obscured.
  • Be mindful that some fields such as the case memo, doctor preferences, and item description can sometimes be very short, sometimes very long.  Do not box this type of field in a limited space, allow room to grow so that there are no cutoffs in information.
  • If using barcoded case tracking,  each barcode must have sufficient white space around it to provide for a distinct scan.
  • Most cases can fit on a single page, but provide in your design for the possibility that multiple pages may be needed.  Decide whether you want to include text to indicate continuation or page numbering to say 1 of 2 or 3.
  • If you want to use colors for emphasis, the best choices are the strong colors such as red, blue, purple.  Colors such as yellow or pink can be hard to read.
  • Be aware if any of your personnel have sight limitations such as color-blindness.  
  • If you want your personnel to mark the ticket to show changes, completions, etc. provide space and/or boxes for this.   A number of labs who do this also scan the completed ticket and make it part of the case history using the DQB image scanning supplement.

We often work back and forth with labs helping them to develop a ticket to serve their unique preferences in processing cases.  Call us if you would like to pursue this possibility.

Adding more display screens

Traditionally if you wanted to have additional display screens for entry or viewing of your information, the only choice was to add more computer stations and expand the number of users for your software.   This remains a viable and popular choice.

Modern technology has expanded the choices.  One that we use here in our technical offices is the use of dual monitors.  Each desk has two displays and both are in continual use for software development where one screen might be showing the C# source code and another screen the specifications.  For a support issue, one screen might be showing an email with questions from the lab and another the DQB program or source code to do the research for the response.   Microsoft Windows allows you to have multiple screens open at the same time and most recent computer models come already equipped to accommodate dual monitors.

Another choice that has become very popular is use of a tablet.  Working with wireless connection to the database, the tablet can be placed or carried anywhere in the lab and uses easy touch technology. For DQB, we have developed the tablet workflow app for case assignments, marking case item starts, pauses and completions, searching for cases in the lab, and production timing analysis.   We will continue to add more useful features based on the feedback and requests from our user group.

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Customization is available for all products.

Contact us at 1-800-257-4535 or www.mainstreet-systems.com.

"Patty at Reliable Lab in Garland TX told us about your system and how much she loves it."

Sylvia and Herb Griffin
Griffin Dental Lab
Texas


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