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Dovetail review

Make your dental practice smarter

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(Image: © Dovetail)

Our Verdict

Dovetail can manage your dental practice, but the high price gives us pause.

For

  • Optimized for iPad use
  • Speech to text charting
  • Create custom templates
  • Confirm appointments via texts

Against

  • Opaque pricing
  • Expensive
  • Lacks support for Android and iPhone smartphones
  • E-prescribing requires additional subscription

Dovetail was born out of the frustration of a busy periodontist, Pietro Di Battista, D.D.S., M.S.D., who after using separate and disparate programs to run his practice, decided there must be a better way. He ended up hiring a software development team, and wanted software that would reduce the paperwork burden, and parallel the way that dentists think clinically- hence the name of this software. 

Now in use, Dovetail has garnered multiple awards, and has offices in both Grandville, Michigan and Montreal, Quebec.

Practice management

(Image credit: Dovetail)

Features

Dovetail has plenty of innovative features to connect with patients and foster patient engagement. This includes a patient portal, that allows them to do more from outside the office. For example, the check in process is streamlined as patients can fill out all the necessary paperwork from home, ahead of time and at their convenience. Account statements can also be accessed, and without using valuable front office staff interaction. Additional activities include updating personal information, medical history, insurance provider information, and online appointments can be made. 

Communicating with patients also gets brought into the 21st century. Missed appointments and recalls can also be done via email, saving the cost and burden of sending out monthly postcard reminders. Interactions can also happen via SMS texts, often preferred by younger patients, and with a higher degree of engagement. In fact, appointments can even be confirmed via text interactions for a lower percentage of ‘No show’ appointments that can hurt a practice’s revenue. The confirmed appointments get updated on the appointment schedule, leaving substantially less appointments that then need a confirmation call by the front office.

Features

(Image credit: Dovetail)

Dovetail also has a strong feature set on the clinical side as well. For example, charting is simplified, with an odontogram, that is made to be customized, and can be drawn on electronically by the clinician, making it well suited to both general dental practitioners, along with specialists. Perio charting is also incorporated in as well.

Progress notes are also easily created, and can be enhanced with templates, there are premade ones supplied, which can be further customized to be shared among colleagues. The burden of typing is reduced through a drag and drop interface. Simply create checklists to easily record important information, such as a patient's past medical history, or standard materials used at the practice for restorative procedures. No worries about having to type this all in, as Dovetail also supports voice recognition technology to enter the data if preferred. Progress notes that do not get completed, a common event in a busy office, also get put into a ‘Homework bin,’ that then the dentist can get caught up on when things calm down. Workflow is enhanced as treatment plans can be created, predeterminations made, eligibility checked, and invoiced- all from a single screen.

Drawbacks

Dovetail does have mobile support, although only for a single mobile platform: iOS. This is certainly useful as it supports iPads. However, it leaves users of Android, the dominant mobile platform, with no support. Also, there is no native iOS app, which we suspect some users would prefer, but rather the software is optimized and approved for use on a 3rd generation iPad and higher running iOS 9.33 and higher via the Chrome or Safari browser.

Another issue raised is the learning curve for Dovetail. More specifically, a user was frustrated that Dovetail did not work similar to their previous dental practice provider.

Some older reviews indicate that Dovetail had a lack of custom reporting and data analysis. Thankfully, this has been addressed in the last year, and now Dovetail can “Create your own custom reports using any data points you’d like, organized in any way you’d like,” and even have charts made as well to better display the analysis.

An additional deficit is that e-prescribe, a quite necessary feature in many US states as well as an important tool for patient satisfaction so prescriptions are directly transmitted to the pharmacy so the patient is not waiting at pickup, is not native to the program. Rather, this feature is available via a partner, DrFirst, via an additional subscription, for an unspecified further cost.

Support

Support can be had via a choice of methods. The first is a toll free number, although the hours and days of support are not specifically indicated. The next choice is via email, and there is a dedicated on for support so requests do not get mixed in with purchase inquiries for easier routing. The last method is an online portal.

Demo

(Image credit: Dovetail)

Pricing

We lament that Dovetail does not include specific pricing on its site, and rather encourages practices to trial it with a free demo or trial. We would rather have some upfront pricing, rather than to get attached to this service, only to later find out the pricing is not favorable to the practice.

Dovetail does indicate that its platform does include most everything, except for a few third party add ons that include e-claims, e-prescribe and SMS confirmations.

Further research indicates that Dovetail does come at a premium as it starts at a lofty $549 (£443) per month subscription, which is a higher cost than its competitors.

Final verdict

Dovetail provides significant advantages to your practice that includes patient engagement via SMS and email, streamlined workflow for treatment plans and charting, and a robust patient portal. The disadvantages are also notable to include a high cost, a lack of mobile apps, and lacking to have the increasingly popular e-prescribing natively in the program. While we like the package of features, the expense compared to other competing dental practice management solutions and other drawbacks does give us some pause.