Dental Lab Software for your MAC

Dental Lab Software for your MAC

Written by Jeff Noles, posted April 26, 2012 • Blog

Sometimes it seems Apple products—especially Macs and the iPhone—have taken the health profession by storm.  Last Spring Healthcare IT News published an article titled “iPhone to dominate US physician smartphone market.” (http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/iphone-dominate-us-physician-smartphone-market)  The enthusiasm for Apple products is equally strong in the dental industry, providing a new opportunity for dental labs to build business relationships with dentists.  The only problem, until now, has been that most dental lab management software doesn’t work with Macs.

Web-based software such as LabStar now allows dental lab Mac users to enjoy the benefits of full-featured dental lab software.  In the past, dental labs using Macs had to purchase additional PCs just to run lab management software.  For those labs that use scanners or milling machines they just added the software to the PCs required for CAD/CAM hardware.  But for those labs that didn’t have these machines it was necessary to shoulder the additional cost, and hassle, of buying an additional PC to function as a server for their lab software.  That has changed with web-based software.  Because web-based software only resides in the browser, Mac users can easily use lab management software and also avoid the difficulties of maintaining finicky and costly in-lab PC servers.

This recent breakthrough in web-based software is because all browsers—IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari—use the same technology, something called HTML 5.  In fact, an open secret of the technology industry is that all these browsers are converging on the same basic elements, especially when it comes to the user interface:  same URL bar, similar navigation buttons and all use tab management.  In other words, despite passionate arguments for or against certain browsers, users can switch from the newest verison of one browser to another without any problem.  There are still performance differences among browsers and the market penetration reflects this—IE is still holding onto around 50%, Firefox with around 20%, Chrome with around 15% and Safari with about 5% (in fact some surveys indicate Mac users use Firefox more than Safari).

Another important benefit of web-based dental lab software like LabStar is the ease with which Mac users can connect their lab management software to outside iPhone and iPad apps.  Connecting directly to your clients’ smartphone with case questions, updates and photos has previously been impossible, and it can now give dental labs an edge over their competitors.  Although it’s hard to get reliable numbers on total iPhone penetration with dentists, it’s likely that dentists, like physicians, use iPhones more than any other smartphone.  In response to feedback from our dental lab customers, LabStar allows labs to use iPhone and Android apps to connect directly with their dentists and they’ve been delighted with the sales results.

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