Bridging to other software

Bridging to other software has advantages and disadvantages.  On the one hand, Bridges can be a quick method of tying two programs together.  However, Bridges are less reliable and the connection between programs is relatively fragile. This results in more problems and error messages. In addition, its another piece of software to worry about, so you've increased your risk of something breaking down.

Advantages

  1. Quick method of tying two programs together allowing you to launch a secondary software program without having to enter in patient information a second time.
  2. Good choice for programs that do not have any of their own imaging or charting modules.
  3. Inexpensive solution when secondary program is FREE. Costs for a bridge $500-1,000.

Disadvantages

  1. Bridges are less reliable and the connection between programs is relatively fragile. This results in more problems and error messages. In addition, its another piece of software to worry about, so you've increased your risk of something breaking down.
  2. Shared information is limited to basic patient information.
  3. Case presentation is limited by having to switch screens between programs.
  4. Important information is not easily accessed within the same program.    Example: Images, treatment plans, clinical notes, perio/restorative charting, transactions, patient education.
  5. Possibility of database corruption.
  6. Changing software for any reason down the road will require a new bridge, adding to the cost. This would also require the conversion of existing data into the new program. Some programs are proprietary and cannot be converted at all.
  7. Bridged software don’t typically have the ability to mix hardware products.
  8. Limited ability to merge to other programs such as Microsoft products (Word).

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