Category Archives: Dental

Dentrix on Windows Server Essentials 2012/2016

For many dental offices, Windows Server Essentials is the perfect server operating system. This is because most dental offices have less than 25 users or 50 devices which is the limiting factor of Windows Server Essentials 2012 and 2016. Why then does Henry Schein inform its users that Dentrix does not support Windows Server Essentials?

Windows Server Essentials retails for $559 (current Windows Server 2016 Essentials) and can cost even less when purchased with your server. However Dentrix is forcing dental offices to upgrade to Windows Server Standard* 2016 as oppose to Essentials. What does that mean for your dental practice? It means the cost increases dramatically! The retail cost of Windows Server 2016 Standard is $1,209.00 (As of 3/27/2018) this price includes 5 Client Access License (CAL) because unlike Essentials, Windows Server Standard also requires a license for each client. Client can be defined as each user or each device that connects to the server. This means that if you have 10 computers and you are licensing each device you would have to purchase Windows Server 2016 Standard with 10 Client Access License at a cost of $1,389.00. Dentrix is forcing 5 computer/user offices to pay $650 in licensing alone (no added benefit) and offices with 10 computer/user over $830 more (assuming retail prices).

Can Dentrix be installed and work in a Windows Server 2016 Essentials server? Well by my experience yes, but not without some minor modifications. Windows Server Essentials is a license but it also includes a Windows Server Essentials component that is usually enabled by default with a Windows Server Essentials license. However this component can be completely removed without affecting your license. So let’s remove the component and call Dentrix support to install Dentrix now, right? Well not really. Dentrix will require the doctor/owner to sign a waiver that they are installing Dentrix on a non supported device and things may not work properly. Well, that is not good. Unfortunately what this means is that if you have any issue, whether or not related to Windows Server Essentials they can tell you its probably because the device is unsupported. (By the way, in my experience, it depends on the tech, some will help you, but some will see the Essentials flag and decide that’s enough for them to stop helping you.)

Is the conclusion that Henry Schein is evil or trying to make Microsoft more profit or just wants to make doctors pay out more money… no… I personally don’t think so. There is a Technical reason behind this. The component that Windows Essentials installs uses a Framework from Direct Access to make its dashboard work, which shares the 6602 port that Dentrix also uses. However I would say Dentrix is choosing the easy way out, by simply saying we won’t support Windows Server Essentials instead of looking for a way around it. Such as removing the component on the server or changing their code to use another port. If you multiply $700 by the number of doctors using Dentrix on Windows Servers, I’d say Henry Schein is costing dental offices millions, by forcing them to use Windows Server Standard.

The above was written by an OCS Inc senior tech with over 10 years of experience in dental IT. While it is all written based on his experience all interpretations, comments, as it relates to Dentrix and Henry Schein are his opinion only.

Windows 10 Update 1703 Release April 2017 Breaks Eaglesoft 18

Urgent Warning if Using Eaglesoft 18 on Windows 10

Do not update to Windows 10 Update 1703 (also known as Creators Update or KB4015583) if you are using Eaglesoft version 18.

If your computer is set to automatic updates, it will automatically update to this version. How do you know if your Eaglesoft is being affected? Your login screen date will look like the one below:
EaglesoftDateIssue

Even after you set the date it seems to not take it correctly. The issue causes certain screens within Eaglesoft to appear garbled.

Patterson is reporting that this is a Microsoft Issue that appears to impact areas within Eaglesoft that were written in C++. Patterson Eaglesoft support is reporting that Microsoft will be issuing a hotfix within 60 days to address the issue.

We will keep you updated on the issue as we investigate further. If you need assistance rolling back the update or restoring, please feel free to call us.

For all our clients, we have taken steps to disallow the update from getting on your system. The update will not be installed automatically nor will it prompt you to install. If you believe you are experiencing this problem please call our support team promptly.

Information on the update from Microsoft:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4015583/windows-10-update-kb4015583

Release Date April 12, 2017

Eaglesoft on Windows 10

As of writing of this post Patterson Eaglesoft latest version (Eaglesoft 17) still does not officially support Windows 10 operating system. This makes Eaglesoft the last standing major dental software (based on the clients that we support and software they use) that does not support Windows 10. To be even more detailed the likes of Dentrix, OpenDental, Practice Work, Dexis all now support Windows 10 and have supported Windows 10 for some time actually. So what does this mean for you?

The dental industry has typically been slow to adopt changes, many times even skipping full versions of operating systems unless they are widely adopted. However this time Patterson’s slow adoption of Windows 10 may actually hurt your wallets and affect your practice. Microsoft is for the first time ever giving free upgrades from Windows 7 to Windows 10 until July 29, 2016. This practically guarantees the rate of adoption of Windows 10 to be much greater then we have ever seeing before! Patterson is working on Eaglesoft 18 which would be compatible with Windows 10, however a release date is still pending and has been moved up several times. Last we heard they would release in April, or May or maybe June… This means that as soon as they release you will need to upgrade your Eaglesoft to then upgrade to Windows 10 or you risk not taking advantage of Microsoft’s free upgrade to Windows 10. If you do not take advantage of the free upgrade it could end up costing you $99-$200 per computer just for a license fee that you could have had for free.

Well why upgrade just because its free? Not exactly, there are many benefits to upgrading to Windows 10. We know it changes things, and like every other upgrade, Windows 10 may initially be a challenge for you and or your staff to adopt. While we agree there are some things we really like about our good old fashion Windows 7 in our opinion the pros far outweigh the cons for upgrading. Windows 10 may actually run better on your older computers then Windows 7 did. Unlike Windows 7 Windows 10 includes BitLocker Encryption which allows you to encrypt your computers at no additional cost. Some may argue you don’t have to encrypt your computers since all of your patient data ideally is saved on the server. Well before you make that argument ask yourself, have you ever saved a patient file/xray/name etc on your desktop? Maybe just temporarily? If you answered no, ask yourself has your staff? More often than not we find some form of patient data on your local computers, so why not encrypt it and not worry about dealing with HIPAA implications if a computer is lost or stolen (Even more important for Laptops/Tablets).  Well Windows 10 will allow you to do that without buying additional encryption software. There are several other reasons to upgrade but we will leave that for another post.

The effect that this very late release to adopt Windows 10 will cause is not good! A very limited amount of time for your IT provider to all of a sudden upgrade all their Eaglesoft clients from version 17 to 18, and then Windows 10. Do you remember your last upgrade? All the little kinks you had to work out and you likely waited to upgrade until you knew version 17 was stable, you may not have that luxury if you are trying to upgrade right away. We are not complaining (okay maybe just a little) but this isn’t going to just affect us. Imagine if even just 60% of Patterson clients upgrade Eaglesoft in a 2 month span, the Patterson Support Team is going to be inundated with upgrade requests and support tickets. Let’s hope Patterson will have extra support available when they release Eaglesoft 18.

Okay finally some good news! Being that we support several clients using Eaglesoft we cannot conform with waiting for Eaglesoft 18 to upgrade our clients to Windows 10. We tried several methods to get Eaglesoft 17 to install on Windows 10 with no luck initially! We then discovered if you have Windows 8.1 previously with Eaglesoft 17, you can do an in place upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 and Eaglesoft 17 runs great. We have to warn that others online have reported some issues after doing such upgrades (our clients have not reported such issues). We typically recommend you do this with one computer in the office and once you are sure everything works well the rest of the computers can follow.

(If Patterson is reading this, our advice: Don’t rush Eaglesoft 18 that could lead to potential disasters, simply provide an upgraded installer for Eaglesoft 17 that works on Windows 10.)

The Ideal Computer for Dental Offices

It seems about every week we are tasked with the responsibility to recommend a computer for a dental practice. Every time the same questions arise and each time we present doctors, owners, and office managers with options. Today my goal is to provide you with the information you need to choose the ideal computer for your dental practice.

This recommendation applies to most of the popular dental imaging software, most have similar minimum requirements and recommended requirements. The Ideal Computer for your dental office will meet or exceed the recommended requirements for Dentrix G5, Dolphin Imaging, EagleSoft, EasyDental 11.2 and likely many more.

When choosing a computer you are to look at 3 main hardware components, the processor, the memory (RAM), the harddrive (storage), and for software the Operating System that is required for your application.

Let’s begin with the processor, most of the above mentioned digital imaging software will technically work with a Pentium 4 2.4ghz processor, but you are truly scratching the bare minimum requirements and as mentioned prior the Ideal Computer will meet or exceed at least the recommended requirements not the bare minimum. The recommended processor is an Intel i series processor. Such as the i3, i5, or i7 processor lines, now it would be easy to tell you to purchase the most powerful processor an i7 4th Generation processor but the Ideal Computer is not a very powerful and expensive computer it is a computer that provides the most noticeable performance benefit while remaining price conscious. The difference you would notice in a dental office from an i5 processor to an i7 processor would be very minimal, compared to the difference in price you will surely notice. As dental technology continues to advance processing power is important as it can help determine how fast your digital x-ray is rendered on the screen. So we determined an i7 processor is likely overkill for your typical dental environment, what about between the i3 and i5? What does 4th Generation and 3rd Generation mean? Are those the only options? It would be to simple if those were are only options, there are various i3 and i5 processors that operate at different speeds and as mentioned can be found in both 3rd Gen and 4th Gen versions but for this article I will try to keep it simple and recommend if you are purchasing an i3 processor make sure it is 4th Gen and if you are choosing an i5 processor 3 Gen or above is acceptable.

Now memory/RAM not to be confused with your harddrive which is responsible for storing your files. RAM is the memory space where open applications run and is cleared every time you restart your computer. The typical recommendation would be 4GB because if you are running Windows 7 Pro 64bit it is recommended to leave 2GB just for the operating system, therefore the digital imaging software has another 2GB to use for opening patient charts, digital images, etc. When does it make sense to have more than 4GB of RAM and how much more in a dental office? Well in some cases we do recommend up to 8GB of RAM if the computer will have various applications running. For example if the computer is the dedicated doctor computer, the doctor may want to have several web pages open, outlook, excel, patient charts, digital images and other applications all open at the same time. It is highly unlikely that you will ever use even the 8GB of RAM in a dental office, so anything above 8GB is just not worth the expense as it will remain unused.

The Harddrive where your computer files are stored is often the most wrongfully judged device in a dental office. Typically you hear how much data a harddrive stores 100GB, 500GB, 1TB or 2TB but not often does anyone ask how fast is the drive. This is a perfect example of more is not always better, in fact more storage on a dental computer is not just useless it could be more of a liability. Computers with more storage are more likely to store files that should be default be stored on the server such as patient information or digital images. It is is highly unlikely that you will ever need over 50GB in a typical dental computer harddrive. Do not spend more upgrading the storage space, find out the speed of the drive and see upgrade options that may result in less space but faster speed such as SAS drives or Solid State Harddrives. While it may still cost a bit more I would recommend a 120GB Solid State harddrive over a 500GB or 1TB SATA drive that spins at 7200RPM.

In the dental industry adoption to new Operating systems has historically been slow, in fact too many users are still using Windows XP. Only two of the above mentioned digital imaging applications currently support Windows 8 and 8.1. Therefore the ideally recommended operating system for a dental office currently is Windows 7 Pro 32bit or 64bit. As for whether to choose 32bit or 64bit, the answer is simple 32bit limits you to 4GB of RAM, therefore use 64bit whenever possible unless you have a specific requirement for 32bit. However you do have to make sure to use Windows 7 Pro, sometimes you might think why can’t I buy the computer on sale in Best Buy for my office, well you certainly can but it most likely will have Windows 7 Home Premium.

Conclusion

Quick recap, i3 4th Gen or i5 3rd Gen or better is the ideal processor for a dental office, and purchasing an i7 or better is more likely unnecessary and wasteful. 4GB of Memory is ideal but if additional applications will be running simultaneously you may consider 6GB or 8GB anything above 8GB will remain untouched and again be wasteful. As for the harddrive forget looking at storage space any drive with 50GB or more is more than sufficient, instead see if you can get a SAS 10,000 RPM drive, a solid state drive, or even a hybrid solid state drive / sata for improved performance. For the operating system choose Windows 7 Pro 64bit!

 

Resources that may help:

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processors/core/core-i3-processor.html

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processors/core/core-i5-processor.html

http://ark.intel.com/products/family/65504/3rd-Generation-Intel-Core-i5-Processors#@All

 

 

Portland Dental Office Fire Caused by Overheating Computer Equipment

Dental Chair After Fire

Investigators determined the fire. in a Portland dental office was caused by overheating computer equipment. The fire caused an estimated $642,000 of damage. While we can only speculate what type of computer equipment caused this fire and why, there are various actions that can be taken to protect a dental office and any other business from fires caused by overheating computer equipment.

Too often proper implementation and placement is overlooked when installing computer equipment in a dental office. Over the past years technology has become an essential part of a dental office. Computers are now placed in dental operatory rooms and many times the placement is as hidden away from the patients view as possible. However these computers need proper air circulation to avoid overheating. Just as importantly the computers need to be cleaned to avoid dust buildup inside that can create a perfect environment to start a fire.

How can an overheating computer lead to a fire? While there are various ways that this can happen here is one potential option. A front desk computer tower is installed underneath the desk at the front desk. Overtime the computer collects and builds up dust, depending on the environment this could take only a  few months to happen but so many dental offices go years without proper cleaning of the computer equipment. The dust in the computer builds up and causes the internal processor fan to stop spinning. Once the processor fan stops spinning the computer could reach extremely high temperatures and with enough dust build up could lead to a fire.

How to prevent overheating of computer equipment? Dental offices are usually maintained very clean and most have cleaning crews that come in every night to clean the office, this however does not prevent the inside of a computer from building up dust. Follow the following tips:

  • Have computers professionally cleaned at least every 6 months
  • Check placement of computer equipment and make sure fans have proper circulation
  • In server rooms/closets always check temperatures, keep it clean and make appropriate changes for proper cooling.

For more information the computers experts at OCS Onsite are always eager to help. Call 877-333-6532.

To view the full news article from WMTW visit:

http://www.wmtw.com/news/maine/portland/Cause-determined-in-early-morning-fire-in-Portland/-/8865266/19100638/-/7ubuusz/-/index.html