ASP practice management systems are a new and potentially useful service for the dental profession. ASP systems have the potential to reduce the time, effort, and expense required to maintain computer-based practice management functions. ASP systems can deliver a rich array of functions at a distance, eliminate concerns about upgrades, back-ups, and server hardware, and make management of client workstations easier. The ASP industry is young, however, and its companies and products will be in constant flux. Practitioners should exercise great caution in selecting an ASP system. If the ASP model proves viable in dentistry over the long term, we can expect to see a growing number of services being delivered over the Internet. Many ASPs exist already that serve many needs of small businesses, such as accounting, personnel management, and supply ordering. Application service provider systems also have the potential to improve communication between dental care providers. The ease of exchanging selected patient information between providers may result in more patient-related information exchange than is currently the case. The quality of dental care can only benefit.
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