The critical question, “Who owns the data?” the only acceptable answer is the dentist owns the data. However that also means the dentist must be able to exercise the usual functions of ownership. Only the dentist can decide who has access to the data. And the dentist can decide to take the data somewhere else at any time. And the data must be available in a readily transferable and accessible format, not a proprietary format only the Practice Management Program can use. Currently acceptable data base formats would be any fully relational data base such as SQL or Oracle. All the vendors will readily agree that the dentist owns the data, at the same time they often create obstacles in the form of proprietary file formats, (That’s the three or four letters after the period in a file name, such as .jpg for a photo) selected data base structures which don’t allow access to some data elements and data files which can not be identified with out using the original software. Any dentist who has tried to switch from one computer program to another knows it is difficult or impossible to get all the data transferred.