So, filks, transitioning to a paperless practice isn't a trend - it's vital.
What are the advantages for dentists transitioning to a paperless practice?
Andy Jensen, CMO, Curve Dental: The practice with less paper realizes better organization and security of patient information.
Jason McKnight, Coaching Manager, Dentrix: The efficiencies gained by having all the information stored within a single software solution are tremendous. A big fear of having a paperless office is "what if my computers crash?" This is a non-issue when an office follows the recommend back-up protocols of having multiple backups and storing them offsite. Literally, with a laptop and access to the offsite backup, the dentist can be up and running instantly. The bigger fear should be for those offices that have not transitioned to being paperless. What if there were a fire or flood? If you are relying on paper charts to store all clinical information, or worse yet, business information, what would you do then? If you didn't have the information stored digitally, the information is gone.
David Arnett, Co-founder, DentiMax: There are so many benefits to be gained from going paperless that it really is hard to list them all. For example, sending claims electronically is going to result in much faster insurance payments, using digital X-rays to educate patients will result in higher patient compliance with treatment plans, texting appointment reminders to patients will dramatically reduce the no shows, electronically sending prescriptions is faster and reduces the chances for drug and allergy interaction issues, etc.
Allen S. Jorgensen, Co-founder, Lighthouse 360: Katrina? Sandy? A "digital office," having all digital charts, X-rays, etc., is a protected office. This office can be "inconvenienced" by even the most major tragedy (we had an office burn down the other week - and saw the next day's scheduled patient on time thanks to being all digital!) but will not have any records lost. Now, if we turn that question around and ask about the advantage of keeping a wall of charts: How often is that entire wall "backed up and replicated" to be taken somewhere else and re-created "just in case"? Why is it that with a wall of charts - hundreds or thousands of them sitting there looking at you - that the one that you really want is the one that cannot be found? When a chart is "digital" it is always locatable and the entire office can (and should) be duplicated every night.
Jana Berghoff, Technology Marketing Manager, Patterson Dental (Eaglesoft): The biggest advantage is that it's easier to communicate about patients. In the past, there was a separation and lack of information sharing between the front desk and the clinical group. But with a digital patient record, what the clinical staff knows is right there for the front desk to use anytime the patient calls, without having to go pull that patient's paper chart. Now we truly can better serve our patients because their information is right there on the monitor.
Jordan Sparks, CEO, Open Dental: It can save a tremendous amount of time not having to hunt down misplaced charts. That alone is a good enough reason to go chartless.
Andre Montgomery, Vice President, XLDent: If it's done right, the advantages include improved productivity and workflows, better job satisfaction, better data accuracy, improved patient outcomes and improved patient experiences. In addition to all of these things, there is a big cost savings. Some experts have stated $25,000+ savings per year depending on the size of the office.
- See more at: http://www.dentaltown.com/dentaltown/Article.aspx?aid=4550#sthash.C2HsQQ0w.dpuf
What does the future of dental practice management software look like? What can our readers look forward to?
Curve Dental: Dentists can look forward to instant collaboration with their colleagues, dental labs and specialists over a current case, being able to share patient history and digital images in a secure environment and in real time. Software will become more "intelligent" in that it will be able to identify long-term trends within a particular patient's record, or compare a patient's current oral health condition against many other databases, find anomalies or similarities and bring these to the attention of the dentist. New technologies, such as digital impressions, will become a part of the patient record.
Dentrix: Cloud-based practice management software is making a big entrance to the dental industry. The ability to manage the practice from a smartphone is revolutionary. Practice management systems will continue to make running a dental office even easier. Gone will be the days of having that one person in the office who knows everything. Now the management of a practice's daily routines will become more automated and directions will be provided to each staff member, based on position within the office, on how and what to do throughout the day. The facilitation of communication between a doctor's hand and the computer's data will continue to become more efficient.
DentiMax: The future involves even tighter integration of the best ideas of today. For example, digital imaging and practice management software will become so integrated that the lines between the two will become blurred. We will also see further integration of practice management software with all the various popular hardware devices, including smart phones, tablets, Macs and PCs, etc. And we will see further use of the Internet to not only communicate with patients but to allow them to be completely involved in their whole dental experience.
The future also involves new ideas that include the enhanced ability to share information with patients and other practices, more automation of treatment plans where the software suggests possible treatments from digital X-rays, to completely automated processes like the payment process where the patients are billed and pay without any human involvement (think of driverless cars). The successful software will accomplish this with screens that are easy-to-use and understand.
Lighthouse 360: Practice management software will continue to evolve and exploit the hardware present at the moment. Just as a few years back it took a flight crew of four professionals to take an airliner across the ocean - and now the planes can literally take off, fly and land by themselves - with more efficiency and less cost. Any and all tasks that the computer "can do" should be done by the computer (hardware/software) because it will be done consistently and to a higher standard. This does not make the office staff redundant or obsolete - it enables them to be more focused on the tasks that are "people-centric" and they can better shine in performing them.
Patterson Dental: Readers can look forward to software that is easier to use, more robust and helps to support what they want to do and how they want to run their dental practice.
XLDent: Greater mobility and an evolution to and interoperable EDR.
Open Dental: In five years, when a new patient walks in, you will be able pull their demographics, medications and allergies from the health information exchange. There won't be any forms for the patient to fill out. You will be able to get an instantaneous pretreatment estimate from an insurance company, and when the work is done, the insurance payment will go directly into your bank account.