Dr. Ryan S. Brown, DDS, shares with us in this article how to go paperless in your practice with dental software.
Throw out your progress notes, x-ray film, and the other systems that you have used for years and try going into work the next day with an all new paperless system that you and your staff have neither seen nor used – and did I mention that your day is packed full of patients?
This kind of nightmare would make any dental team anxious and would prove a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, offices that want to go paperless don’t have to do it all at once, but can take it one step at a time.
Let me suggest three initial steps to going paperless:
(1) create treatment plans from within your software
(2) go digital with your x-rays
(3) use some type of digital document software
Use Your Software to Create Treatment Plans
Computerized perio measurements means instant access to patients’ perio charts from any office computer.
Many offices still use paper to record patient treatment plans. They may feel that the computer is too slow, be adverse to change, or see no real value to creating treatment plans on the computer.
The truth is, with today’s practice management systems like DentiMax, Dentrix, Eaglesoft and others, treatment planning from the computer within your operatory is always faster. But beyond increasing your treatment plan recording speed, electronically captured information is easier to access and will lend itself to a better office workflow.
How Dental Software Can Help
The right dental software can help. Going paperless is easy then. You can print things as you need them, not just because you have to.
It really is a beautiful thing to watch the smooth flow of information between the back and front office as treatment plan, perio, clinical notes and other data is shared to create claims, statements and new appointments.
Go Digital with X-rays
Now, for a real productivity boost, combine your practice management software with a digital x-ray system. Using these two systems together lets you view digital x-rays while treatment planning – at the same time. And the advantages of digital x-rays over traditional film are well documented. With a digital x-ray system, you gain these benefits: save time by not waiting for film to develop, use less radiation on your patients, send your x-rays electronically for faster payment, use software tools to educate patients, and eliminate your film and chemical developing solutions. If you haven’t already gone digital, now is a good time to shop. Like everything electronic, prices have come down and the technology has only gotten better. Companies like DentiMax, DEXIS, Kodak, Schick and others offer high-end digital sensors that take incredibly clear x-rays;you might want to check out their latest product offerings.
Adopt Digital Document Software
If your front desk is cluttered and overrun with paper, it may be time to add document software to your computer. Digital document software helps your office organize, capture and store: patient insurance cards, driver’s licenses, signatures on your financial/privacy release forms, and printed documents. The beauty is that, once your patient’s paperwork is entered into the computer, it’s always in the computer, making it easily accessible from any of your computer workstations. Many practice management systems now offer this kind of software. You may even find that you already own document software but just haven’t used it.
Throwing your paper and manual systems out the window one day and switching “cold turkey” the next to a completely paperless system could be a bit too much for any office. Fortunately, going paperless is not an all-or-nothing proposition. From using your software’s existing treatment plan to digital x-rays and digital documents, you can go paperless one step at a time, at your own pace. What are you waiting for?