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    9 ways EHRs save time and money

    EHRs might seem scary, but if used well they can streamline your practice and make it more profitable.

     

    3. Efficiency

    Being paper free can certainly be liberating for a single practice. However, those capabilities are almost critical when practices expand into multi-location organizations. If a group practice does not have a standardized, electronic system, it is just asking for trouble.

    “How do you manage consistency and standardize how you treat patients?” Mike Uretz asks. Uretz is a dental software and EHR expert and the founder of DentalSoftwareCompare.com, which compares dental EHRs for groups and practices.  “As an efficient group, you don’t want to necessarily have, for example, 20 locations in your organization and 10 of them are doing the procedure a certain way and the other 10 doing it a different way, with no quality control over how you do your clinical processes. With electronic health records, the group itself can standardize how they do their examinations, their procedures and overall clinical workflow.”

    For those who may worry that standardization means that a computer is telling the doctor what to do and how to do it, that is not the case. Clinical standardization is not dictated by EHR, per se. EHRs are a tool that a clinical committee would use to help implement their agreed-to clinical best practices. This would include evidence-based dentistry as determined by the individual group.

    “Once these best practices are finalized, they are rolled out to all the locations and all the clinicians,” Uretz continues. “Electronic health records let you develop that consistency, so it gives you the tools so that you can decide how you, as a group, do things. Because if you’re doing things all over the place, you don’t have any control or know what’s going on. This standardization and clinical consistency helps the group from both a liability and patient care standpoint. From a marketing standpoint, we all know that groups and DSOs have sometimes been viewed negatively as being too large to have good quality of care. But EHRs can actually help improve quality of patient care throughout a large organization.” 

    Related reading: 5 EHR tips that could save your dental practice

    4. Integration

    When software first came along, it streamlined all sorts of daily functions — but some inefficiency still existed. Initially, different applications did not work with each other. Modern software streamlines those inefficiencies.

    “When digital dentistry first came along, you had digital X-rays, and it didn’t interface with your software,” Dr. Flucke says. “What you would have to do is open a patient in Dentrix, for instance, and then when you wanted to look at their X-rays, then you had to open a separate X-ray program, and then you had to enter that patient into that. So basically you had two or three programs open all the time, and you had to switch between all of them, which could be a little bit of a pain and a little clumsy. Over the years we’ve gotten to this system where everything is so tightly integrated that most of the stuff now that I use, I just use right out of my dental software. I don’t have to have other programs open and have data entry for the practice management software and then have to put that data into the X-ray software and then have to put that into the intraoral photo storage software, and all that kind of thing. So there are a lot fewer steps. Being able to click in just one program makes a difference as well because you’re not jumping between programs.”

     

    Continue to page three for more...

    Robert Elsenpeter
    Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics. He is also the author ...

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