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    How EHR can improve your practice

    How electronic health record software can enable your practice to reach a new level of efficiency.

     

    Clinical advantages

    Electronic health record software has many benefits. For starters, the federal government is encouraging all medical professionals to use EHR. From the government’s perspective, utilizing computers will enable all of a patient’s health data to be kept in one common repository. This will mean less time spent gathering data and fewer overall mistakes made due to unknown or missing information. By doing this, the government hopes to keep costs down and decrease the percentage of our GNP devoted to the health care sector.

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    From the standpoint of the individual practice, the efficiency and time savings are substantial. I estimate that by using chart notes that are typed instead of handwritten, I save at least 30 minutes per day, based on how much time I spent on chart notes before and after digital conversion. I can now get home to my family 30 minutes earlier thanks to digital chart notes. I can also tell you that typed notes make a much more professional chart. As chairman of the Missouri State Peer Review program, I get to see chart notes on a regular basis. Handwritten “chicken scratch” is much harder to decipher and looks a lot less concise and much less professional.

    The next benefit comes from the advantages of co-diagnosis. My operatory layout puts a patient monitor on an articulated arm. This means that no matter what angle of patient positioning, my Exorvision monitors can be put at the perfect viewing angle. This allows the staff or myself to show radiographs, photos or anything else to the patient so that he or she can fully understand the clinical situation and the benefits of treatment. These images are stored in the digital chart to help keep a complete record of diagnosis and treatment.

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    The co-diagnosis process is dependent on an excellent patient monitor. The Exorvision 24-inch DenClarity monitors have much higher brightness so the images, especially radiographs, are easily seen by the patient. These monitors are also glass sealed, so they can be wiped down and disinfected between patients. They are also low voltage, remote controlled and have built-in TV tuners for patient entertainment. Check them out at www.exorvision.com.

    Digital storage of data means an incredible amount of time is saved when searching for past information. In my office, perio charting, tooth charting, lab prescriptions, medicine prescriptions, radiographs, pictures, chart notes and signed treatment plans are all stored in the database. Needless to say, we don’t lose copious amounts of time looking for things in the patient record. Also, since we do take and store numerous images to document diagnosis and treatment, we have a very good medical and legal record of everything we’ve done. This is a tremendous advantage in case of a lawsuit.

     

    Next: The front office advantages

    Dr. John Flucke
    Dr. John Flucke is in private practice in Lee’s Summit, Mo. He also serves as technology editor for Dental Products Report magazine and ...

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