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    What a paperless practice really looks like

    How real dentists have gone paperless in their practices.

     

    Increased efficiency

    The benefits of a paperless practice are numerous. It increases the practice’s efficiency and profitability and reduces the opportunities for errors to arise. And, Dr. Hyman says, it’s more fun.

    “It’s a joy to have your information digital,” he says. “Having your digital radiographs up in front of you in a nanosecond — instead of going through a processor — and having your intraoral camera photos right in front of you so that the patient can see it on a big monitor in front of them is a joy. You can do treatment planning through your software, so the patient can see their fees and the number of visits that you’re estimating.”

    Related article: 6 challenges in adopting dental technology

    Digital tools improve the ability for the doctor to communicate with their patients and their lab as well as for teammates to communicate with the doctor.

    “When we do our morning huddle, everyone is looking at our day to identify roadblocks to us being maximally efficient and effective,” Dr. Hyman says.

    Another benefit of being digital is that there are multiple ways in which the team can access information.

    “We don’t even have computers in our operatories,” Dr. Watts says. “Everyone on our dental team has their own personal tablet that they walk around with, which is super cost effective comparatively. I have fewer computers, no paperwork, and I’m not worried about printing and buying ink cartridges.”

    It also saves time for the doctor and the patient because the data is mobile.

    “I don’t have to be in the hygiene operatory with the hygienist to review anything,” Dr. Flucke says. “I can check a patient’s health history from my desk or any computer in the office. I can look at bitewings on any computer in the office. Being able to do those little things makes everything flow better.”

    Dr. Jablow agrees. What impacts him the most in the operatory is having all of the information at his fingertips for any patient, including old and new images.

    Related article: How technology is REALLY changing the dental workflow

    “The general workflow allows us to be continually updated with what’s happening in the schedule and respond to it,” he says. “We can see our appointment book in real time, so if there are changes being made, nobody is running from the front of the office to the back. It’s just updated on the screen.”

    For instance, if he has a patient in the operatory and sees, from chairside, that his next patient has cancelled, he can then continue to do more treatment on his current patient if necessary.

    “If I didn’t know that, I’d tell the patient we’re done for the day and bring them to the front desk, and we would have lost that opportunity,” he says.

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