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    What a paperless practice really looks like

    How real dentists have gone paperless in their practices.


    Getting started

    “I think the trying parts are making the decision that you need to go to the next step and getting past the fear,” Dr. Jablow says. “That’s usually the biggest problem with people in integrating technology. They’re scared of making bad decisions that will cost them money, so they just freeze and don’t do anything because what they’re doing works.”

    A good place to start is to make the most out of the software that’s already in the practice, since the majority of practice management software features go unused. Then, start building slowly from there.

    “Most of the paperless stuff is about reducing filing issues and figuring out how to get the paper into the digital system,” Dr. Jablow explains. “One of the first things practices need to do is purchase a paper scanner and a shredder. That will allow your front desk to at least get a little more efficient to get those documents into the computer.”

    The next step is to get computers in the operatories and get comfortable with using them there.

    Related article: 5 things to consider when choosing practice management software

    “If you’re not the tech guy in the office, get out of the way,” Dr. Jablow says. “There is usually some tech person in the office who’s a lot more comfortable than the doctor. If that’s the case, empower them. Let them be in charge of it. Don’t do something you’re not comfortable with.”

    Dr. Hyman’s final piece of advice is to not worry about scrimping and saving on those early costs.

    “I hear so many doctors asking, where can I save $100 on my software?” he says. “How about getting the finest software and the finest intraoral cameras so that you’re maximally efficient and effective and you can add hundreds of thousands of dollars to your practice?

    “Be a big-picture thinker,” he continues. “Have the confidence to know that the most successful dental practices in the country are highly digital, paperless and cutting-edge. And they have a budget every year for technology, knowing that they are going to have to continuously invest in the practice so that they can keep it at a superior level. It’s good business to know that this is a consistent investment — and getting better.”


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