There are some things computers do well and there are some things they don’t do well at all. One thing computers do very well is they do the same thing over and over again. They do it very accurately, very quickly and they never get bored with it. That means that with a good computer system the dentist only has to enter “tooth number three crown” one time. The computer will then transfer that information to all the other places it is needed. It will attach the other information such as fees and insurance codes automatically. It will do it instantly and accurately. This feature is called single entry.
The single entry feature of a computer system has a profound effect on the human systems of a dental office. Single entry frees the staff to do other things, such as care directly for the patient. It speeds up the communication process, saves time and reduces errors. It reduces stress and makes dental staff jobs more meaningful and human directed. The single entry concept is very important because it answers the fundamental question, “What the heck does a dentist need a computer for anyway?” and it leads to most of the advanced features and uses of computer systems in dentistry.