Have you heard that there is a new government regulation that requires dentists to have electronic records by the year 2014? I have heard or read a number of variations on this theme. It came up again last week at my session on Paperless Records at the Yankee Dental Congress
At this time there is no federal requirement for dentists to be using paperless or electronic records by 2014 or any other date. What there is is a lot of confusion, speculation and scare tactics the same as we saw when OSHA and then HIPAA first plagued the dental profession.
From ADA News:
If you believe the rumors, every dentist in the country will have to go paperless by this time next year.
But what have you been taught about believing rumors? The truth is, no dentist is required by the federal government to use electronic health records or implement digital radiography systems by 2014
In 2004, President Bush set a ten year goal for most Americans to be using an EMR by 2014. The current administration through the dept. of Health and Humans Services (HHS) has made stimulus money available to health care providers that could show “meaningful use” of electronic records to help them get paperless by 2014.
All of this is made more complicated by the political circus that has become healthcare “reform”. Bureaucrats are meeting to come up with the actual rules and the speculation is that some deadline will be imposed. When that will be and what the rules will be is anyone’s guess. In the meantime don’t wait around for some bureaucrat to tell you what to do, develop paperless records for your office just because it is the right thing to do.