Forms and signatures are one of the essentials of record keeping. How then can you have a paperless record? There are three methods to gather the information electronically and totally bypass the paper.
Tablet PC:A tablet PC is a mobile computer in the shape of a slate. The i-Pad is the best known tablet but others using Android are also available and work in the dental office. Tablets use a touch screen that allows the user to operate the computer with a stylus (a digital pen) or a fingertip, instead of a keyboard or mouse. In other words the user can simply tap the screen to check off a box on a form, and sign directly on the computer screen.
Digital Signature Pad: The tablet PC represents the ultimate computerized version of the brown clipboard. However there is a second way to fill in forms that may be easier and less expensive to implement. That is to simply use existing desktop computers and a signature pad.
Online: The third way to gather data without paper is the Internet. A web based system puts the same digital forms as you would use on the tablet onto a web site. The patient could then fill out the forms from home or office. Once the forms are filled in the data could then transfer to the dental office and eventually to the patient’s electronic record. This is by far the best option however the office needs to have complete paperless records, practice management software that can accept web based information and a well designed web page.
Online forms in pdf format do not count. The patient needs to download the form, print it, fill it by hand, remember to bring it to the office, and a team member needs to enter the data. It is essentially the same as the old clipboard.
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