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3rd Generation Dental Specialist Referrals

In Case you missed it: Dentalcompare from summer of 2013.

FormsDespite advances in digital records and communication, the majority of specialist referrals still follow this old paper-based system. However, paperless digital referrals are possible, have already progressed through two generations and promise to be even better in the near future.

First generation attempts to create digital referral slips simply recreate the paper form in a digital format, usually pdf. The referring dentist needs to download and print the form from the specialist’s website then fill in the information (patient name, practice information, tooth number, diagnosis, etc.) by hand…

Second generation online referrals can be created online, no paper. However, the referring dentist still needs to fill in the information by hand using a keyboard and mouse…

A third generation system will upload all the appropriate patient data from the paperless record to the online referral forms automatically with no additional typing. In other words, the patient name, the tooth and the treatment would not need to be re-typed but would be extracted from the exiting digital record.

But that’s not all. With a digital referral you are not limited to the minimum information we used to scribble on the paper form. You can automatically upload all the patient information the specialist’s office will need such as address, employment, contact numbers and the other things needed to create a patient record. The system will upload the patient’s insurance information with plan, group numbers and benefits. The system will upload the patient’s health history with areas of concern noted.

All the information a patient usually needs to spend time writing onto a paper form on an old brown clipboard is sent automatically before the patient even arrives for the first appointment.

via Emmott On Technology: Looking Ahead to 3rd Generation Dental Specialist Referrals |

Caught up in HIPAA Hysteria some doctors are afraid to put any patient information online or share anything with another dentist without a release.

HIPAA rules specifically allow professionals to share relevant patient information regarding treatment with no specific patient release. It is assumed to be legitimate and in the patient’s best interest.

On the other hand sending patient information via basic e-mail is not secure. You can get an e-mail encryption program or better yet do not use e-mail but transfer patient information using a secure web site. Several of these have been developed but none have yet reached the critical mass needed for widespread acceptance.

Third generation referrals are still in the vapor ware stage but they make so much sense I believe they will be here shortly.

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