Digital Workflow

by Larry Emmott on March 19, 2020

in Management,Paperless

In many ways work flow is data flow. In the past when the data was on paper or film or even a plaster model, it (the data) could only be in one place at a time and moving it from place to place was time consuming and relatively expensive. Thus we assigned work to a specific place (like a front desk) and a specific person (the front desk person) to that place.

The result was the back office – front office divide. Work flow meant; where does the chart go and who does what task. Once a dental office develops a paperless (digital) system of records, charting, scheduling even impressions the work flow changes significantly. Digital data can be accessed anywhere there is a computer, in the back, at the front or in a different building. Workflow can now be described in terms of tasks not places. Tasks can be assigned to a person or to an e-service. People are freed from the drudgery of filing, typing, looking for lost records, calling patients and doing all the rest of the busy work needed to keep a dead tree system working.

A great example of the evolution of workflow is the process of reminding or confirming patients:

Paper data and paper workflow: A team member collects all the charts for the next days appointments, looks up each phone number then calls repeatedly to confirm (remind) the patient.

Digital data with same old workflow: A team member clicks on each appointment in the electronic schedule, a number appears, the team member then calls repeatedly to confirm (remind) the patient.

Digital data digital workflow: An e-service calls or texts every patient on the digital appointment book every day with no human intervention needed.

E-services can be used to take payments, bill insurance, link up forms and data, re-activate patients and much more.

This new pattern of doing things has been called Front Desklessness.

Front Desklessness is not about tossing out a piece of furniture or eliminating a staff person. It is all about doing theĀ  business of dentistry in a different way because technology allows us to handle data in a much more efficient manner.

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