When a new patient walks into Dr. Retro’s office, the first thing that happens is Judy, the receptionist, hands the patient a stack of forms, a scuffed-up clipboard, and a pen tied onto the clip with dental floss.
“Fill these out,” she says to the patient, “and be sure and sign every page.”
Eventually, Judy collects the forms and while the patient waits she starts typing the patient’s name and other data into the computer. Then, the forms go into a chart. They are the first entry in what will soon become a mass of paper.
There is a better way.
It is possible to gather all the data online away from the office in such a manner that the patient does not need to be in the waiting room, does not need to touch anything and the team member does not need to touch a clipboard or even touch the keyboard. In fact the team member does not need to be in the office, he/she could be working from home.
A web based system puts the same paper forms as you would use on the clipboard onto a web site as digital forms. The patient fills out the forms from home or office. Once the forms are filled in the data then transfers to the dental office and eventually to the patient’s electronic record. In order to do this the office needs to have complete paperless records, practice management software that can accept web based information and a well designed practice 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.