In case you missed it: Dentalcompare from Nov 2012
As a dentist you create data as a byproduct of doing dentistry. You can’t help it. The data oozes out of the practice. The question is who owns the data?…
For example if a dentist in Cleveland using imaginary PMS Softrix wishes to give away some data by sending a complete chart including all the notes, x-rays and medical history digitally to a dentist in Spokane using imaginary PMS Eagleworks, it can’t be done. PMS systems can and do embed code that will only allow you to share data with selected others. For example you can only use selected e-claims companies, or you can only share a radiograph with a proprietary viewer. It isn’t even possible for a Softrix user to simply send a digital dental chart across town to another Softrix user.
As an aside, you never actually own the PMS software, even if you bought and paid for it, you just own a license to use it.
If the dentist owns the data then the dentist should be able to use that data to enhance the practice. For example a dentist could engage an e-service to search the database and find important relationships. Maybe this is something a management consultant asked for like the amount of treatment a new patient accepts related to the hygienist they saw and the insurance they have. Or it might be a hidden relationship that no one ever thought to examine, but the software discovers. This is called data mining.
Currently PMS software does not allow the dentist to use the data in this fashion. The PMS controls access and limits it to selected data and or selected vendors.
If you have the data but can’t access parts of it or more commonly can’t transfer parts of it do you really own it?
Since this was written in 2012 the situation has not improved. In fact it has gotten worse. The “Internet of Things” is upon us and we are now faced with devices we have purchased that can be controlled by an outside entity using the onboard internet connection. (Like a smartphone) If someone else can control the device at will do you really own it?
The new HIPAA rules make it clear dentists have absolute responsibility for patient data. We face grave penalties if the data is misused or even exposed to unauthorized eyes. However we have no or very limited rights to use the data. Dentists create the data and are required by law to keep it safe and secure but we clearly do not own it.