In case you missed it: Dentalcompare from December 2013.
One of the fastest growing trends in dental tech is “going paperless.” Creating paperless electronic patient records is not only possible with current technology it is highly desirable. How? What do you need to get started?
Integrated Practice Management Software: The first essential element is software. Look at a paper chart. What all do you have in there? Forms, medical histories, tooth charts, radiographs, treatment notes, prescriptions, perio charts, financial information, treatment plans, specialist reports, lab slips, insurance information, consent forms and more. Your management software must allow you to re-create all that in a digital format as part of an electronic record.
The leading dental management systems such as Dentrix and Eaglesoft have been designed for paperless records and will work well. If you have a different management system you like and want to keep, you should seek out an office using it to make paperless records and arrange to visit and see how they do it.
Computers in the Treatment Rooms: It should go without saying but some dentists still resist putting computers in the clinical area. You need a computer linked to a server to access the electronic clinical record in any place you might have needed a paper chart. This usually means the front desk, the treatment rooms and the doctor’s office. Not only do you need computers but you need up-to-date computers.
Computers age like dogs, only worse. Dog years are supposed to about seven human years. A computer year is triple that and equal to twenty-one human years. Do the math, a three year old computer is a 63-year-old person, still working but ready for retirement. A four year old computer is an 84-year-old human, still around but well beyond normal life expectancy.
New ways of computerizing a dental office are on the way. The standard server client network is being replaced by cloud based servers with local thin client computers or mobile hand held devices in place of desktop clients. Curve is the best known cloud based system and Henry Schein recently released a cloud system called Dentrix Ascend. These new systems promise to reduce the initial cost of hardware and the need for constant upgrades. The potential is fantastic, but for now these new systems are still developing and for most dentists seeking a trouble-free, proven system, the client server model is still the best.
Read the full article for the remaining basics. The last one listed is maybe the most important, Training.