What makes up a digital patient record or EDR (electronic dental record)?
At the basic level there is the patient census information, health history, the tooth chart, the treatment plan, all the progress notes and financial information. At the next level it is really a lot more than that. A complete digital record will also include any diagnostic material such as radiographs, photos, periodontal findings, advanced diagnostic data from CBCT or digital impressions. In the near future it will include genetic data.
There is still more. The digital record will also contain any correspondence, insurance contacts, specialty referrals and reports, records from previous dentists or physicians, continuing care reports, phone contacts, lab slips, prescriptions, pathology reports and all the rest.
The EDR will be part of a larger more comprehensive EDR (electronic health record). Whenever a dentist a physician or any health care provider makes a diagnosis, prescribes a medication or performs a treatment it will be added to the EHR available for future use by the patient or another healthcare professional.
What makes a digital record better than paper? The digital patient record is a lot more than just an electronic copy of all our paper records. When you apply the basics, that is to store transmit and manipulate electronic data, the information from the records can now be extended to general office records such as the appointment schedule, office financials and patient reports. It can also easily extend beyond the office to third parties in the form of e-claims and to advisors such as accountants and business consultants. The digital record information can also be sent online to web based services for storage or analysis. In other words the individual digital patient record integrates with the digital office and the Internet “cloud” and it does so instantly automatically electronically and with no human time required.