Computers have been a boon to dentistry, but using them optimally requires us to rethink some of our pen-and-paper habits. My great-grandfather learned to drive an automobile when he was 50. When things got tense during some of his early driving experiences, he tended to revert to his old horse-and-buggy techniques. His shouting, “Whoa damn it, whoa!” rather than pressing the brake pedal was an ineffective habit he had to relearn. He had the right idea but the wrong method.
The linked article is by Bruce Stephenson, DDS. He was an early adopter and a pioneer in dental computer use and paperless records. He gives many good tips on what to do and what not to do for dentists going paperless.
One of the things he mentions is outlined in the quote above. New systems allow, even require, new methods and procedures. This has become one of my hot buttons in recent years; it is the old “A car is not just a faster horse” analogy.
The reason this matters is that many dentists either avoid going paperless because it means changing some office procedures or they go paperless and still don’t change. If you do not change you fail to get many of the benefits of paperless records and you often end up with more work and expense instead of less.