Get the Book – Go Paperless

Make the commitment and Go

Most likely you already have everything you need to go paperless.

Stop putting it off, make the commitment, going paperless can save you tens of thousands of dollars. Buy the book, take the first step.

My comprehensive technology guide, “How to go paperless in the dental office” will answer the basic question…Why bother?  It then provides step by step help in setting up a paperless office, including the eight essentials that need to be in place before you get started, four ways to digitize stuff, and front deskless workflow. There is even a budget and financial analysis that shows how your current paper system is costing you over $40,000!

“How to go paperless in the dental office” will answer all your questions, provide a plan and show you how to save money… all delivered in a fun and easy to understand style.

Follow the link to order your copy today.

Management Paperless

You Need People to go Paperless

“Going Paperless” is based on computer technology so it is only natural to focus on the computers and the software when planning to go paperless. However the technology is only half of the equation. If the people in the office aren’t prepared and enthusiastic the technology alone will never work.

This includes the dentist, some dentists are actually proud of the fact that they don’t know the first thing about the office computers. That is just foolish; the dentist does not have to be a mouse master with intimate knowledge of every click and cranny of the software in order to go paperless however the dentist must know the basics, the dentist must know what is possible, or else the whole system will never make sense.

One of the frustrations dentists and team members encounter is cook book failure. That happens when someone just knows one way (like step by step cook book directions) to use the software but he/she does not understand what is being done and why. When that happens just one slightly different or neglected step and the cook book fails. The user is lost and has no idea how to find their way back.

It is not enough to know which icon to click you must know why you are clicking it and what you wish to accomplish.

To avoid cook book failure users need to have a general understanding of Windows. You need to know how to turn on your computer system, how to use a mouse, click and drag, right click, open close dropdown and navigate the Windows file system.

However basic training on using your Practice Management System is not enough. You need to have “Going Paperless Training”.

Hire a trainer and then ask the trainer to teach the dentist and staff how to do the following:

  • Set up CDT Codes with fees etc.
  • Create extra codes for things like crown delivery or suture removal.
  • Create and set up progress notes.
  • Enter everything on the digital chart you used to enter on the paper chart.
  • Existing restorations, conditions such as decay or fracture, treatment to be done, perio conditions and all the rest
  • Set up and create prescriptions.
  • Set up and create lab slips.
  • Scan papers and store them in the record.
  • Import data from another application.
  • Export data from the chart.
  • Merge data from the chart to a document.
  • Bridge to other data or applications such as photos or radiographs.

For more help going paperless look here:

Health Care Politics Paperless

Electronic Health Records Mandate

Krauthammer Follow Up:

Hospital physicians will tell you endless tales about the wastefulness of the data collection and how the lack of interoperability defeats the very purpose of data sharing.

via Electronic Health Records Mandate — Doctors Are Being Needlessly Demoralized | National Review Online.

This is a follow up article to this from last week. Krauthammer answers misguided critics and further explains. The bottom line conclusion remains the same:

The EHR as mandated by the federal government was designed by bureaucrats not practitioners. As a result it does not serve the best interest of the physician or the patient.

Medical professionals are becoming corporate drones or government employees. Neither option will attract the best and the brightest to choose medicine and dentistry as a future profession.

Paperless Software

Please Choose One – EHR

Why physicians are rebelling against Electronic Health Records (EHR)

Please choose one:

The three words blink in front of me on the computer screen.

via Please Choose One | The Health Care Blog.

Health Care Politics Internet Security

Third-party connections prompt more privacy concerns about ObamaCare site

SAccording to the linked article it is possible for third parties to gather personal information off the Obamacare website.

When you apply for coverage on, dozens of data companies may be able to tell that you are on the site. Some can even glean details such as your age, income, ZIP code, whether you smoke or if you are pregnant.

The data firms have embedded connections on the government site. Ever-evolving technology allows for individual Internet users to be tracked, building profiles that are a vital tool for advertisers…

…a recent visit to the site, AP found that certain personal details — including age, income, and whether you smoke — were being passed along likely without your knowledge to advertising and Web analytics sites.

via Third-party connections prompt more privacy concerns about ObamaCare site | Fox News.

The wonderful features of digital data that make it so useful, that is easy to gather, copy, transfer and analyze also make it easy for others to abuse.

Can you trust Uncle Sam to keep your secrets? Continued high profile data breaches and revelations of agencies using data to persecute individuals and groups make it easy to be skeptical.

I do believe EHR and big data analysis of medical data has the potential to significantly improve the human condition. On the other hand I do not believe it is possible to keep the data private. The only way to assure the world does not know your age, weight, medications and smoking habits is to never put it online.

Internet Security

Poll: Most Americans Would Share Health Data For Research

bigdataFrom NPR, Interesting:

A NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll found that data privacy didn’t appear to bother most respondents. Privacy worries ran highest for information held by health insurers, but even then only 16 percent of people expressed concern.

via Poll: Most Americans Would Share Health Data For Research : Shots – Health News : NPR.

This is another incidence of the huge unanswered question of the digital age…”Who Owns the Data?”

My experience speaking with everyday people confirms the poll results. They usually are very willing to allow their personal medical data to be used for research.  On the other hand when I asked the same question of someone working for the government the answer was quite different. “No” she said, “I don’t trust them.”

Continued high profile data breaches (Sony anyone?) and revelations of agencies using data to persecute individuals and groups makes it easy to be skeptical.

I do believe that big data analysis of medical data has the potential to significantly improve the human condition. On the other hand I do not believe it is possible to keep the data private. The only way to assure the world does not know your age, weight, medications and chronic conditions is to never put it online.

Health Care Politics Paperless

2015 – High noon for federal health records program?

SFrom Politico:

2015 promises to be a critical year for determining whether electronic health records will enable physicians to communicate with each other efficiently to create better care. If they can’t get their systems to interact, the program may be seen as largely a waste.

via High noon for federal health records program? – Arthur Allen – POLITICO.

Many doctors hate the clunky, time-sucking software they got through the massive subsidy program…

I would change many to most.

I am a huge fan of electronic paperless records and am pained to see them so thoroughly botched up.

The failure of EHR can be traced to two major issues which happen to be two of my major pet peeves.

  1. Government mandates have resulted in clunky time consuming systems. Inevitably when the government decides what must be included the resulting system is not designed to provide service to the patient or improve efficiency for the doctor. The system is designed to provide what is important to the government.
  2. Proprietary systems limit data transfer. As long as the companies providing the technology can keep users hostage in a walled garden they can charge exorbitant fees to manage and transfer the data.
Future Tech Management Paperless

Mining Electronic Records for Revealing Health Data

(HT Titus Schleyer) From the NYT.

…the report neglected one powerful incentive for the switch to electronic records: the resulting databases of clinical information are gold mines for medical research. The monitoring and analysis of electronic medical records, some scientists say, have the potential to make every patient a participant in a vast, ongoing clinical trial, pinpointing treatments and side effects that would be hard to discern from anecdotal case reports or expensive clinical trials.

via Mining Electronic Records for Revealing Health Data –

I am a huge fan of digital records…in theory.

The ease of use, increased efficiency and hopeful cost savings should be terrific. On the other hand the cost savings have yet to materialize and the initial attempts at a universal EHR (electronic health record) have been plagued by turf wars and petty bureaucracy.

However as the linked article points out one of the most promising benefits of EHR is the accumulation of data that could lead to better health care.

I am enough of a Pollyanna to believe it will all eventually be worked out yet at the same time enough of a pragmatist to see that the current system is deeply dysfunctional and unlikely to miraculously work perfectly come the magic EHR deadline of 2014.

General Paperless

Digital Record EHR

What will become part of the digital patient record or EHR (electronic health 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 and in the future advanced diagnostic data from CBCT or E4D.

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.

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 anaysis. 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.

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