Categories
Hardware Paperless

Making it Digital

It is possible to turn all the gobs of dead tree (paper) information stuffed in our charts into electronic digital information. YES. There are four ways to create digital information

Enter it: What this refers to is the process of directly typing or clicking in information.

Capture it: Digital capture refers to a process that creates or captures information (usually images) into an electronic format. In dentistry the best examples would be digital photographs and digital radiographs

Scan it: A scanner is a hardware device that converts hard copy paper or film into soft copy digital information

Import it:  Data import does not create new digital information. It is a function that allows users to add already existing digital information to a patient record. The difference between scanning and importing is that scanning starts with a piece of paper. Importing never goes through a paper phase.

Categories
Cameras Paperless Radiography

Photos and Digital Charting

If you get a good set of intraoral digital photos and x-rays you can do much of the charting at your desk. You no longer need to be chairside with the assistant calling out findings while she scribbles things down on paper. This is especially true with existing restorations, broken teeth and other conditions. You can also make a treatment plan from the digital photos and x-rays.

If you have a good set of intraoral photos you could even use them as your existing record rather than trying to put it on the paper chart.

If you ever are challenged in court your photos of before after and even during treatment will be the best documentation you can ask for.

We should develop clinical protocols to include photos on every new patient just as we take radiographs on every patient.

 

Categories
Paperless

Get the Book – Go Paperless

Make the commitment and Go Paperless.book

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.

Categories
e-Services Management Paperless

Digital Workflow – Beyond Paperless

If a dental team member believes his/her job is pulling charts, filling out forms and calling patients then she/he is stuck in the past doing a job that has (or at should have) ceased to exist. Technology in the form of management software, online e-services and even smart phone aps will do most of the daily practice management tasks people used to slog through every day. Not only will technology do the job it will save the practice thousands of dollars.

Technology used well has a huge ROI, Technology used poorly is a money pit.

The most valuable dental team member now and in the future will be the person who knows how to use and integrate all the technology to do these tasks. Technology should not be the extra we add to our business and clinical functions it should be the core of all off them. The person who masters these technologies will be the practice technologist. I repeat, the most valuable person in the office is the practice technologist.

Here are a few of the tasks that dental staff used to do that should now be done with software and e-services: Phone reminders, taking payments, pulling charts, re-activation, writing chart notes, checking eligibility, patient forms and data entry.

In order to accomplish all this and get a great ROI the office needs four things:

  1. Digital (paperless) records
  2. A web page with Internet access
  3. Intraoperative software and e-services
  4. Most important, people who know how to use it all, a practice technologist
Categories
e-Services Management Paperless

How Dentrix Questionnaires can Streamline Patient Paperwork

From  The Dentrix Office Manager Blog: :

For a patient to be able to fill out and submit forms before they arrive in the office is very beneficial. This can help to eliminate surprises before the patient arrives, for example if the patient has a medical condition and has a need to pre-medicate. Having patients fill out the forms ahead of time can also help your schedule to run on time. All it takes is having one patient who is slow to fill out their forms while in the waiting room, to cause the whole schedule to run behind for the rest of the day!

Source:  The Dentrix Office Manager Blog: How Dentrix Questionnaires can Streamline Patient Paperwork

Categories
Paperless

Paperless Records Tip

Insurance CDT codes are set up by procedure and are designed primarily to track fees. However, in real life in the dental office we work on appointments not just codes. Many procedures require multiple appointments to complete. For example a traditional crown (not CAD CAM) includes a preparation and then a delivery. A denture requires impressions then a bite, a try in and then a delivery. Root canals are often multiple appointments. Then there are follow up appointments that have no fee and no code such as suture removal, bite adjustments and such.

Set up additional appointment based procedure codes, just for your practice, to accommodate all the extra appointments that do not have an assigned CDT code. The most obvious being the delivery of a crown. Doing this makes using the software much more efficient; you can create procedure notes for each extra code. You can assign a default appointment time and you can treatment plan it.

Once you have set up the formal CDT procedures and created your own appointment based codes you can create digital procedure or progress notes for each one. These are the notes you used to scribble in the chart after every appointment. When you write your digital notes start with what you usually hand write in the chart but keep in mind that you can now add detail that it is impractical to include in manual notes.

More Paperless Tips

Categories
Paperless

Paperless Records

One of the fastest growing trends in dentistry is the move toward paperless records. There are tremendous advantages to paperless records including ease of access, improved patient care and lower costs. On the other hand we seem to be emotionally attached to our charts. Like old copies of National Geographic, we just can’t bring ourselves to part with them.

Here is the big secret, Once you have the basic infrastructure in place; that is the hardware-software infrastructure and the systems to use them, then you stop making paper.

Need Help?

Categories
Paperless

Afraid to go All the Way?

SOne of the mistakes dentists make with computerized charting is they only go part way. For example: They use a paper chart in the treatment room during diagnosis to mark future treatment. Then they take the paper chart to the computer and enter everything again. They will use the computer to create an estimate, insurance forms and schedule. Then they will go back to the paper chart to enter procedure notes, back to the computer to take a payment, back to paper for a prescription, back to the computer for the next appointment then back to paper to check the x-rays.

What the office ends up with is a mess. Everything is done at least twice, the paper chart is still needed no one is ever sure if something is on paper or in the computer. As a result the computer chart doesn’t save time and money it makes things worse.

For more help on going paperless look here:

Categories
Paperless

“It Could be Millions”

Do you remember this TV commercial from a few years ago? The room is filled with bedraggled executives and managers. It is obvious they have been working for hours, the room is a mess, costs are off, ties are loosened and the conference table is overflowing with papers, files, binders and reports. They are looking desperately for ways to save money.

Finally someone asks what it costs to create all that paper. The leader looks at the clutter on the table and with a stunned expression and says, “It could be millions.”

It may not be costing you millions to maintain your paper file system but it is a safe bet that it is costing you tens of thousands every year.

Dentists often take the attitude that paper charts work fine and they don’t cost anything so why invest in an expensive computer system? Like the paperwork in the TV commercial the costs to create and maintain paper charts can be significant but we often don’t see it because it is hidden in the process of doing business.

Estimates on the costs of creating and maintaining a paper records system range from $25,000 to $50,000 per year.

Need some help? Look Here:

Categories
Dental Speaker Paperless

Help Going “Paperless”

You probably have everything you need to go “paperless” except the knowledge of where to start and what to do next.

Stop putting it off, 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.

Categories
General Paperless Security

Credit Card Signatures Are About to Become Extinct in the U.S.

From NYT:

Credit card networks are finally ready to concede what has been obvious to shoppers and merchants for years: Signatures are not a useful way to prove someone’s identity. Later this month, four of the largest networks — American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa — will stop requiring them to complete card transactions.

Source: Credit Card Signatures Are About to Become Extinct in the U.S. – The New York Times

The linked article has lots of detail and anecdotes however the bottom line is that signatures as a means of personal authentication, a method that dates back centuries, is no longer useful.

Will this trend expand to include forms? Will we be able to dispense with signatures on health histories and consent forms? What will we use instead as a reliable marker that the person listed on the form is actually that person and that they approve the contents of the form?

 

Categories
General Paperless

STOP making Paper

Almost certainly you have everything you need to “go paperless” right now. The only thing holding you back is that you are afraid to STOP MAKING PAPER.

Examine what you are still doing on paper. Most likely you are scribbling paper chart notes, writing paper prescriptions and using paper forms. All of these can be done easily and very efficiently using Dentrix and other management programs. Whatever it is take the time to learn how to do it digitally and then STOP MAKING PAPER.

I am always amazed by dentists and team member who insist on writing paper notes that require significant time every day to write and review but they will not take time to set up digital notes that will free them from the daily writing task. Just do it and then set a digital date. The day you STOP MAKING PAPER.

Need help?

Categories
Management Paperless

Stuff vs. Solutions

A problem I see over and over again with high tech and dentistry is Stuff vs. Solutions. The most visible element of digital technology is the thing; that is the computer, the sensor the big monitor or even the web page. Because these things are so obvious the tendency is to think of technology in terms of these things, in other words “stuff”. If you have the stuff you are high tech.

Having stuff is nice but the real value of technology is when it can be used to provide a solution. Technology by itself has no value it only has value when it used to enhance our systems both human systems and clinical systems. Most of the time when dentists or team members are frustrated with technology it is not actually the stuff that creates the frustration. Frustration results when the team is unable to get the result, the solution, they need.

A human system for example is the work flow needed to schedule a patient, remind them of an appointment, and get the proper information to the dentist regarding that patient. A clinical system would be capturing a diagnostic aid like a radiograph or detecting decay.

If a dental office has a good PMS (Practice Management System) like Dentrix that is stuff. Following the human system example above many offices will use the PMS to schedule, then call the patient to remind them and then dig out a paper chart from the files to record and transfer information about the patient. They may have stuff, but do not have a good solution.

On the other hand if the office uses the PMS to make an appointment then connects to a web service to send an e-reminder and gets a complete patient record with a single mouse click from any computer in the office; that is a solution.

The office with good high tech solutions will get much more value from technology that those offices who just buy stuff.

Buying stuff is easy (as long as you have the money :-)) Developing and implementing solutions takes a lot more effort.

Want some help?

Categories
Dental Speaker Management Paperless

Pacific Dental Conference 2018

I will be presenting four sessions at the PDC in Vancouver March 8th and 9th

Paperless records are just the beginning; digital technology ultimately empowers dental team members with a more efficient – digital workflow – utilizing online communication and electronic services. Digital technology is revolutionizing every aspect of the dental practice; including how we communicate how make clinical decisions and how we manage the everyday flow of patients and staff in the office.

Source: Pacific Dental Conference 2018

Categories
Dental Speaker

The Hinman Dental Society

I will be presenting next year at the wonderful Hinman Meeting in Atlanta.

The High Tech Paperless Office 3/22/2018, 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM Speaker(s): Lawrence Emmott Keyword(s): CommunicationDental AssistingPractice ManagementTechnology Google Juice for Dentists 3/22/2018, 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM Speaker(s): Lawrence Emmott Keyword(s): CommunicationPractice ManagementSocial MediaTechnology Digital Workflow – Beyond Paperless 3/23/2018, 8:30 AM – 11:30 AM Speaker(s): Lawrence Emmott Keyword(s): CommunicationDigital DentistryPractice ManagementTechnology Google Juice for Dentists 3/

Source: The Hinman Dental Society

Categories
Paperless

Stop Making Paper

officepaperwork600Once the system to create a digital patient record is in place, you simply stop making paper. Everything new is electronic; everything from the past is paper.

One of the common mistakes dentists make with electronic charting is that they only go part way. Sometimes we miss the obvious, it is the old “can’t see the forest for the trees”. In this case the trees are the individual processes that can be used to create digital information. The forest is the paperless record. If all you see are trees then you might use an electronic chart for treatment planning but make progress notes on paper. You might install a digital radiograph system and not link it to other records. You might have a computer up front for finances and scheduling but don’t have computers in the back for charting.

The tendency is to concentrate on individual processes or technologies without integrating the process into the whole.

For example: The office may use a paper chart in the treatment room during diagnosis to mark future treatment. Then they take the paper chart to the computer and enter everything again. They will use the computer to create an estimate, insurance forms and schedule. Then they will go back to the paper chart to enter procedure notes, back to the computer to take a payment, back to paper for a prescription, back to the computer for the next appointment then back to paper to check the x-rays.

What the office ends up with is a mess. Everything is done at least twice, the paper chart is still needed no one is ever sure if something is on paper or in the computer. As a result the computer chart doesn’t save time and money it makes things worse.

Need Help? Look Here:

Categories
Hardware Paperless Security

The File Room of 2027

Today: The dentist has a room filled with charts, radiographs, correspondence, EOBs and all the other records along with endless little white boxes filled with plaster models. Finding the models and records for a case done six years ago requires an exploratory party and soon bears a striking resemblance to a wilderness expedition. But make no mistake about it the records are there and we will find them eventually.

Ten Years from Now: All the records including forms, histories, treatment notes, radiographs, tracings, photos and 3D images of bones and teeth are stored digitally. Thirty years of patient records don’t take up a room but are stored somewhere in the cloud actually taking up a physical space smaller than a deck of cards. The records can be called up immediately from anywhere in the known universe with a computer and an Internet connection.

Paperless Dental Records:

Categories
Dental Speaker Management Paperless

Person Place or Thing?

Is the Front Desk a Person, a Place or a Thing?

Once we transfer the data from paper to electronic paperless records, we no longer need a single physical place, like the front desk, to gather the information. An administrator can gather the data where ever there is a computer. That could be at the front, in the back or even in a different building! The computer becomes the Data Center of the practice. The practice is Front Deskless.

The term Front Desklessness is quite provocative but not very descriptive. The concept could be more accurately called: An Alternative Approach to Dental Office Management and Work Flow Using Integrated Paperless Records. That may be a more descriptive title but it sure doesn’t grab you like Front Desklessnes.

Since Front Desklessness is catchy but not well defined all kinds of misconceptions have come oozing out of the woodwork. The term does not mean that no one does the duties of the front desk. There is still a person. It doesn’t even necessarily mean the office doesn’t have a front desk. There is still a place. There is no one way to practice Front Desklessness. Front Desklessness is simply a way of managing the workflow of a dental office made possible by computers and technology. It is still a thing, just a different thing.

How to go Paperless:

Categories
Paperless

Electronic Dental Record guidance from the ADA

From ADA News:

The committee earlier this year published ADA Technical Report No. 1030, Dental Provider’s Guide to the Electronic Dental Record, which discusses key concepts of the Electronic Dental Record and provides guidance on implementing an Electronic Dental Record system into dental offices.

Source: Electronic Dental Record concepts, guidance for use laid out in report

The report may be downloaded at no cost to members available from the ADA catalog at ebusiness.ada.org

Categories
Dental Speaker Paperless Security

HIPAA Documentation and Data Safety

Compliance IQ Webinar March 29

We will start with some basic technology concepts that will help you understand and use all technology more effectively. We will then show you how to create electronic records that are fast, easy to use, easy to read and will protect you from litigation. Once you have electronic digital records, the advantages are astounding, including many online e-services which patients will love and that will save the office thousands of dollars. However as amazing as digital records are they are much more vulnerable to

Source: HIPAA Documentation and Data Safety