Paperless Dentistry at Dr. Ku’s
How many of you remember going to the dentist’s office and seeing rows and rows of files stuffed into shelves behind the office manager? All the colorful tabs sticking out providing a decorative aspect to the overwhelming amount of paper.
While many offices still rely on paper records for their patients, offices like Dr. Ku’s have transformed into a paperless practice. This change is beneficial for both the dentist and the patient and ensures that care is streamlined for everyone who walks through our door.
Since our decision to be a paperless dental practice can strike some patients as interesting or raise concerns about data safety, we’re outlining why we chose to go this route and how it is beneficial for everyone.
What is e-dentistry?
E-dentistry allows health information to be stored and shared electronically while allowing the provider to give a higher level of care to the patient by enhancing the management of issues and providing better health outcomes.
According to the American Dental Association, dental practices have been much slower to switch to electronic health records than their physician counterparts. Much of this has to do with how practices are structured, since many dental practices have a sole dentist while other physicians’ offices can have dozens of doctors. Due to the size disparity, the cost to change can be too high for dental practices.
However, at Dr. Ku’s office we believed the investment in a paperless practice was important for our patients and their care, and we were willing to use our resources to make it happen.
What are the benefits?
Thanks to the involvement of the American Dental Association, electronic health records are being improved specifically with dentists in mind. Since all practices of medicine are different, it’s important there’s not just a “one size fits all” approach to a paperless dental practice. Here are some of the reasons why we believe they are so beneficial:
- Improved patient safety through better documentation and built-in protocol and reminders that increase the quality of care. Additionally, if a patient needs their records sent to another provider, they can easily be sent electronically instead of having to fax or copy the paper records.
- E-prescribing allows your dentist to submit a prescription directly to the pharmacy. Patients no longer need to wait around for prescriptions to be filled after dropping off a paper order. This saves the patient time and increases the likelihood of prescription compliance.
- More efficient billing results in less time for both the office and patient on the phone with their insurance company. Documenting everything digitally helps to ensure billing codes are current and the turnaround for reimbursement from an insurer is prompt.
Are my records secure?
Rest assured, by law there are safeguards that must be in place for any office to operate an electronic health records system. In fact, these records are more secure than paper records left out in the open in the middle of a practice. Electronic records can be opened only by authorized users as opposed to anyone who may want to open up a paper folder.
In addition, paper records had the potential to be tampered with. An electronic system logs whoever accesses certain patient records and notes who makes changes. Therefore, there is always an electronic paper trail detailing any modifications made.
Finally, electronic records are secure in the event of a disaster. Whether it be a natural disaster or an act of theft, it is much more difficult to destroy something if there is no paper copy.
At Dr. Ku’s office we are very pleased with our current system and would be happy to answer any questions you have about it!
Also published on Medium.