For a long time, dental offices have kept their patient records on paper and had stored them in file cabinets. Dentists and their staff would have to access these drawers every time they need the patient’s file. However, with COVID-19 still lingering, these high-touch surfaces pose a great risk of transmission. Fortunately, there are many options, such as our Paradigm Clinical software, for dental offices to a digital transformation to minimize the need for these physical files.
Many offices may be using dental software for their appointment book, but going fully paperless can be a daunting task. However, the benefits that it can bring to your practice will help you elevate efficiency and productivity. Below are benefits that a digital transformation can bring to your practice:
Organized patient database
Having a paperless system means all your patient records will be digitized. You’ll be able to look up a patient file quickly without having to rummage through a file cabinet. All the relevant files (x-rays, clinical notes, insurance information, etc.) will also be organized and saved in their file. With everything in one place, you and your staff can keep up-to-date with patients without having to gather multiple physical files to look at.
Even if your office decides to keep the paper documents during the transition, you will no longer have to worry about finding more space for physical records in the future.
Having a paperless system means that many processes can be simplified or automated. Being able to do so will help your practice increase its efficiency. Below are some areas that will greatly benefit from going paperless:
- Patient registration: digital registration forms will reduce repetitive work (i.e. re-inputting data after a patient fills out a paper form). Instead, the information that the patient inputs will directly populate their patient file.
- Patient communication: with patient contact information digitized, you can easily send marketing emails and/or newsletters to them. You won’t have to manually copy and paste email addresses since your dental management software should be able to create the list for you.
- Patient recare cycles: manually keeping track of recare cycles for each patient takes a long time. With dental management software, you can set up your patient’s account according to their insurance policy and the software will keep track of it for you. It will even remind you to book them in when they are due for their next recare.
- Appointment reminders and confirmation: appointment reminders and confirmations are a time sink when you have to contact each patient manually. However, with your dental software, your patients can receive automated reminders via email or SMS at set intervals (e.g. 2 days before their appointment).
Database can be backed up and recovered easily
Physical files of patient records can be lost forever in the case of accidents (e.g. fires, floods). Losing your patient records would be costly and detrimental to your practice. With a paperless system, your data can be backed up locally and in a different location to ensure that you’ll always have a viable copy. This will protect you from any unexpected events such as data corruption, cyber attacks or natural disasters.
Centralized access to the patient database
A paperless system means that your appointment book and patient database can be accessed securely on multiple computers within the office. This ensures that you and your staff have the exact same information, no matter where it is accessed. Having access to the software in multiple locations also allows you to be more efficient as the office won’t be passing paper files around.
Having your data digitized also allows you to have secure remote access to your appointment book and patient files outside of the office. In other words, you don’t need to go back to the office just to check something quickly or make small changes.
Your patients expect that their information will be protected by your practice and discarded properly if required. However, the most you can do for physical files is implementing locks on the cabinets and paper shredders. By digitizing your patient database, all the patient files will be stored securely. PHIPA compliant dental management software will encrypt your data before backing it up. This way, if theft or cyberattacks were to happen, the hacker won’t be able to access any patient information without the decryption code. The files can also be deleted permanently when required.
If you have contemplated going through a digital transformation, now is a great time to do so. Although the pandemic may have kept business slow, it’s also a great opportunity to transition to the new system. You’ll also have more time to go through training to use the system most effectively.
It’s important to shop around to see which dental software most suits your needs – especially if you want to use it for more than just an appointment book. If you would like to chat about dental software and digital transformation, contact us today! Our sales director will be happy to help you assess your needs and give you recommendations.