Dental Management: Dentists Worry About The Security of Going Paperless

Security of going paperlessWhile a few pioneering dental practices are completely automated, the paperless dental office still has a ways to go before it is universally embraced by dentists.

In this survey, 29% of dentists said their dental practice is completely paperless, another 17% are mostly paperless, while 27% are making some progress, and the remaining 32% haven’t even tried.

When it comes to fully automating a dental practice, some of the things that worry doctors include legal ramifications of electronic patient notes, concerns about security, training costs, and the time it takes to implement.

“I still worry about the legal ramifications of electronic patient notes if in a court of law where the judge is more than a little skeptical about the tamper-proof quality of computers,” said one dentist.

Here are some comments we got when we asked dentists, “Do you have a “paperless” dental office?”

  • “Consents are the only thing lacking. We have purchased Dentforms, but have not implemented as of today.” (Georgia dentist)
  • “I don’t know how an office can be totally paperless. I can see how they can be chartless.” (California dentist)
  • “I opened my practice in 2003 paperless from the get-go. I can’t imagine doing it any other way. Digital everything is great! It certainly is more efficient and it’s wonderful not having to use up valuable office space with stacks and rows of paper patient files!” (Ohio prosthodontist)
  • “We are not completely paperless we still do some scan and shred. Paperless plus digital saves at least one employee. Some offices use new “things” and maintain the old ways. Some use old “things” and old ways. A few create new ways to work and look for the easiest most cost effective way to make it happen. Is you office designed for paperless? What is the next frontier?” (Missouri dentist)
  • “A better term would be chartless. We still have paper statements, invoices, etc.” (California dentist)
  • “Paperless is the best thing that ever happened to us!” (Florida hygienist)
  • “I have heard from other practitioners that it is very time consuming and she spends a lot of time correcting staff entries. I’m afraid that I’ll miss something and also don’t want to take all the extra time to do templates and correct entries.” (California dentist)
  • “I see no immediate need and I have some concerns about security.” (Texas dentist)
  • “We have digital x-ray and online clinical notes. The only things remaining in the chart are signed papers, referral slips and EOBs that aren’t available electronically. At this point going completely paperless seems like more trouble than it’s worth. We don’t see any point in spending money to go paperless with the rest of it right now. We have greatly limited the amount of times we are actually touching a paper chart.” (Minnesota dentist)
  • “Try it you’ll like it. At first you might slow down. Later the benefits will be self-evident. It is a big cultural shift for the practice though.” (California prosthodontist)
  • “We scan everything but still keep the paper copies. This adds work but saves us time later.” (California orthodontist)
  • “5 years and no looking back. We are chartless — not actually paperless. This makes much more sense to us and to our patients. No huge wall of charts, no misplaced charts, easy to treatment plan, track, and follow up. Much much cleaner for staff. Lots of time savings. 1 front desk employee for 3 dentists and 2 hygienists at busy office … efficiency starts with chartless!” (Illinois dentist)


About Jim Du Molin

+Jim Du Molin is a leading Internet marketing expert for dentists in North America. He has helped hundreds of doctors make more money in their practices using his proven Internet marketing techniques.


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