Digital Dental Records on the Rise among Dentists

Digital Dental RecordsDigital dental records aren’t yet universal, but more dentists have taken their patient files electronic than have not, according to our recent survey.

38% of practices have digital patient records are in use by 38% of dentists, and another 34% are in the process of converting. Only 29% don’t have electronic patient records.

The slight majority (56%) think electronic dental records save money in dental care. Only 38% think the security risks outweigh the advantages.

Here are some dentist comments:

  • “I would quit practicing dentistry if I had to go back to writing in paper charts ever again.” (California dentist)
  • “I haven’t been willing to take the time and effort with retirement being in the near future……” (General dentist)
  • “It has been 4 years and it was the best move we made.” (Bermuda dentist)
  • “Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, takes the place of a well-written and thoroughly documented paper chart! I may be old-fashioned, but a hard copy is so much better than some record ‘floating around’ in cyberspace.” (Alabama dentist)
  • “Too expensive. Technologies that may work well for hospital-based medical practice may have little or no application for office-based dental practice.” (California dentist)
  • “We find great value in the fact that each member of our team has the ability to access total patient information (clinical and financial) with just a few keystrokes. The increased access to information improves our ability to work as a cohesive unit, promotes cross-training, and creates an improved overall patient experience.” (Dental marketing for an endodontic practice)
  • “It’s a lot of work and planning….we’ve been working on conversion to a completely paperless office over the last 2 years and still are not 100% there yet! I’m convinced it’s improved our office thus far and will continue going forward.” (California prosthodontist)

Read more: Electronic Dental Records Gain Ground with Dentists

Dental Patient Records Sell for $15

HIPAA alert! It turns out that private dental patient records were sold for $15.

Yes – fifteen dollars. A “junk collector” in Stockton, California, spent $15 to purchase hundreds of boxes that had been left behind in a storage locker.

When he opened them up, he discovered thousands of dentist records – including names, Social Security numbers and dental x-rays. He works in the medical field and was immediately concerned about patient privacy issues. “Anybody had access to all this information for $15. I bought the shed and got all this info,” he said.

So how did this happen?

The files had been stored by a now-defunct company, and the files were somehow misplaced when that company was purchased by Dental Group of Stockton. That group had no idea the files existed, and recently stopped paying the rental fee for the storage space.

The man has considered filing a complaint with the state dental board. While Dental Group of Stockton initially rejected any responsibility for the files, in a smart dental management move, they have offered to pay all costs to destroy the information.

No word yet on if they’ll refund the $15 purchase price.

Read more: Junk buyer ends up with private dental records

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