ACA, EDR, HITECH and the list goes on. Such acronyms and abbreviations are part and parcel of modern healthcare. As a practice owner or dental professionals, you have to understand the effect and consequence they can have on your clinic. Most of them appear to have some relationship with computers and technology in healthcare.
Technology is making inroads into every aspect of healthcare and dentistry is no exception. It’s no longer enough for dentists or hygienists to stay up to date with the latest dental techniques and procedures. You have to bring the rest of your practice into the 21st century as well. Do you still have paper records and bulky folders in your office? Do you still fax, scan and mail paper documents all the time? Well it’s about time you updated the office with EDR technology.
EDRs Are No Longer A Luxury
There are several federal incentive programs for clinics that adopt EHR technology. Providers need to deploy certified EHR systems that can share information with other providers. The software should also be able to generate reports and measure certain clinical aspects. E prescribing and other digital methods of communication are also incorporated. The meaningful use program rolled out in several stages and has helped providers to offset the high costs of implementation.
Many dentists have assumed they can ignore EDRs because they do not meet the eligibility requirements (number of patient encounters paid for by Medicaid). But is that the only reason to use EDRs? The reality is that few clinics can keep up with the demands of modern healthcare without technology. Over the past few decades, the documentation required for patient visits has increased severalfold. At the same time, the number of patients seeking healthcare services to private and public insurance has soared. Paper just won’t cut it anymore.
EDRs can help you and your staff to cut down on overtime and needless paperwork. How many hours have you spent on the weekend or late evening in the clinic trying to catch up on clinical notes? EDRs can help automate data entry to a certain extent, especially applications that are equipped with voice recognition systems. EDRs can also make it easier to find and retrieve patient records. No more digging through filing cabinets – the files you need are only a few seconds away.
Another consequence of healthcare legislation is that providers are required to implement strict security and privacy measures. Doctors and dentists have to assure patients that their information will remain confidential and accessible only to authorized entities. It is difficult to secure paper records while at the same time making sure that legitimate users have access to the information they need. There is another benefit to EDRs – all your records are backed up in a secure, off-site location. If your office is destroyed by a fire or any other natural disaster, you will still have your files and data.
Patients Are Demanding Access
Even if you think your clinic does not need any help, your patients are demanding technology enabled access to their health information. Your clients expect services like online appointment scheduling, timely reminders, electronic prescriptions and refills etc. Many EDRs come with built-in patient portals that allow convenient access to authorized users. It means people can take their records with them when they move or switch providers without having to wait for faxes and mail delivery.
In today’s world, time is a scarce resource for both you and your clients. Dentists can no longer afford to ignore technology that offers both convenience and security. EDRs can help your practice grow and thrive, so don’t wait for legislation to catch up. Start the upgrade process today!