When EHRs were first introduced, they were bulky and cumbersome standalone software that had to be licensed, installed and maintained. They were also expensive enough that only hospitals and large multi-speciality practices could afford them. This left solo and small practices with few alternatives to paper records. There was considerable concern that the meaningful use program would mean the death of small practices as they would not be able to participate, and they may even be penalized for non-adoption.
However, recent research has indicated that EHR adoption among small practices has increased considerably in 2014 (Survey by SK&A, January 2014). 53.7% of solo practitioners now use EHRs compared to 42.3% in January of last year and this growth is reflected across other small practices (2 to 10 physicians). In fact, the slowest growth is seen in large practices with 25 or more physicians.
Is there a reason for this dramatic increase in adoption? A major factor behind this remarkable growth has been the availability of cloud EDR software. Initially, many practices were apprehensive at the thought of putting sensitive health information online but cloud EDRs have matured considerably in the last few years, especially with respect to data security and privacy features.
Cloud EDRs have made electronic record-keeping systems affordable for small practices. There are no licensing fees and no need to purchase expensive hardware. Many vendors offer an initial trial when the clinic can try the product to see if it suits them. Dentists and other employees are able to view and track patient information in real-time, whether they are working from home or the office.
Unlike on premise systems, upgrading does not require shutting down the system or waiting for a technician to install the software on servers. Updates are delivered automatically without affecting the productivity of the practice. Cloud software companies are able to develop new features and customize their product to suit the needs of their client more frequently. Apart from the inexpensive monthly subscription costs, cloud EDRs also reduce time spent in managing IT systems for doctors who can instead concentrate on their patients.
Dovetail EDR is one such cloud application that has made it easy for small practices to participate in the meaningful use program. A clinic can get started with our EDR software in minutes and the system can be accessed from any device with an Internet connection, including tablets. The application has been designed with input from practicing dentists, so it has all of the features you need and none that you don’t.