Implementing EHR technology is not an easy task for most private practices. Solo practitioners have less time and fewer resources to put into the effort while multi-speciality groups dread the thought of shutting down clinical operations to setup the system or tying up employees with training in order to learn the software. Nevertheless with stage II of the meaningful use program well underway, most dental practices are in the process of making the transition to electronic dental records and practice management systems.
A recent survey of practices who are considering the purchase of dental software technology revealed some of the reasons why dentists are holding off on EHRs. The top requested software feature was imaging device or digital sensor functionality with 18% of respondents saying they wanted it (Survey conducted by dental software research company, Software Advice, November 2014). But what does it mean exactly?
Not long ago, computers belonged in the front office of any clinic mostly used by the receptionist to set up appointments. Now practically every aspect of dentistry requires some sort of digital component. Radiography, imaging, treatment planning and charting are some of the processes that have digital controls, software interfaces or embedded chips with software components. Since many such medical equipment predated EHRs, not all of them have modern interfaces and intuitive controls.
Many dentists are frustrated with the clunky software included in older generation dental tools which often required a patchwork of software bridges in order to interface with practice management systems or electronic dental records. Not only are they not compatible with modern software but many also suffered from security vulnerabilities. In fact, quite a few dental practices are looking to buy both hardware and software at the same time so as to ensure interoperability.
Even in the instances where dental devices are equipped with appropriate software, they required multiple clicks to set up or manage. Given that many doctors are already struggling with the transition to keyboard and mouse from traditional paper and pen, the fewer steps required to take an image, the better it is for everyone involved in the task. If the PM system, EHR and imaging software cannot talk to each other seamlessly, it wastes not only the doctor’s time but also the patient’s.
The inclusion of digital sensor technology illustrates one of the many problems still plaguing dental software adoption. For many practices it is not a question of simply upgrading one system but a process of implementing end-to-end solutions that need to work together. Dovetail dental software was conceived in collaboration with practicing dentists so that our clients need not struggle with integrating our software into their daily workflows. Our EDR solution just works, so you don’t have to manage it constantly.