While some dental practices are implementing a software for the first time, others are in the process of migrating to their second or third provider. Nevertheless these two groups have one aspect in common – workflow changes. Dentists working on EHRs for the first time may need some time to adjust from paper and pen to electronics. Users who are on their second or third system find that they have to adapt to completely new ways of working – for the umpteenth time.
If any dental practice plunges into EHR implementation without any planning or forethought, it is likely that users will face a tough time. A dentist or hyginiest who is used to working a certain way will find it very difficult to switch away in an instant. While training can help alleviate some of the pain, the only real way to become better in the new software is to start using it in real world circumstances.
However even before users get their hands on the new system, it is vital that a small group of employees – generally one from each speciality/department – map out the old workflows. It is important to identify what workflows are common to every department and note the peculiarities inherent to certain subspecialties. For instance, patients who have had oral surgery may require additional notes before discharge while those who come in for a routine checkup can be billed immediately.
Once the workflows have been clearly mapped or outlined, the practice has to identify where and how the new software makes changes. In general, some workflows will remain the same while others will have to be modified significantly. The practice should analyze both the old and new workflows side-by-side to ensure that the changes are for the better in terms of time saved or convenience. In addition, it may be useful to run through a couple of patient records to catch any unintended consequences or extreme conditions that could break the system.
Once the new workflows have been developed, it is time to get feedback from a wider audience. It can be useful to have weekly or monthly meetings where the staff can give details as to why something does or does not work in the clinic. Initially resistance from users may be very high but will likely reduce as they get to the new software.
Dovetail is a cloud-based dental software that is extremely intuitive to grasp. Our clients are able to incorporate our software into their daily routine without dramatic changes to their existing workflows.