ROI can be used as a clear indicator as to whether a particular project is worthwhile or not, though it should not be the only criterion. For dental practices, investing in a dental software system requires commitment over the long-term and in many cases, a multiyear contract with the vendor providing the software.
There are many factors which affect the return on investment: the total cost of implementation, estimated increase in productivity, volume of patients treated, time lost for training and converting old records etc. A practice may focus on any one of these metrics to improve ROI but an EHR can help employees accomplish tasks faster across the board.
Though some doctors hope to see more patients in a day, the time spent in entering data into the system can actually make for longer individual visits. Neither the doctor nor the patient wants to reduce the time spent in interacting with each other personally, so clinics need to look elsewhere in the process to save precious time.
Scheduling an appointment with the patient can frequently be a time-consuming process with paper records or poorly designed dental software products. With paper, employees had to search for the appropriate files of previous visits, make a note of the required treatment plan and then schedule an appointment in a suitable timeslot. The receptionist would have to talk to the doctor, the hygienist and the patient multiple times to make sure the appointment schedule is accurate.
Unfortunately, the experience with some dental software can be even worse. Older generation software needed more clicks to switch between windows and data was stored in multiple silos. This meant that patient information would not be automatically populated in the treatment window or appointments would not be imported into the calendar view – all this had to be done manually. Sometimes, the receptionist would not be able to access the treatment plan or the doctor would not be able to access the calendar because their user accounts didn’t have the appropriate authorization.
However the latest generation of EHR software products are better designed than their older counterparts. Doctors can transfer treatment plans directly into the appointment book and patient records are easily available in case some information is missing or needs to be changed. Dovetail dental software stores data on HIPAA compliant servers so that patient records are automatically pre-populated in the required fields. It saves time and improves the ROI since dentists can treat more patients without compromising on quality health care.