Ever since getting into dental school, a big hassle has been managing paperwork. It is a mundane task and completing it only produces further tasks in the form of consolidating and managing large amounts of physical records. Though computers have made our lives much easier by simplifying billing and accounting and even patient records, we are still a long way to go before letting go of our paper habits. But, have you tried imagining how your office would be if it was 100% paperless? Is that even possible?
Dental practices deal with various instances where they are forced to use physical records. These include coordinating with suppliers, dental labs and other service vendors as well as maintaining patient records, schedules, reminders and calendars. Current practice management systems offer integrated solutions that streamline every bit of your practice from 3rd party coordination to internal data storage and ensure easy accessibility for all your data without the need for any paperwork.
There is then, the fear of data loss that makes practices stick to good old paper to back us up if technology fails. However, modern practice management systems store data on the cloud on dedicated servers with 24 hr protections and data redundancy systems. This means a 100% paperless practice is now possible and practical.
Efficient paperless practices with cloud based practice management systems
A modern cloud based practice management solution brings major changes in the following areas:
Patient intake forms and eligibility analysis can easily be made paperless, also removing the need for an additional step in entering the data onto the system. Even the scheduling calendar is so functional on modern practice management systems that it is as flexible as your hard calendar, while being substantially more functional. Several other smaller functions like rescheduling ques are also not necessary anymore. Even receipts can be emailed to your patients.
Charting, treatment planning, care notes, perio charting, imaging, patient records and even prescriptions can be done on the chair-side monitor in modern solutions. This makes the whole process considerably faster and more convenient. This also increases accuracy and prevents common errors in treatment code entry.
Finance modules feature options for fee schedule management, e-claims, printing paper claims wherever needed without need for manual entry, claim tracking, ERA posting, statements or even regular financial reports. Having all these functionalities on a single system can help a practices achieve a paperless back-office.
Going paperless should also benefits your patients. An integrated patient portal allows your patients to readily access all their documents and imaging files. This enables easier access to your patients and frees us time of your front office staff.
Benefits of a 100% paperless practice
Accuracy: Data is prone for manual error only at the point of entry. In some cases, even this does not happen, such as in the case of patient intake forms they fill up themselves using their mobile devices. This improves accuracy and increases efficiency of everything from record keeping to claims submission.
Compliance: HIPAA compliance is increasingly becoming exposed and paper documentation adds unnecessary risk to the process. Electronic documentation and databases can be customized with access controls so that only the relevant members of your team can access sensitive data.
Ownership: Now that every action can be traced back to the team member responsible, there will be greater ownership of tasks and lesser mistakes from the team.
Speed: The patient’s check-in to check out time reduces when the office is made paperless. This streamlines the patient-flow between various departments and the overall flow becomes more efficient.
Accessibility: One of the biggest challenges with paper records is accessibility. Electronic records are readily accessible, no matter the time, location or type of file.
Security: Data stored electronically, in cloud based systems have redundancy and security measures, making it safer than paper records.