5 Ways Going Paperless Can Improve Your Dental or Medical Practice
Now-a-days, almost every industry has been affected by information technology and the need to go digital. Communications, entertainment, shopping, and banking have all gone digital. Medical and dental practices are no exception.
Making the switch from paper to digital will not only help improve your practice management and patient care, it will keep your patients coming back. Let’s face it, no one wants to arrive 15 minutes early to fill out a form attached to a clipboard anymore! If you aren’t keeping up with the digital times, chances are you are losing productivity as well as patients due to outdated operations in your practice.
In this post we will cover five ways going paperless can ultimately improve your dental or medical practice.
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Going Paperless Provides Quick Access to Patient Information and Files
The benefits of Electronic Health Records (EHR) over paper records are undeniable. With EHR, doctors can instantly access patient data anytime and anywhere they need to. They can look at lab results and digital x-rays right away and communicate results to patients promptly. Doctors can also prescribe medications electronically.
EHR also makes collaboration with other healthcare professionals easier and more streamlined. When you keep digital records on every aspect of your patient’s care, it ensures that everyone involved has the access they need at their fingertips.
EHR is more optimal for patients, too. Patients can access their information online via a secure patient portal and even communicate with office staff electronically. This eliminates the need to call in to the office every time they have a question. Additionally, patients can request refills, print lists of current medications and keep track of their upcoming appointments. New patients and returning patients alike can complete medical forms and updates with ease online from a laptop or mobile device. The convenience of electronic medical records is truly remarkable.
Think for a moment what would happen to your practice if a natural disaster were to take place. If you are currently using paper charts, chances are hurricane, tornado, flood, or fire would destroy your paper records and render your practice inoperable. What would happen if you lost all of your data?
This is why upgrading to EHR is essential. With electronic files, properly backed up offsite, your practice can be back up and running quickly and efficiently.
Of course, we can’t talk about EHR without talking about the risks involved. Cyber criminals are constantly finding new ways to get their hands on sensitive electronic data. But that is why you must have the appropriate security software and protocols in place to minimize that possibility. Patient information protected by the proper software is much more secure than paper files. Consult your IT partner for best practices and recommendations.
Your patients’ health is safer with electronic health records because there is less room for error due to illegible treatment notes. In addition, the electronic transmission of prescriptions provides a greater level of security and accuracy for patients and their protected health information (PHI). E-prescribing gets the right medication in the patient’s hands more quickly.
Although transitioning to a paperless practice can cost more up front, in the long run it will save you money. First, you will no longer have the expense of office supplies such as patient charts, paper, and labels, etc. You can convert storage that used to house paper files into usable patient space. Your second area of savings will be in labor costs related to paper charts: creating, pulling, filing, and finding lost charts all consume a huge amount of staff time. Wouldn’t you like to see your staff spending that time filling your schedule and collecting money instead?
Speaking of collecting, you can use your electronic software to speed up the collection process, which also saves you money. Insurance claims can be submitted electronically and insurance payments can be deposited automatically, many times in a matter of days. Filing insurance claims electronically saves paper and postage, and is much more efficient than handling paper claims. Your electronic software will also make it easier to collect patient copays at the time of the visit and patients can utilize the electronic portal to pay their bills online.
As we mentioned earlier, accessing patient information will be much easier and faster when you are operating digitally. Going paperless will also save you the extra time it might have taken to transcribe information or decipher what was written down by a doctor. Instead of having to decipher the paper work and input it into a computer system, doctors and staff in the office are able to use computers during appointments to capture all the information needed - thus saving steps and increasing overall efficiency.
Just like the automation available for billing and insurance, appointment reminders can also be automated. The more office operations you can make digital and automate, the more efficiently your practice will run, which will in turn streamline patient flow and communication.
Today, the average patient uses technology on a daily basis for all kinds of things. So much of our lives is now handled by apps, email, and texts. We pay our bills through banking apps, manage our meal planning online, and keep in contact with our doctors electronically.
Patients appreciate the convenience and safety offered by paperless practices.
Converting to EHR will save your patients time, and will allow them to communicate with you more easily. What patient wouldn’t be happy with that?
Don’t leave your practice vulnerable to a natural disaster or in the stone age when it comes to operations. Start planning for your practice’s transition to paperless today.
Going paperless allows for a modern relationship with your patients, and creates a more streamlined and efficient office process. Staff can spend time previously wasted on paper charts, focusing instead on things that are more important. You can focus on patient care and growing the practice. It’s a win win!
Remember, change is the key to success. Continually improving your operations and making the shift to paperless will offer many great benefits to your dental or medical office.
Are you making the most of healthcare technology? Do you know what to look for in a managed IT service provider? Download our checklist to learn if you’re making the best choice for your practice.