Dentistry EHR Software Buyers Guide
Last updated: December 04, 2023
Dentistry Practices in the 21st Century—Are You Using the Right EHR?
Shopping around for an Electronic Health Record for your dental practice you’ve probably seen the long lists of options on the market. Warning: Although they’re meant for the health industry, they may not all be meant for you specifically.
To achieve maximum efficiency when implementing an Electronic Health Record your first step must be to look for relevancy—if it wasn’t designed for your niche you’re bound to experience a few problems along the way. And unfortunately, software companies took their time to cater to the dental industry.
The unique aspects of a dental practice (in comparison to a GP or other healthcare practice) require niche-specific software.
Now there are a few quality ones on the market and below we cover all aspects to help you pick the right one. Now is the time to optimize your practice.
The Important Foundation of Any EHR
First off, you need to vet all EHRs by doing a few quality checks. You can read specs or ask vendors about the program:
- What is the interface like? Will you and your staff find it user friendly? This is important if you want to streamline the transition.
- Does the service provider offer impressive security features? Your patients’ personal details will be captured and you must ensure it can’t be hacked.
- Can the vendor provide proper technical support and what are their promises regarding downtimes? Will they help you during emergencies 24/7?
- How compatible is the product with the existing software as well as equipment you use already?
Modern Technology at Your Service
The technological part of the software can also benefit you greatly if you pick the right one, but don’t feel pressured here: There isn’t always one right solution that will work for everyone. You can tailor it to your budget, preferences and scenario:
- Decide if you want a cloud based system where all your information will be easily accessible no matter where you are, or a server based system. The servers can be on your premises which gives you full control, but also consider the advantages of them being off site at your vendor: You don’t have to concern yourself with upkeep, managing downtimes or employing IT personnel. If you don’t own servers yet, know that this requires a huge capital expense.
- Gauge whether the design is for single or multiple location management. If you operate at various practices you need support for the large network. However, don’t pay for advanced features of this category if you’re never going to use them at your small clinic.
Unique Features Worth Investing in
Apart from all those background details, dentists have the following to look forward to in software designed specifically for them.
Dental Practice Templates
The goal of acquiring EHR software is to help you get more work done each day. That’s made possible with niche specific templates where it takes a few clicks, ticking off boxes and minimal typing to take comprehensive notes of a consultation. This is possible when the templates contain relevant options for conditions you’re likely to come across in dentistry.
More advanced dentistry practice EHR will even allow you to quickly add a new template to a file so emergency consultations also flow well. They may have automated measuring tools, another example of how software can save time.
When you waste less time on documenting you can give patients your full attention while they’re in your consultation rooms.
Use Images More Effectively
You know X-rays (and some other imagery) play a huge role. You use it when treating a patient, as well as in documenting patient history. EHRs for dentistry practices should allow you to add these to patient files so you can keep track of all you do.
Note that when you convert your paper based system to a Dental EMR Software you’ll need to add the details you wrote down or typed to these images. Also, if you take notes during a consultation now, make full use of this feature and let the graphics reflect your notes.
Stay Connected With Your Network
You won’t be working alone on all your patients—occasionally you may have to engage with other health professionals, surgeons or laboratories in the interest of a patient. For all these interactions it’s ideal if your EHR will be compatible with their software.
This is a crucial area to investigate before you buy, as this is not a given in many Dental Electronic Medical Record Software.
You will also have to write prescriptions every now and then & the modern way is not using paper. Submitting prescriptions online via Electronic Health Record to a pharmacy leads to many advantages:
- It’s a more secure system which can’t be as easily abused or manipulated as a paper prescription pad.
- You waste less time writing and on an EHR platform many tasks are automated or simply require a few mouse clicks.
- High-end programs will remind you when patients require repeat prescriptions, leading to fewer calls to your office. This saves you and your staff members valuable time.
Once again, one simple feature leads to you having more time on your hands so you can see more patients each day and give them your full attention once they’re in the chair.
If your EHR provides a patient portal it can help you on various fronts:
- Less time spent on manual bookings
- Patients feel more connected with the practice which will affect your reputation and draw more patients
- More accuracy because there’s no transferring data from paper to a database; Patients can fill in forms online
It has taken some time for software developers to catch up and start offering dynamic Dentistry Electronic Health Record software. But now you have no reason not to try the new products and using this information to pick the right one will ensure an excellent long term investment. You, your staff as well as your patients will be glad you did.