Embracing New Technology in Your Dental Practice

By Marie Chatterley

There are a variety of benefits and advantages to integrating computers and management software into your dental office systems offering both immediate results and long-term gain to your practice.

Benefits of using computers and management software in your office include:

Prevent embezzlement and insurance fraud

Computer systems and software are designed to record all activity in your office.  These records are difficult to alter.  Tracking the activity of your billing is one of the most effective forms of embezzlement prevention. 

Avoid malpractice claims

Writing chart notes out by hand can take extra time.  You may find that you repeat the same dialogue for the same procedures routinely.  A computer system can save a note and insert that lengthy note at the click of a button and allow you to make changes.  The date and time the note is entered is recorded.  The note can be signed by you and unalterable after 24 hours.  Your computer system allows you to make detailed notes for every patient and every procedure. 

Save time in your daily practice routine

This is the number one reason why most doctors want to implement a computer system and software.  No more piles of charts to take home and finish while watching TV.  Not only will charting be easier and quicker, but your treatment planning and billing will go faster.  Patient will have a clearer picture of financial requirements and insurance benefits before leaving your office thus promoting fewer problems when collecting at the time of service.

Receive insurance checks in less time

With a computer, your front office can easily check insurance benefits online and submit claims in a day.  You can also have claim checks automatically deposited into your bank account.  The turn around time for claims will likely drop to less than half.  Additionally, many banks provide check scanners to process checks at your office.

Tracking office statistics

Management software allows you to track a variety of practice statistics accurately.  Below are a few examples of how certain statistics can help you.

  • New patient flow and referral sources – know what forms of marketing are working and if you have enough new patient flow to support a new associate or partner
  • Gross and net production – track how much you are writing off with insurance networks and analyze which plans you can afford to drop
  • Insurance aging and A/R – follow up on outstanding accounts and control your receivables
  • Recall  - send recall reminders via email and/or text messaging

Knowing your practice statistics will enable you to manage the practice more effectively and will help for future transitions such as partnerships, associate buy-ins, and practice sales. 

Higher practice value when selling

Doctors purchasing practices today automatically have a discounted offer in mind when they see an office without computer equipment, management software and digital x-ray systems. If cost is an issue, know that the value this adds to the practice means that you are likely to make it back in the sale price.  There are many price options with computers and software. 

Make a plan to implement computer systems and management software.

There is no such thing as “gradually going paperless.” Most offices worry that the process will take too long and the learning curve will be too great.  However, most offices can make a successful transition in a total of 2-3 business days. 

Set a date for when you want to be paperless and schedule two days back-to-back for software training.  If you or your staff members are unfamiliar with computers then you will need an additional day for basic computer training.  The day after training, schedule your appointments with 5-10 extra minutes to get used to the management software. 

It usually takes 6-8 months of data entry to update all your patient records.  I recommend going through this process at each patient’s regular 6 month check-up.  You will need your old charts handy and it will take an extra 2-5 minutes to chart existing work into your software.  If you do it by patient, each day the task of recording all your chart data becomes manageable for anyone.

Don’t wait any longer.  Bring value and efficiency to your practice today by integrating technology into your system.

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