Web-Based Solutions for Dental EHRs

Web-based management software for electronic health records (EHRs) and practice management systems is a viable option primarily for smaller and private dental and medical practices. These solutions are becoming more popular and may trend towards larger organizations as technology innovations advance. They are a practical, cost effective and secure way to manage the practice’s administrative tasks as well as electronic records. These systems store data in the cloud, rather than on a local hard drive.

“Web-based applications can run from a central server, and users need only a computer, a browser, and an Internet connection to access them” (2011).

Web-based solutions offers advantages that may be tough to overlook and impossible to not consider in the transition to EHRs. All information can be stored, manage and displayed via the Internet browser with authority secure access log-in. Dentists can monitor the progress of treatment from any computer within the network as well as access patient information instantly. Less hardware and software installation translates into cost and time savings for the practice. Also, upgrades and peripheral modifications are cheaper and easier.  Integration of data across providers can be accomplished through the Internet giving providers greater communication in coordination of care. Medical and dental providers can access the network from home if necessary.

Along with that flexibility does come a risk. Cloud-based systems need to be HIPAA-compliant. Whenever patient information is stored in an online application, shared through a portal or email, or backed up in a web-based system, there is the potential for failure to meet HIPAA regulations. As a result, dentists need to be informed about these risks and ask questions of the software providers. Are they HIPAA compliant? Are the back-up and storage solutions HIPAA compliant? Does patient communication within the portal meet HIPAA regulations?

Some web-based system EHRs come complete with digital data storage, photo and imaging storage, and online data sharing. Additionally, tutorial, email, presentation, and touch-screen applications are available. Patient information is more secure, can be encrypted, and less loss in the event of a disaster.

“Proper application can make everyone much more productive and can improve patient care. The used of an advanced Internet-based software program could augment overall improvement in many ways, such as facilitating better multidisciplinary treatments, optimized billing control and easy-to-recover information” (2011).

Lessons learned:

  • Cloud EHRs offers cost-effective efficient solutions for record keeping.
  • Web-based solutions only require computer with Internet access and browser.
  • Web-based system EHRs may offer more flexibility for completing tasks,
  • Cloud-based systems can be simpler to manage, with online help solutions.
  • HIPAA compliance is still an important and often unmet need in dental cloud technology, so ask questions and know the security of the product.

Cardelli, P., Turrini, R., Bulletti, A., Castelli, G., Vanini, A., And Pagnoni, A. (2011). New online management software and DICOM viewer for dentistry. International Journal of Computerized Dentistry, 14; 147-153.