A Dental Office Without Electricity

“Today’s office without Information Technology is like yesterday’s office without Electricity…  Today’s Practice without an Electronic Oral Health Record is like yesterday’s office without a Copy Machine.”

When Farren Hurwitz stated this at the 2012 CPCA HIT Summit, it made waves. Health Choice Network has invested in electronic records, as the inevitable wave of the future. (Click here to download the slides from her presentation.) If you can’t imagine implementing and supporting an EDR for your practice, the services and assistance of a network may be worth considering. Their business model is to provide the data centers, backups and business support to dental practices throughout the nation.

The presentation overviews several kinds of training for EDR use, including “train the trainers,” or key user training, “end user training,” half day focused sessions for particular types of users, and longer-term training. Also, views into what the system looks like are provided, like the thumbnail below.

electronic dental software presentation

The most interesting portion is about an integration of dental and health information at two pilot sites, in Florida and California. This project allowed for sharing of medication, allergy and systemic health information across physician and dental providers. One of those groups, Family Health Centers of SW Florida, now offers integrated oral health records to all patients.

Just as we can’t imagine an office without a copy machine, the world is transitioning to electronic storage, access and exchange of information. From treating the whole patient to including dentists as part of a complete healthcare team, the changes will be far-reaching.

Lessons Learned:

  • Organizations exist to assist dentists in selecting, implementing, backing up and upgrading dental EHRs.
  • As the US moves into the era of electronic health records, dentistry won’t be left behind.
  • Oral health information needs to be included to provide full patient information to physicians, and dentists need access to primary care information.

Hurwitz, Farren. (2012) Electronic Dental Record (EDR). CPCA HIT Summit. (PDF download of slideshow)