The dental profession is often managed by a dentist or two, a hygienist or two, and an office person or two. The fact is many dental offices are small private practices. Perhaps the dentist is slowly stepping into retirement. Maybe the current dentist is thinking about selling the practice. They, in all likelihood, sport a smaller operating budget as well. Those issues alone could prevent or hinder the dental office from transitioning or upgrading their current system, whether paper-based or computer- based, to more modern electronic health record (EHR) technologies.
One solution is available that might be more encouraging, less demanding, and may even pleasantly surprise your bottom line with a nice return on your investment: Cloud computing.
“Web-based dental software should not be immune from careful scrutiny. Using the Internet as a platform for accomplishing tasks delivers some advantages over traditional client server software. But does that make the software a smarter investment over client-server software?” (2012)
This web-based, software-as-a-service technology option just might be right for your practice. It boasts more efficiency with less hardware upgrades. If your workstations and other equipment are due for replacement anyway, it might be a good idea to do that while evaluating cloud technology vendors.
However, the only requirements to participate in cloud EHR technology is a computer and Internet access. Everything else can be tailored to your practice. Of course, there is the issue of subscription fees.
All in all, for smaller practices, cloud computing offers a breath of fresh air from having to invest thousands in equipment and/or upgrades and service installations. And cloud computing may allow the practice to see a sizeable return on their investment in terms of better patient services. They can focus their business on serving their patients rather than managing the operations. They can be the dentist they went to dental school for.
- Cloud computing may better serve small practices.
- Software-as-a-service is a viable EHR option.
- Cloud technology may eliminate costly equipment and service installations or upgrades.
Lavine, L. (2012, March). Finding an ROI in the cloud. Dental Economics, 102 (3); 112.