The Journey to Electronic Dental Records

Some dentists are more forward thinkers and visionaries than others. Or perhaps some are just techier than others. In the case of Dr. Nase, a private practice dentist in Harleysville, Pennsylvania, he leans towards the techy side. Also an adjunct clinical associate professor of restorative dentistry in Philadelphia, it’s important for him to keep with the latest innovations for teaching and research.

He has been practicing dentistry for many years and has, since the beginning of his career, had at least a computer in his office. As time went on, he slowly added and upgraded his offices’ technologies and now has a fully electronic health record (EHR) system.

“As an early-adopter dental practice, our entrance into technology was simply a standalone computer at the front desk that performed rudimentary billing and scheduling tasks” (2012).

He was very aware of the technological changes occurring in dental practices. Using paper chart records proved to be inefficient and was prone to errors. Patients were also aware of the changes in the health care industry and demanded the improvements to dental care as well.

“After the transition to EDR, it became possible to have an up-to-the-minute graphic display of history, current findings, and future work at a glance. The advantages seen with the addition of clinical EDR data is that there becomes a deliberate and unifying link between procedures performed, clinical record keeping, scheduling, and billing for each patient” (2012).

Dr. Nase’s forward thinking and planning has enabled him to build his dental practice and successful EHR one technological step at a time over a period of many years.

Lessons learned:

  • Successful EHR transition and implementation may take years to be fully realized.
  • Starting early with EHR transition allows for a more careful and deliberate implementation.
  • Committing to integrate paper chart records to digital records most challenging to process.
  • Office staff can focus more on patient relations and community building with improved workflows and EHR.

 

Nase, J. B. (2012, May). The electronic dental record: A 20-year odyssey. Dental Economics, 102 (5); 30-31.