Paperless dental practice: What does the patient gain?

Conversations centered around the benefits of paperless dental practices often fail to emphasize the improved quality of care and convenience for patients.

Automated appointments allow a dental practice to set up a system for regular communication with clients through asynchronous text messages and email. Rather than relying on patients to phone in during business hours, email or SMS appointment reminders, follow-up surveys, or newsletters establish frequent and routine two-way communication that best conforms with the patient’s location and schedule. Messaging can often appear more personalized to the patient than automated phone calls or postcards. However, security is still a big issue for many dental patient communication technologies. Most email is not compliant with HIPAA, and insecure email can open practices up to litigation and reduce patient trust.

Patients are already paying most of their bills online and they expect no less from their dentist. Paperless practice management systems allow them to conduct business 24/7 and check account balances online.

Newer practice management systems allow for multimedia patient education tailored to the client.  Paper handouts no longer meet the needs of visual learners. In fact, the author states:

“Pamphlets are so twenty years ago!”

Online information allows patients to share what they have learned with family and friends once they return home.

Lessons Learned:

  • Patients gain from dental practices going paperless.
  • Text message and email dental reminders and confirmations are convenient for patients.
  • Dental patients expect online bill paying and multimedia education.

Carter, T. (2012, July 23). Top three ways patients benefit from paperless technologies. Dental Products Report.