3 tips for going paperless in 2014

December 31st, 2013

Dental academic software can be just the tool universities need to truly integrate electronic health records into their operations in the new year.

Private practices around the U.S. are adopting paperless management systems at a rapid pace, thanks to advancements in technology, as well as attractive incentives from the federal government. For instance, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services currently offers $63,750 through a six-year program for institutions that implement meaningful use of EHRs for the purpose of serving patients that are currently enrolled in Medicaid.

Academic institutions aren't excluded from these incentives either. In fact, running a dental school is a complicated task – especially when these organizations simultaneously operate active clinics for the community. The dynamic nature of these organizations makes the potential for EHR technology even more beneficial. Here are three ways universities can take the steps necessary for eliminating paper for a more efficient management process in 2014:

1. Involve users in the planning process
Investing in advanced dental school software is a smart idea for schools, but it will only work if administrators, professors and care providers are familiar with how it fits into their day-to-day operations. According to the online publication Healthcare IT News, it's important to ensure the users of the technology are familiar with its many advantages before implementing it at a full scale.

2. Understand its impact on operations
Communicating the benefits of EHRs is another important step in aiming for a truly paperless management system. John Whitham, principal of health care information technology at ECG Management Consultants, told the website EHR Intelligence that organizations can do a much better job of maximizing the full potential of new technology.

"While there are many reasons for making system changes, organizations typically aren't doing a great job of optimizing the use of the technology that they already have and they are making system replacement decisions when it's not for some kind of strategic reason without looking first at how they can really optimize the use of it," Whitham said.

3. Stop using paper
Finally, the most important step to implementing EHRs is to actually go paperless. Oral care technology expert Larry Emmott wrote an article for the website for the online publishing network DentistryIQ arguing that EHRs will only be effective if the institution truly stops producing print files.

"Of course that seems so obvious – yet it is the biggest problem most dental offices face when attempting to make the transition from paper charts to electronic records," Emmott explained.

With the right dental school software, universities can experience all the benefits of paperless technology in 2014.

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