EHRs help dental hygiene schools improve student engagement

September 15th, 2014

Software for dental hygiene schools can help university administrators leverage electronic health record adoption in a way that improves the quality of education students receive.

Ann-Marie DePalma, an American Academy of Dental Hygiene fellow, argued in an RDH Magazine article that EHRs are a viable solution to student engagement problems in the academic sector. She pointed out that many people who enroll in dental hygiene programs in the U.S. do so with the intention of simply achieving short-term employment. They rarely have large-scale career goals in mind, which can impact their attitudes and hinder their potential for growth.

Academic programs are embracing new technology
However, the growing interest in EHRs presents an opportunity for educators to incorporate an additional element of skills development for students. Academic institutions that make the transition from paper records to EHRs often benefit from greater efficiency, collaboration and expertise. By embracing 21st-century technology, these organizations also make it possible for program enrollees to become familiar with unique technology, which will open doors to a variety of other career options in the future.

There's no denying the future of EHRs in the dental hygiene sector. A recent report from Health Affairs revealed that the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009, which created incentives for health care providers to go paperless, has since led to more than $26 billion in EHR investments in the U.S. With an advanced dental hygiene school software program, university officials can easily join the rest of the health care industry to improve the quality and efficiency of their management technology.

How exactly do EHRs improve the quality of student education?
DePalma added that a more high-tech dental hygiene program can create a more collaborative learning environment that fosters students with more meaningful leadership skills. For example, EHR integration requires input and cooperation from multiple departments, which means students will gain real-world experience working in teams to move projects forward. Oral health professionals are also paying more attention to how their own work relates to patients' overall health – meaning dental practices, universities and other institutions are working more closely with professionals in other health care fields such as optometry and cardiology.

With experience managing these tools, an individual may feel more engaged and in charge of his or her own education and career path. 

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