Learning through doing

January 19th, 2015

A great way to encourage students to learn about dentistry is through a clinic that uses dental enterprise software. Students generally learn best through active participation in a project, and nothing could be more active for someone studying to become a dentist than actually performing dentistry in the context of a dental clinic for real patients. Students can learn to use the challenging EHR software they will focus on in their future careers, which is especially important during this transition period from ICD-9 to ICD-10. Many schools already require individuals practice as dentists before earning their degrees, but having a clinic on the campus can help enormously to build student confidence.

An example of the way one school handles its dental clinic
The University of Colorado joined forces with a state dental program called Colorado Smilemakers, which helps underserved communities, The Norwood Post reported. This is one method for ensuring students understand how dental clinics work, but it may not be as effective as a clinic that is on campus grounds. When the campus itself has a dental school, then a wide variety of patients can be seen, and students can work with EHR using dental enterprise software. They are essentially training to work at their own clinic, and school professors can help out at the school as much or as little as they want. For people who truly desire the students to work hard and manage a clinic, the dental software could be such that it functions essentially in the same way as regular software used by an ordinary clinic. Thus students are essentially challenged to run a clinic by themselves, working hard to process insurance claims and collect payments. Dental enterprise software is efficient and just as technical as real software if the professors want it to be. It's a full-service solution, so if dental students need real life training, then they will get it from the EHR and the scheduling software alongside actually practicing as a dentist inside of someone's mouth.

The importance of active learning
This process of performing the science of dentistry is something important for students, as they won't be able to pass their certification if they haven't had practical experience. Students as young as middle-school age are getting hands-on training with science-related work at some schools, according to the Albuquerque Journal. The field of dentistry is wide, and constantly expanding as more information becomes available. The students who have actually worked in a clinic and used dental enterprise software will know how to handle themselves better through having learned in a real world setting, versus someone who did a very simple training program that only emphasized dentistry with none of the hands-on computer work.

Other fields also use a form of apprenticeship as part of their educational programs. This even includes furniture making, GRBJ cited. One maker of office furniture is offering up to 15 grants for classrooms that want to become active-learning centers. This means that students will learn to make furniture. Dentists – just like carpenters – have to learn to use rather complex tools and actually work in a setting where they could hurt someone. It is very important dentists practice in a real world setting.

EHR is also important because of how much of a compliance issue it is becoming.

Moving to ICD-10
Students who practice in a clinic that uses EHR will have the benefit of learning to use ICD-10 before it officially becomes a requirement. According to EHR Intelligence, people in the medical field are still advocating for a fast transition, although the government continues to delay an actual move to ICD-10 from the previous coding standards. Students should practice now before the transition actually happens.

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