Technology changes have been constant in the dental marketplace in order to better equip providers for diagnosing and treating their patients. While these changes improve the quality of patient care, another type of technology helps providers in other ways. The age of paperless dental offices is here and is already being embraced by many providers.
With a paperless office, monotonous time-intensive tasks such as printing, scanning, and shredding patient forms are eliminated. Patient handwriting is no longer a concern either since the data completed on an iPad is often transferred directly into the practice management system. A large number of documents utilized in a dental office can also lead to several hours spent sorting and filing – time saved through the easy selection quick access of digital forms. Patient Registration, Medical History, HIPAA Forms, and Consent Forms are just a few of the many documents that are customized and implemented into the mConsent App.
Finally, the new patient registration process can be streamlined by allowing patients to complete forms beforehand, instead of waiting until they arrive at the practice. By adding a link to the practice website, or simply emailing the link, new patients are able to complete and sign any and all needed forms from the comfort of their home. Once finished, the documents are sent directly to the practice for one-click approval into their practice management.
Using the example of a typical dental office, we can gain further insight into how a paperless system impacts the practice. Practice A sees 30 patients per day or 660 patients per month. New patients are often required to complete registration, medical history, HIPAA forms, and financial documents. The cost includes the printing, scanning and shredding charges. When they return for subsequent visits, patients are also asked to complete consent forms and medical history updates. Additionally, each patient chart contains progress notes, clinical notes, and other handwritten paperwork. One thing that should not be ignored is the data entry errors that occur while entering these details from form to dental practice management software. Factoring in all of the above, Practice A is often generating 3000 – 4000 documents per year per provider. Then, factor in the cost of charts, labels, cabinets, and office floor space, and the cost for each patient chart, charges of ink, paper, data entry of 30 patients each day, scanning doc time, document management cost, machine maintenance sum up to $400/month. Using that price as a basis, the minimum cost for paper alone would be $4800 annually.
In summary, a dental practice that transitions to a paperless office will see a savings – both in time and actual material cost – which will result in a dramatically higher ROI for the providers.