As technology evolves, dental offices have the ability to simplify administrative tasks and improve the efficiency of their front-end operations. With the integration of electronic patient forms, menial and redundant and menial tasks can be virtually eliminated from office administrators' already-busy schedules, freeing up their time to focus on important job functions such as patient relations and insurance claims processing.

The primary functions of a dental receptionist or administrator are intended to be `patient relations, payment processing, and billing insurance providers. Unfortunately, in many dental offices, these employees are required to spend much of their day performing menial data entry and filing tasks, leaving them unable to adequately perform the most important duties related to their positions. Additionally, a study conducted recently by the Journal of Graduate Medical Education found that 90% of physicians surveyed found a great deal of their time spent with patients was spent doing paperwork, and 73% of physicians surveyed felt that high amounts of patient care documents had a negative effect on patient care. Although this doesn't directly correlate to the dental industry, a similar amount of paperwork is expected when intaking a new dental patient and many dentists would agree that the paperwork process negatively impacts patient care.

Thankfully, the workload attached to paperwork can be drastically reduced in dental offices. Programs like mConsent fully digitize healthcare forms, allowing dental receptionists and administrators to streamline the patient intake process.mConsent allows patients to complete consent and patient information forms online from home, or directly on an iPad in the office at the time of their appointment. mConsent easily integrates with Dentrix, Eaglesoft, Open Dental, and Dentrix Enterprise to easily merge data, negating the need for data entry. This reduces the manhours required at the front desk, and as a result, reduces labor costs as the front-end staff becomes more efficient.

On average, dental offices spend $14,330 per year on office supplies. Much of this expense can be attributed to paper products. Going paperless may save dental offices thousands of dollars in supply costs each yearly. In addition to this, going paperless is a great way to reduce carbon footprint and help to save our environment.

Dental offices can benefit from going paperless in other ways too. With administrative staff available to focus on patient care in a more attentive way, sales are likely to increase as word of mouth spreads about the office's friendly service. Administrative staff who are not expected to spend their full day performing menial data entry tasks are generally happier and healthier employees, as well.

Sources:
Houston Chron:
https://work.chron.com/dental-receptionist-responsibilities-12490.html
National Center for Biotechnology Information:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3886458/
Becker's Dental Review: https://www.beckersdental.com/news-and-analysis/32200-34-statistics-on-private-dental-practice-operating-costs.html

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