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    6 myths and facts about electronic health records

    Having spent my entire career in dentistry; different roles and responsibilities have allowed me to develop an appreciation of all areas of the dental practice and see how everyone must work together to create a both a positive working environment and patient experience. Today’s electronic health record (EHR) can be an important part of that work environment; bringing together clinical information, financial data, practice management systems and patient communications under one umbrella.

    Because there are many misconceptions about EHRs and what they can do for a dental practice, I would like to clear the air and set some of the facts straight.

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    Myth: There is no demand to implement electronic health records (EHRs).

    Fact: Many dental schools, dental hygiene and dental assisting programs across the country have implemented or are implementing EHRs because they are considered to be a standard, and may also be part of their program accreditation requirements. Therefore, more and more graduating dentists, assistants and hygienists are most familiar with EHRs as the way to document patient information. This can create a barrier between dental offices not yet implementing EHRs and new dental professionals leaving school and joining the workforce. Practices without a fully functioning EHR system may be compromised in attracting these new associates and team members if they are not utilizing this technology.

    Additionally, patients are looking for EHRs in dental practices. They have grown accustomed to the technology in medicine and to see it expand into other areas of healthcare is a natural occurrence.

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    Myth: EHR implementation is expensive.

    Fact: Many certified products (listed on the ONC website) have become very affordable because EHRs are very quickly becoming the industry standard. Competition among software companies is also forcing the prices down, making many systems’ price tag within reach of even the solo dental practice.

     

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