Imagine a game of Rock Paper Scissors. If you’re familiar, you know that paper covers rock, but scissors — that’s a different story. The analogy works especially if you’re committed to becoming a paperless dental practice.
Paper does indeed cover a lot. Even so, there are limitations to its efficiency.
Technology has leveled the field. The evolution of device technology, smartphones, e-commerce and cloud software has transcended paper-based systems.
Technology aside, paper will likely stick around. For example, Forbes confirms that the paperless narrative has been around for years, but “the average office worker still uses some 10,000 sheets of paper a year.”1
Research from Medium also confirms that corporate America spends over $120 billion on printed forms. Most become outdated within three months.2
Overall, there are steps many industries (including dental) are taking to transition from paper to digital. Most do so knowing the risks and costs.
Either way, the decision to go paperless ranges from partial to full scale. Each course of action is best navigated one step at a time.
And make sure your why goals are clear from the beginning.
Start with your operational procedures. Evaluate paper use across all your daily practice routines.
How paper dependent are you and your team around these common tasks? Again, there might be occasions when paper is required (e.g., insurance claims and legal documentation).
Action step: Explore your dental practice management software (PMS) capabilities and its support of paperless dental office software.
Speaking of software…
You might discover you’ve been underutilizing your dental PMS. Or you could find a third-party application will support your transition to being paperless.
Consider that your current practice environment is likely designed for a more traditional (analog) setup. Space for files, charts and paper-based supplies can be transformed to accommodate a paperless setup.
Startup dental practices have somewhat of a design advantage. Although, an established practice can also take advantage of a few redesign tweaks to adapt for paperless (digital) solutions.
Once you get a taste of paperless dental software, you’ll want to eliminate paper at every opportunity. But it’s important to pause before you empty and sell all your file cabinets.
There are downsides to being dependent on paper records. It’s equally essential to be aware of the security issues associated with using paperless dental office software.
A chartless or digital practice environment can be vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches, malware and human error. The necessary level of security goes beyond basic antivirus protection.
A good place to begin your transition to a dental paperless software solution is a workflow and systems evaluation. Becoming a paperless dental practice happens best in phases.
Cloud-based dental software provides an effective and efficient foundation for becoming a paperless dental practice. Check out these cloud-based and paperless dental software resources:
Dentrix Ascend from Henry Schein One centralizes data, supports the structure of your practice and/or DSO and provides scalability as your practice or organization grows.
Learn what makes Dentrix Ascend the right solution for your dental practice or DSO.