In recent years, the healthcare industry has been focusing on lean practices and moving towards a paperless workplace to improve efficiency, reduce security issues, increase patient satisfaction and streamline the organization. One market that is currently taking on the new business process is the dental industry. When a dental office starts transitioning over to a new document management solution, other systems that have been previously used for years, such as X Ray films, should be kept according to Dr. Ryan Brown from Dental Economics’ website.
Brown said dentists also have the difficult transitional task of keeping up with their schedule. He called this a nightmare that would make any dental team anxious, but added that offices looking to go paperless with workflow software don’t have to do it all at once, but instead can take it one step at a time.
To start going paperless, Brown said offices should create treatment plans from within the new software, then go digital with the X-rays, then use digital download software.
Many offices still use paper for treatment plans, but with today’s management systems, treatment planning is quicker with software. Beyond increasing speed, electronically captured information is easier to access and lends itself to better workflow. With the X-rays, Brown said time is saved by not having to develop film, there’s less radiation on patients and X-rays can be sent electronically for faster payment.
“If you haven’t already gone digital, now is a good time to shop,” he writes. “Like everything else electronic, prices have come down and the technology has gotten better.”
iDatix, a document management company, said their document management program works well for medical practices trying to turn their office into a center for electronic health records. Healthcare providers can have an easy transition if they want to go to full electronic medical records.
“You can go paperless one step at a time, at your own pace,” Brown said.
Another document management company, Xerox, reported that Family Physicians of Marion, Virginia are now realizing the advantages of the new technology. Dr. Robert Clampitt, head physician at the office, said that the workflow was overhauled overnight.
“Documents are now at the fingertips of the office staff simply by doing a desktop search or quickly browsing the appropriate folder,” he said on Hungate Business Services’ blog, adding that it has been a value for their practice. “Patient records can be called up quickly and easily without sacrificing staff time.”
A corporate wide solution is the end goal, but taking on portions piece by piece can eliminate the headache and burden of an enterprise wide deployment. Researching your current business state and choosing the right method for your organization will cultivate success. For some companies, a slow transition will be a better option, while other businesses may find that a quick changeover is best. Choosing a business management provider that understands your business needs and can adjust the solution to best suit your organization will help the move go seamlessly. Also, make sure the software can integrate with your current business state. The point is for workflow management to enhance and optimize your current business processes, not overthrow your company.