Going Chartless - Not As Scary As You May Think!
All those paper records that are sitting on your shelves…what to do about them? It’s a daunting task just thinking about where to start. Since I don’t sell software or hardware, I am writing this article from a practice management standpoint to hopefully eliminate some of the fears that this project brings to dentists.
Reason to Go Chartless #1 - Better Use of Employee Time
Reason to Go Chartless #2 - Instant Access to Information
Reason to Go Chartless #3 - Reduction of Clutter
Reason to Go Chartless #4 - Storage Space
Reason to Go Chartless #5 - Supply Cost Savings Over Time
These are a few of the primary reasons. Let’s review what it takes to make the move, keeping it simple. I am not going to discuss the investment that is needed, since this involves hardware and software.
Steps to Go Chartless - Software Training
Steps to Go Chartless - Digital X-ray Training
Steps to Go Chartless - Set a Date to Stop Pulling Charts
This step does require some preliminary work. Fast and small scanners are needed to make the scanning of existing information quick and easy. It is not necessary to scan everything that is in the patient’s record. Sit down with your team and determine what historical information you need access to in the patient’s digital record - these are the papers that are scanned. Some offices scan the last page of their clinical notes that are in the chart for reference. Scanning the medical history may be necessary unless you update all the patients’ medical history in the computer when they check in (depending on the software).
If you have not already implemented the use of routing forms, now is the time. Your routing form is like a small temporary chart and contains valuable information that is readily accessible so you don’t have to retrieve if from the digital record.
In conclusion, please don’t be scared that all your charts are going to suddenly disappear. You should keep them on the shelves for a period of time until you feel comfortable removing them from the office. I find this is a piece that is always missing from the doctor thinking of going chartless - letting go of that piece of paper!
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