Dental Records—Digital vs. Paper
All businesses have to decide the best way to manage their records. When it comes to dental practices, the sheer abundance of record types can make it even more difficult to find a clear path. There are pros and cons to every method of record management, but long-term digital storage far outstrips its outdated hard-copy counterpart.
Paper is known as the “weak link” of business, obstructing the rhythm of the practice. Overall, increased productivity and profitability makes the effort required for the shift to a paperless office entirely worth it.
Every office is different, but with the technology that is accessible these days, looking into keeping everything digital is something that every dental practice should do. Economic, legal, and security advantages all stack up to make digital the best option overall for dental practices of all sizes.
In general, when records are stored in a hard copy format, employees spend about 25 percent of their time filing and finding records. This is time that could be redirected into more productive and profitable uses. Digital files are stored in a document management system (DMS) that allows your employees to access and store information almost immediately.
Scanning files into a DMS also opens up space that’s being used as physical storage for hard copy records. This space can then be repurposed in a much more efficient way, or downsized in order to cut expenses. Minimizing hard copies also allows for dental practices to save on materials such as filing cabinets, stationary, and paper.
Hard copy files are much more vulnerable to theft and damage due to natural disasters such as floods, fires, and earthquakes. Digital copies are backed up so they are protected even if the physical location is compromised. They are also secured behind firewalls in order to make sure only those permitted can access them.
This security that comes with document management systems helps dental practices stay compliant with legal regulations as well as ensuring the safety of patients.
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