Found a great article written by Dr. Larry Emmott, an authority on dental technology, is a speaker, writer and consultant.
To find out about his high-tech training programs, Technology Guides and other services, visit drlarryemmott.com.
This article outlines some of the costs associated with the practitioners time, not including the cost of the staff time (filing, calling, faxing, etc) and cost of paper, ink, stamps, gas.
Paper’s Hidden Costs : Why electronic referrals are so important
Dentists and physicians often take the attitude that paper charts and paper communications (like lab and referral slips) work fine and they don’t cost anything. (True cost of paper triplicate forms and faxes) However the fact is that these systems are not all that great and the actual costs can be significant. But we often don’t see it because it is hidden in the process of doing business.
A typical practitioner will spend five and a half months filling out lab slips during his or her career. That is more than five months of your professional career doing the same tedious task over and over. If you consider your professional time the monetary cost of filling out lab slips is an astonishing $264,000.
The total reality is even worse; these numbers are just for lab slips. What about other professional communications? That is referrals to specialists and others; the numbers could double.
Not only is the typical dentist/doctor spending way too much time and money on this paperwork but they are usually doing it poorly. Most lab prescriptions and referrals are scribbled notes with minimal communication.
Digital Records are Key: Physician referral
Online digital lab slips and digital referrals will reduce the time and expense of filling out the forms and it will provide higher quality communications. However, all of this is possible only if the dentist is collecting digital data to begin with.
If for example the health it history or the perio probings are not created and stored in a digital format as part of an electronic record but must be copied, input or scanned before they can be uploaded then there is no savings in time and money.
Common concerns regarding online digital communications are privacy and security. Just as you have an obligation as a dentist to refer you have a professional as well as a legal and ethical duty to protect patient information.
Using an interactive Web site with a secure logon is one of the most secure means of electronic communications. It is much more private and secure than simply sending the information in an e-mail. After all, if banks and brokerages can safely use similar Web systems for sensitive financial information we can use them for protected medical information.
Hand scribbled referrals and lab slips were OK in the past. However, the future is digital. The future is coming and it will be Amazing!
Articles you may find interesting:
Learn more about the cost of paper referral forms and your staff’s time
Leave us a comment:
How would you change the referral system to make it easier and less stressful to do business?