By Dr. Greg Grillo
Change is hard. Whether we’re moving to a new community or introducing new systems into our office, familiarity keeps us in our comfort zone. But in today’s fast-paced world, ingrained business modes can be costly. In dentistry, we enjoy innovative technologies like CBCT imaging and CAD-CAM prosthetics. But many offices still use clipboards, pens, paper charts, and ink cartridges alongside an electronic clinical record that keeps us in a hybridized time warp.
Consumers continue to drive expectations, and they’re looking at us wondering if we’re planning to catch up. They schedule trips and service calls online, but they have to call us and sit on hold to make an appointment. They fill out mortgage applications on their phones, but we hand them a clipboard and health history intake forms in our waiting room. They pay their electric bill at midnight with a click, but they get paper statements and have to lick a stamp to pay us.
If none of these scenarios sound like your office, you’re amongst the most innovative practices in the country. But if you’re currently bridging between digital and paper, welcome to the majority. I’m still making the full transition in my practice, and habits die slow. But you and I are costing ourselves real money. Worse, we’re confusing our patients.
What Is A Modern Dental Office?
We offer exceptional dentistry with exquisite margins and bond strengths that would impress G.V. Black. Patients notice our clean décor, flat screen monitors, and digital x-rays. But when we do anything with paper, they may wonder why.
A modern dental office reflects our brand and should incorporate every touchpoint in the patient’s experience. When we present an integrated model that reduces paper to the absolute minimum, patients notice that, too. Millennials comprise the biggest generation, and 73% of them report they’ll pay more for services if they’re environmentally-friendly.
Consider these three stepping stones to move your practice further away from paper and closer to alignment with today’s patients.
1. Decide To Do It
In physics, inertia keeps an object from moving forward until enough force establishes momentum in a specific direction. The same condition happens in our practices. And sometimes the place we’re resting isn’t bad, but we can do better. As more aspects of life move onto the cloud, staying stuck in a sea of paper forms doesn’t serve us, our patients, or our environment. Make paperless a clear part of a strategic plan throughout the rest of 2021.
2. Map It Out
Full-blown change can drive a team crazy, but incremental steps create a manageable path towards any goal. If you don’t have a centralized dashboard to plug pieces into, start there. Your team can begin with a simple tool like Legwork Reminders . Stick with text, email, and voice reminders or selectively add outbound paper components, such as auto-generated postcards.
3. Choose Proven Resources
There’s no shortage of vendors that offer paperless forms and digital tools that perform every function in a practice. But if they don’t work together, frustration can shortchange the process. If you choose a platform like the Legwork Marketing Dashboard , your team has an all-in-one growth platform that eliminates paper while syncing with your Practice Management Software.
Use Dental Electronic Forms For Convenience, Service, And Efficiency
Many practices use electronic reminders and email communications, but they struggle to replace dental forms that complement the electronic clinical record. If you’ve established a foundation with a defined plan and proven resources, you’ll find further progress easier than it sounds. Dental electronic forms may look different in your practice than mine, but the same tool can serve both of us.
Legwork Paperless is the first completely customizable, drag-and-drop form builder available in healthcare software. Paperless form software simplifies the day-to-day operations for practices. It makes life easier for new patients by giving them the ability to complete forms with medical history via a website or email in advance. Your office staff gets the information they need, and your patients have one less thing to worry about on their first visit when coming in for dental care. Save time and reduce waste while making patient check-in at your front desk a breeze!
A Dental Paperless Solution Is Closer Than You Think
The daunting task of “going paperless” doesn’t need to keep anyone up at night. And if you have a favorite consent form that you can’t live without, just build it your way as an online form. Once you’ve used the drag-and-drop form builder to create customized designs, patients can fill them out and sign at home or on a mobile device in the office. The forms smoothly integrate into your PMS software for storage and retrieval with the patient data. Secure and 100% HIPAA compliant, all the bases are covered with a dental paperless solution that looks like it was programmed just for our offices.
Feel free to go beyond the basics, add pre-appointment comfort surveys, or send follow-up questionnaires after visits to gather feedback. If you need it, you’ll have the data entry at your fingertips without printing a single piece of paper.
Enjoy Endless Benefits, And Save A Tree
Paperless solutions deliver a string of benefits for dental practices that most of us don’t consider. The average admin employee makes 61 trips weekly to the copier, fax machine, or printer. Worse, they lose four weeks of productivity annually looking for misfiled or lost paper documents.
And what happens if your office has a fire and loses vital on-site records? With proper cloud storage and secure backup protocols, digital capability keeps essential documents in a safe place. Did you know that an ounce of printer ink is more expensive than the same amount of Chanel No. 5? Worse, the healthcare industry handles twice as much paper as other industries, and that’s not doing the environment any favors.
Wondering where to get started in becoming paperless? Check out our free eBook, 5 Types of Digital Forms Every Practice Should Have .