“It’s all fun-and-games-until…” That phrase could adequately describe the reasons for making the transition from paper to the cloud.
No doubt, information technology is changing how you manage (and protect) your dental practice data. HIPAA compliance and data security protocols add additional layers to the choices you make.
Why paper-based information systems are being re-considered
Credit the rise of smartphones, personal device technology, e-commerce, and…cloud-computing. These advancements once seemed too distant to grasp the shifts they would make in our personal and business lives.
Now that they’re a commonplace reality, paperless, cloud-based systems are more in vogue.
Even so…some remain hesitant!
Old habits apparently die hard. We've been talking about the paperless office literally for decades, but the average office worker still uses some 10,000 sheets of paper a year. According to The Paperless Project (via Medium), American corporations "spend over $120 billion on printed forms, most of which become outdated within three months."
Paper usage isn’t likely to disappear at the moment. But a substantial reduction in its utilization - including dental practices - is gaining ground.
Most industries (like dentistry) are taking systemic steps to move from paper to digital (cloud-based). And often leading that change is the issue of risk and cost.
”The transition from paper to paperless business processes is not a trivial undertaking. Depending on the complexity and scope of the change, there are business and process planning requirements, software engineering costs and employee change management needs. No technology-driven business change is devoid of some level of risk and cost.”
Transitional considerations are vital in making your decision to make a gradual or all-in switch from paper to cloud.
What the transition from a paper-based system to a cloud-based system looks like
Before we discuss going-paperless, let’s give paper some attention. Face it, there will continue to be a need for paper.
- The government relies on the credibility of paper
- The legal value of signed documentation remains
- The sense of timelessness and ease of access associated with paper
- The preferred feel of paper in your hands
- The cost and distribution value of paper
But the more comfortable you are with technology and innovation the better you’ll be at making the switch.
Here are a few starting points:
Focus on data and document security
Encryption is an essential step in securing your data in the cloud. Evaluate your chosen digital platform based on its encryption and security capabilities.
Keep in mind that your vulnerability for data loss (such as a HIPAA breach) involves the loss or theft of your physical media. Perhaps a thumb drive, hard drive, or an entire work station that stores your desktop practice management software could be compromised.
Cloud solutions, like Denticon, store your data remotely on secure servers (e.g. AT&T and Amazon Web Services). They provide layers of intrusion detection and other state-of-the-art security protocols.
For added security confidence, Denticon also backs up your data on a continual basis. Back-ups provide full redundancy and a disaster recovery plan in the event that one data center fails.
Follow a consistent backup routine
Electronic data and documents are much easier to store than paper. They’re also easy to delete!
To address the consistent question of security - online backups can and should be set within your cloud-based system. Double security measures can also include an external hard drive and other robust digital storage devices.
Back-up protocols like a disaster recovery plan protect your data should you experience a fire or other disaster.
File your data for easy access
Digital data management allows you to index your documents/data so they can be easily and quickly searched. Scanned documents are searchable via OCR (optical character recognition) software.
Flip your system gradually
Going paperless doesn’t mean you won’t touch or store paper. In fact, eliminating all paperwork can be an unrealistic goal - at first.
Ease into the transition so all your team members can get on-board and experience the benefits of the paper to digital migration.
Follow these steps as you pivot your data management.
- 1. Audit your paper footprint. How much are you relying on paper? What is being printed…why…and when?
- 2. Calculate costs and savings potential. Printers, ink, toner, servicing contracts, paper storage, etc. add up. Compare those costs to a comprehensive cloud-based system.
- 3. Move online. Adapt your workflows to easily accessible and remote-capable applications. The more you move to the cloud the less paperwork you’ll juggle (or lose) - while improving overall team efficiency.
- 4. Train. Help your team adapt to a paperless workflow.
- 5. Scan and save. Store paperwork in a digital format (PDF).
- 6. Re-tool your office. Maximize the space once dominated by paper and document storage. Inventory and upgrade your technology. Larger or dual computer monitor set ups can improve team efficiency and productivity.
Savor the benefits of moving your dental practice from a paper-based system to cloud-based solution
Experience less clutter
You won’t miss desktop paperwork or overstuffed file drawers and cabinets. And you will enjoy streamlined efficiency, team productivity, and a neater dental office.
Access patient information easier, faster, and remotely
Digital data is stored, indexed, and accessed much faster than paperwork. And you have fingertip, remote access with many cloud-based dental practice management software systems.
Plus…unlike paper files, you have remote access to your patient data during unforeseen circumstances such as COVID-19 related stay-at-home orders.
Recover your data
Digital information is backed-up, securely, in the cloud for ultimate protection.
Save on costs
Less paper associated expenses increases your financial margins.
Give the environment some “love”
Less paper means less tree loss…and waste.
Communicate and share information in real-time
Digital documents and files can be emailed in seconds. This can speed dental patient referrals, patient communication, and insurance reimbursements.
Planet DDS’s Denticon can vouch that cloud-based Dental Practice Management Software exceeds paper-based systems. It’s been proven in today’s market among solo private practices, private group practices, and top DSOs as a leading paperless dental practice solution.
Contact us for more information about how Denticon can streamline your systems and operational tasks.