The Chartless Practice
Since I lecture on this extensively, the question of how to approach the development of a chartless practice comes up often. Here's the basic framework that you should follow to achieve this goal:
1. Practice Management Software. It all starts with your PMS program. You need a program that can handle progress notes, charting, insurance, billing, and a myriad of other functions.
2. Image Management Software. Your choices are to use the image module that is offered by the PMS company, or a third-party image program. The image modules from the PMS company will tend to give you tighter integration but at the expense of higher cost and less flexibility to add digital systems from multiple vendors.
3. Operatory Design. You'll need to figure out where to place the computers, the monitors, and the keyboard and mouse, not just for space but also for ergonomic function. Many offices are now installing two monitors per operatory.
4. Computer systems. Most offices will benefit from a true server, and the needs for an operatory computer will definitely be different than a front desk computer.
5. Digital systems. While many dentists often want to focus on the digital systems first, such as sensors and intraoral cameras, the software is the key component here and should be evaluated before choosing the digital systems.
6. Data Protection and Backup. This would include proper backup of the data, redundant hard drives, anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewalls, and implementation of the HIPAA regulations.
The chartless practice is a reality, but to avoid problems, use this as a guide to make sure you have compatible systems that work well together.