Dental EHR: main features, 
integrations & best practices

Dental EHR: main features, integrations & best practices

July 13, 2023

Dental EHR market stats

of dentists used EHR in their practice in 2021

Maryland Healthcare Commission

CAGR of the dental practice management software market from 2021-2027

Global Market Insights

projected dental practice management software market size in 2027

Statista

Main features of dental EHR

There are multiple dentistry-specific EHRs on the market, and practitioners can buy a license for a proprietary system or install an open-source EHR. Regardless of the cost, an effective EDR usually comprises the following features:

Main features of dental EHR
Dental EHRs have the same basic features as a general-use system:
  • Complete medical and dental history
  • Patient profiling
  • Appointment scheduler and reminder
  • Comprehensive dashboards with medical information
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Different levels of distributed access control
  • Data encryption
  • Secure data transfer channels and protocols
  • E-prescriptions
Depending on the practice specifics and size, EDRs may have additional features:
  • Patient portal integration
  • Symptomatic pattern identification
  • Health condition forecasting
  • Department productivity evaluation
  • Task trackers and reminders
  • Voice recognition
  • Chatbots and voice assistants
  • Referrals management
It is crucial for an EDR to have field-specific features:
  • ICD/CPT codes specific to dentistry
  • Periodontal charting
  • Integration with dental imaging systems
  • Integration with dental medical devices
  • Treatment planning
  • Dental billing and insurance
  • Dentistry-specific templates for documenting procedures
  • Implant tracking

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Dental practice EHR integrations

Healthcare organizations are digitizing most clinical operations, not only medical history records. Thus, for dental EHR software to bring the most advantages to a practice, it should streamline as many routine workflows as possible. Organizations can achieve this by flawlessly integrating dentistry-specific systems with other software they use every day.

Streamline admin tasks such as patient check-in while distributing resources more effectively according to the current clinical situation reflected in the EHR by connecting it to dental PMS.

Improve health management for patients with complex health conditions by enabling secure data exchange between dental and general care providers.

Improve patient experiences by enabling them to manage their dental records, schedule appointments, receive reminders, view educational materials, and communicate with dental professionals via connected patient engagement tools.

Revenue cycle management software

Boost revenue by automating billing, insurance claim management, and reimbursement tracking with the help of integrated RCM software.

Laboratory management software

Request and receive accurate lab test results faster via the connection of dental EHR and LIS.

Analyze X-rays, CT scans, and other dental images stored in the EHR to diagnose, predict, treat, and monitor dental conditions more effectively.

Reduce errors in medication management and streamline orders by sending electronic prescriptions directly from EHRs to pharmacy software.

Facilitate virtual dental consultations and remote patient monitoring by giving clinicians access to accurate patient information via the EHR-connected telehealth platform.

On-premises vs cloud dental EHR

Dental care providers adopting EHR choose between two modes of software solution deployment: on-premises or cloud. Each type has its own advantages and limitations, and the choice depends on the particular dental practice’s requirements.

Cloud

On-premise

Set-up

Cloud

On-premise

Doesn’t require profound hardware and infrastructure changes: easier and faster to set up

Takes time and requires hardware, workflows, and infrastructure changes

Cost

Cloud

On-premise

Lower upfront fees but higher lifetime costs

Higher initial payment but lower lifetime costs

Accessibility

Cloud

On-premise

Patient health data is accessible from anywhere via the internet

Patient health data is accessible online and offline from the dental practice’s facilities

Security

Cloud

On-premise

Targeted by cyber attacks more frequently and needs more security measures

Usually more protected from internet cyber attacks but sensitive to internal security threats

Reliability

Cloud

On-premise

Data is backed up on servers outside the facility and protected by vendors

Dental care providers are responsible for backups and data recovery

Customization

Cloud

On-premise

Can be customized quickly but with limited options

Takes longer to customize but can be tuned more accurately to the particular organization’s needs

Tips on choosing and implementing dental EHR software

With so many systems to track dental records, deciding which works best for your practice can be challenging. To sort this out, consider the following:

Successful EHR implementation

Ensure compliance with healthcare regulations

Map out the workflows

Create a comprehensive roadmap

Make improvements after users’ feedback

Train your personnel

Migrate data accurately and securely

Ensure data safety and security

Involve dental specialists

1 The size of your practice

Some solutions with numerous features, robust customer support, many add-on modules, and expensive pricing plans are better suited for large enterprises. Cheaper systems with basic functionality, a simple interface, and requiring less storage space can better fit small and middle-sized dental practices.

2 The required feature set

Some practitioners are happy with out-of-the-box solutions, while others need specialized orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, oral surgery, and prosthodontics modules. If this is your case, think about a custom EHR solution. Discuss the future solution’s compliance with the development team to avoid unpleasant surprises.

3 Hardware, software, and network

Ensure your EHR works on your devices and integrates well with the healthcare IT ecosystem at your organization. Check if your network will be able to support your new solution. Your deployment model of choice might depend on the state of your network, as a cloud-based one requires stellar connectivity.

Dental EHR implementation roadmap

Our experts support dental care professionals throughout all stages of dental EHR adoption, providing consultation, development, tuning, integration, data migration, and post-deployment support services.

1

Preparation

  • Define main EMR/EHR requirements and tech stack
  • Map out crucial workflows and outline main project milestones
  • Work out a data governance strategy to ensure effective and sustainable system adoption

2

Implementation

  • Develop EHR/EMR software or tune the existing system according to your practice’s needs
  • Integrate your other healthcare software
  • Migrate data from one system to another if needed
  • Perform all-round quality assurance and ensure security and meaningful use requirements are met

3

Post-deployment

  • Monitor the system’s performance
  • Resolve any issues that come up
  • Update and upgrade the system if needed
  • Train your personnel

Top dental EHR solutions

Open Dental

Open Dental is the largest open-source practice management solution that includes dental EMR, e-Prescribing (e-Rx), imaging, and financial imaging modules. This software is highly customizable, reasonably low-cost, and has powerful charting, treatment planning, and patient engagement capabilities.

Image title: Open Dental system screenshot
Data source: emrsystems.net — Open Dental Software, 2023

Open Dental system screenshot Data source: emrsystems.net — Open Dental Software, 2023
Features
  • Patient profiling
  • Charting
  • Appointment scheduling and reminders
  • E-prescribing
  • Treatment plan templates
  • Image storage and viewer
Additional modules
  • Patient portal
  • Billing module
  • Integrations with other hospital software
Deployment
  • On-premise
  • Cloud-based
Cost
  • $179/month/location in the US
  • Varies depending on the country
Customer support
  • Via online chat
  • Via phone call
Compatible OS
  • Windows XP
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 10
  • Mac OS
Best suited for
  • Small to large-sized dental practices

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Benefits of EHR in dentistry

Electronic health records software brings very tangible benefits to both clinicians and their patients.

Enhanced coordination with a patient’s medical provider

Every medical specialist should know a patient's full health history (possible allergies, medication adherence, and chronic conditions) to prescribe an optimal treatment course. Therefore, EHR interoperability is crucial in healthcare. A study conducted among medical and dental professionals representing U.S. dental schools and a foreign university hospital showed that 68.5% of providers had at least one case when access to corresponding health information could have improved diagnostic accuracy and treatment.

Scheme title: Medical information that the physician (MD) would want the patient's dentist (DMD) to access versus medical information that the dentist would like to access in an integrated EHR.
Data source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov—Improving Oral–Systemic Healthcare through the Interoperability of Electronic Medical and Dental Records: An Exploratory Study, 29 May 2019.

Overcoming dentistry EHR-related challenges

A dentistry-specific system implementation can go differently than one would hope. Going into this journey without a proper understanding of the process could be challenging for a dental care provider. However, experts recommend a few tricks to ensure successful EHR implementation.

 

Challenge

Solution

Reluctance to change

Challenge

Solution

One of the main reasons the EHR adoption rate in dentistry is low is not enough motivation for personnel to use it. Dentists might not want to change their usual workflows and adapt to new software.

Prepare the ground for change beforehand. First, the leader should state why the change is needed and what the updated workflows will look like. Then, personnel should be able to ask questions and make suggestions regarding future changes, which makes them invested in the process. Dedicated training must clear up any remaining doubts.

High cost

Challenge

Solution

Some dental service providers, especially small or solo practitioners, can’t afford the most popular electronic health records solutions if they require payment upfront.

There are a lot of differently-priced systems, including free software that is monetized by showing ads, open-source solutions, or EHR platforms that charge patients for using the service instead of practitioners.

EHR-associated burnout

Challenge

Solution

Many specialists worry that the EHR system will add to their workload, requiring them to fill out more fields or work overtime.

The EHR system adoption depends on its usability. The system, which fits the dental practice's clinical needs, improves workflows, has a user-friendly interface, and is integrated with other software, will be more likely welcomed.

Become an industry innovator with dental EHR

Dentists and oral surgeons need specialized EHRs to increase revenue, enhance practice efficiency, and better health outcomes. If you want to get ahead of the competitors and provide enhanced services to your patients with the help of a dental EHR, the Itransition team will help you choose the optimal solution that fits your practice or develop a custom one.

Our experienced EHR consultants and developers will ensure its compliance with all regulations, integrate it with the existing systems, migrate the data from your current system, and conduct personnel training for you to get the most benefits out of your software.