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
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:
Core EHR features
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
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.
Doesn’t require profound hardware and infrastructure changes: easier and faster to set up
Takes time and requires hardware, workflows, and infrastructure changes
Lower upfront fees but higher lifetime costs
Higher initial payment but lower lifetime costs
Patient health data is accessible from anywhere via the internet
Patient health data is accessible online and offline from the dental practice’s facilities
Targeted by cyber attacks more frequently and needs more security measures
Usually more protected from internet cyber attacks but sensitive to internal security threats
Data is backed up on servers outside the facility and protected by vendors
Dental care providers are responsible for backups and data recovery
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
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.
Top dental EHR solutions
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
- Patient profiling
- Appointment scheduling and reminders
- Treatment plan templates
- Image storage and viewer
- Patient portal
- Billing module
- Integrations with other hospital software
- $179/month/location in the US
- Varies depending on the country
- Via online chat
- Via phone call
- Windows XP
- Windows 8
- Windows 10
- Mac OS
Best suited for
- Small to large-sized dental practices
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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.
Reluctance to change
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.
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.
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.
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