Making the transition to electronic dental records (EDR) can be a daunting task for clinics. Implementing such a project can be difficult and frustrating, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. With proper planning and training, practices can avoid setbacks and implement a new EDR successfully.
1. Plan ahead and dedicate adequate resources
An implementation plan should cover all aspects of the process, set realistic time frames for implementation and allow time for users to familiarize themselves with the system. The more planning you do upfront, the less work you will have later on. Many dental practices don’t have an achievable plan in place and realize that they need to rework processes after implementation. This often leads to escalated costs and failure to meet deadlines.
2. Identify employee computer skill levels
Determine every employee’s skill level with computers and any other devices that will be used. You may find that some of them need basic computer training while others may need help with a particular area. It is better to arrange training for them as early as possible. Many service providers offer web seminars and demo sessions of the software to help employees become comfortable with the system. Computer training will help overall readiness when the new EDR goes live.
3. Select one or two tech-savvy project leaders
Depending on the size of your team, select a few employees who can learn the system thoroughly and can help others. They need to be highly computer literate, able to learn new software quickly and should have been with your practice for a year or more. While the vendor provided training is valuable, these â€˜super users’ have more knowledge of your workflows and can readily answer queries from their colleagues.
4. Analyze staff roles and responsibilities
Many practices expect all the employees to learn every new feature of the system. This is neither practical nor necessary. Training should focus on the features or applications that each person requires to accomplish their work on a daily basis. There will be plenty of time to explore other areas once they have become proficient in their own tasks.
5. Listen to feedback
Once the new EDR is implemented, there are bound to be a few snags or issues. Consider having weekly or bi-weekly meetings to go over them with your employees and prioritize solving urgent problems first. Training a secretary to schedule appointments correctly is more important than redesigning a process that takes a few minutes longer in the EDR than on paper.
Dedicated resources, training and planning can help your practice achieve an effective and timely EDR implementation that stays within your budget.