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What do Dentists Ultimately Want from their EHRs?

Practicing medicine has never been as complicated as it is in the modern age. From financial pressure and regulatory oversight to the ever increasing piles of administrative tasks, providers waste a lot of their time in actions that have nothing to do with providing health care. The entire country is in the process of shifting to EHRs as a means of alleviating some of the burden on overworked medical professionals.


The question facing the healthcare system now: have EHRs helped reduce the burden on doctors? Unfortunately the answers are a mixed bag. While the majority of providers attest to the usefulness of digital health record systems, an equal number have struggled with many problems and issues before becoming comfortable with EHRs. Some providers have already switched between two or three vendors in a bid to find one product that will serve all their needs while others have given up on the process altogether.


As the EHR market matures, it is time for all the stakeholders – be it providers, software developers, federal agencies or hospitals – to reflect on the ultimate goal. While it is clear that EHRs are still evolving and have not yet reached their full potential, maybe we should consider what exactly we want from EHR systems. At present, most EHRs generally function as a replacement for the paper records (with a few exceptions).


Though developers are trying their best to comply with meaningful use requirements, EHRs are not yet at the stage where they are actively helping providers practice medicine. Of course many products are capable of displaying alerts, slicing and dicing patient data to reveal trends and other such capabilities mandated by CMS but when you compare EHRs to smart phones, the shortcomings become obvious.


Today’s EHRs do not have any natural language processing capabilities nor can they respond to user queries through voice that most consumer smartphone apps on the market can do already. If EHR software development had followed the same pace as consumer technologies, we would have access to beautifully designed software that can automatically perform most of the administrative tasks that providers are unfairly burdened with. In short, the EHR – or whatever it will be called – should be taking care of the administrative/business aspects of medicine so that providers can concentrate on interacting with and healing patients.


Dovetail dental software is a cloud hosted software product that is focused on getting the job done and out of the way so that you can concentrate on your number one priority: your patients.