Referrals, Collaboration and Your Bottom Line

I recently spoke to a dentist friend of mine about electronic dental records (EDRs). I was trying to come up with some benefits of this emerging technology for both the dentist and hygienist. So, I thought the best way to approach this would be to explain the types of features and benefits of electronic health records (EHRs) that I had seen help medical practices over the last few years. Hopefully, some of these would strike a chord and relate to some of the issues and inefficiencies he had experienced first hand in his dental practice.

I reviewed a number of currently standard features in medical EHRs, such as electronic prescribing, protocols, treatment plans, evidence-based decision support, etc. but his eyes really lit up when I got to the area of how EHRs have supported referral networks. I explained that at the touch of a button while with the patient in the exam room, the provider could choose the specialist that needed to be seen, and send the referral along with the pertinent records for that referral.

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