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How are Electronic Health Records entering the Dental Industry?

Electronic Health Records in the Dental Industry

What are EHRs?


An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a digital patient’s health information record. A patient’s EHR includes all the information recorded in a paper chart, which contains medical history, diagnoses, medication, immunization, treatment progress, allergies, lab data and reports. It also has other associated information, like insurance information. With the development of technology and the affordability of hardware on PC in 1992, EHR was introduced in academic medical facilities and gradually developed in clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes.


EHR has proven to be an efficient method of digitizing patient medical files. Its sharing functionality makes coordinating patient care more efficient for clinicians, medical professionals, and organizations. 


What About The Paper Health Record?


EHR is less time-consuming and saves space compared to the traditional paper health record, which uses physical supplies, such as pens, files, folders and storage locations to keep information secure. This outdated method is also not standardized, especially when clinicians have to read through previous medical history to make further diagnoses given that every physician has a unique way of recording data. Another challenge for practitioners has been the means to retrieve a patient’s record from other organizations. Traditional medical records can also contribute to reducing productivity, given that this process involves several health departments to acquire or fill documentation. In other words, these human resources could be dedicated to patient care, instead of administrative tasks associated with manual, paper health records.


EHRs in the Dental Industry


The Electronic Dental Record (EDR) is the form of EHR that we find in the dental industry. Oral health issues are one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in North America; it’s important for a patient’s information to be well documented so that sending information between practitioners is streamlined and easy. Dental electronic record providers have lagged when compared to other healthcare fields and providers. In addition to the separation of dental and medical fields in public policy, dentists have various requirements for recordkeeping and workflow preferences. This creates a demand for processes such as data records integration with technology. Dentists progressively seek the diversity and productivity of EDRs to improve dental practice efficiency.


The Benefits of the EDRs system

In this age of technology, EDRs have become a necessity within the dental industry. EDRs provide access to patient data, rendering this information available to providers which assists in streamlining decision-making. In other words, it provides a promising tool to successfully operate a business.



  • Big Data Management

Health data management is a vital part of EDRs. With organized data, providers can increase the accuracy and quality management of patient data. Without a standardized solution to pull patients’ charts efficiently, manually shuffling through an abundance of patients’ data files is cumbersome. Unlike paper health records, EDR software can securely reserve data within cloud space for an indefinite time, with the ability to undoubtedly archive files over decades in their original digital form.



  • Accessibility

Additionally, EDR software offers various searching capabilities that help users to track down necessary files within seconds in contrast to paper records. The patient portal in most EDR software also grants patients the ability to view their medical records and history whenever they want. 



  • Reduce Human Errors and Efficient Work

By using EDR software, medical and office staff can productively locate specific files and hands-off manual and repetitive activities. The standardization that comes through EDR also minimizes several problems that result from poor handwriting or inconsistencies and nonconformity in the documentation. Rather than spending time on paperwork, EDR significantly enhances the time that physicians interact with patients while providing collaborative and coordinated patient care.



  • Financial Implementation

The cost of adopting EDR can vary from free to over $100K depending on the system and complexity you are choosing, plus there will often be monthly subscription fees for a cloud-based EDR. Still, it reduces the costs otherwise associated with physical storage, or with the labour demanded for charts retrieving and the time to integrate billings. The Canadian and provincial governments provide several incentive programs to help in the development of technology in healthcare and ultimately, there will be a feasible cost-benefit within the business.


How does it improve Patient Care and Practitioner Interaction?


With the progress of technology, EDR is gradually becoming a mainstay in the dental industry. EDR provides an efficient method for dental professionals to manage their patients more straightforwardly. Without decoding diverse handwriting records, EDR makes every piece of information standardized and easier to access for different organizations. This system further improves the communication between primary care physicians and specialists, this coordinated care helps them to get to know patients more in-depth, which enhances patient outcomes and satisfaction. The reason is that it involves backend technical integration, which enables the information to be retrieved at the right time and with consolidated details appearing on the user’s surface. It also associates with frontend integration that user-friendly presents any prescription or treatment plan in a structured form.



Written by: Jiajing Hao




Ahmadi, M. & Aslani, Nasim. “Capabilities and advantages of cloud computing in the implementation of electronic health record.” Acta Informatica Medica 26.1 (2018): 24.



El-Kareh, R., Gandhi, T., Poon, E., Newmark, L., Ungar, J., Lipsitz, S., and Sequist, T., Trends in primary care clinician perceptions of a new electronic health record. J. Gen. Intern. Med. 24:464–468, 2009.



Evans, R S. “Electronic Health Records: Then, Now, and in the Future.” Yearbook of medical informatics vol. Suppl 1,Suppl 1 S48-61. 20 May. 2016, doi:10.15265/IYS-2016-s006



Polner, M. & Main, K. “What Is an Ehr? Everything You Need to Know.” Edited by Rob Watts, Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 29 Aug. 2022, www.forbes.com/advisor/business/software/electronic-health-record-ehr/. 



Wani, D. & Malhotra, M. “Does the meaningful use of electronic health records improve patient outcomes?.” Journal of Operations Management 60 (2018): 1-18.


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