Dental technology blog

Friday, 21 September 2012 15:35

Connected Dentistry Featured

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I’ve been thinking a lot about a concept I am calling “Connected Dentistry”.  It embraces the idea of using the Internet and computer technology to connect a dental practice with the other stakeholders involved in a patient’s care.  This thinking has been spurred by the industry’s move to coordinated care through CCO’s (Coordinated Care Organizations). 

In Oregon, dentistry will need to be participating in CCO’s for Medicaid patients by 2014.  Commercial coverage will not be far behind.

Connecting the dental practice to various other stakeholders must observe at least a couple of key rules.  
    1.The connections must be secure – observing all of the HIPAA and PCI regulations and perhaps other regulating bodies depending on the data.

    2.The connections must use recognized standards so disparate systems can understand what each other are saying.

The first question you may ask is, connected to whom?  May I offer this list?
    • Other oral health providers in your referral network
    • Patients
    • Payers
    • The patient’s other healthcare providers
    • The central pharmacy hub
    • Financial institutions

Others may need to be included, but this is certainly a good starting point. 

Since I have some responsibility for the technology direction of the company I work for, I have to measure these thoughts against where we are and where we intend to go.  So, where are we doing well?

Payers – we support electronic transactions with many of the key payers of our clients.  There is room for improvement and we have plans to do so.  

Pharmacy Hub – Our latest release includes electronic prescribing which establishes this connection.  

Financial Institutions – With the addition of integrated credit card handling, we are doing well here.  

We have plans for the following connections, but need to make them a reality.  
Dental Referral network
A patient portal
Other healthcare providers

Overall, a right click that is under construction.

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