Are you tired of tedious data entry, filing, printing, scanning, and shredding paper documents? While the back of your dental practice may be cutting edge, many front offices look the same way they did decades ago with paper forms, clipboards, and copy machines for insurance cards. As technology continues to advance— computers become faster, cell phones are smaller and thinner than ever, and the Internet can connect anyone around the world online in a matter of moments— your office should as well. That is where paperless forms come into play. YAPI is a true paperless experience that lets your patients sign registration forms, medical histories, consent forms, as well as keep track of changes, check in families, take photos of patients, alert you to missing information, and more. The benefits for your dental practice are endless. Learn how joining the 21st-century when it comes to paperwork can help your practice today.
Reduce Appointment Delays
When patients need to sign 10 to 15 minutes’ worth of forms on their first visit and then sit and wait for your scheduling coordinator to transfer their information into the practice management software manually, it puts everyone behind. Not only the dentists and dental hygienists are waiting to get started, but the other patients are inconvenienced as well once everyone is running late. With YAPI, patients can fill out registration, medical history, and consent forms, as well as upload photos of their insurance cards online, before they show up for their appointment. That means that showing up at 2pm for a 2pm first-time appointment won’t put your practice behind schedule. After all, less of a wait time means happier patients.
Utilize Your Team’s Time More Efficiently
A reduction in appointment delays also means a more efficient practice. In fact, according to Dental Economics, 25% of the administrative time is spent filing and pulling charts. Just think of how productive your team can be with that much extra time. Perhaps, with less time spent on paperwork, they’d finally get to all these things that never seem to get done at the front, like catching up with unpaid claims, collecting outstanding balances, and following up on unscheduled treatment plans.
Lower Your Overhead
Adding up the savings alone is the reason to switch to paperless forms for your dental practice. Think of all the business expenses you will be saving on: from printing paper, clipboards, pens, to expensive printer ink, the costs can really add up. While going paperless does not necessarily mean that you will no longer need to buy pens ever again, but you will see your office supply bill go down considerably. The long-term savings on office supplies and the saved time that would be best spent doing other tasks are well worth the initial investment of buying an iPad and training the team.
Without a doubt, switching to paperless forms will make a positive environmental impact. After all, 20% of total paper usage in the United States comes from copy paper. Not to mention that one million ink cartridges are thrown away every day. Switching to a paperless office is a surefire way to make sure you and your dental practice are doing your part to help the environment.
An added bonus of this is the fact that it will also help your image as a company. A Nielsen study in 2015 concluded that 72% of millennials are willing to pay more for a product if it helps the environment. With millennials spending roughly $600 billion a year, you won’t want to miss out on capturing the next generation of patients.
You wouldn’t bat an eye to make an investment to bring your patients the best dental technology, so why wouldn’t you want to transform their experience in your reception room as well? Of course, you would!
Patients want their dentists to be up to date with technology. Their perception of the care is often influenced by the environment and the level of technology present, both at the front office and chairside. This is especially true of the millennials, who have grown up in an online world and expect the same convenient digital experience at their dental office that they have in other aspects of their lives. Allowing patients of all ages to complete electronic forms either online from home or anyone on a mobile device or handing them an iPad in the office will help align patient perception of the practice with the quality of the care that the practice provides.
What About Older Patients?
On the other side of the generational coin, one of the largest worries holding many offices back to switching over to all paperless forms is that seniors will not be able to properly utilize the technology. However, keep in mind that many Baby Boomers are the ones that are seniors these days, and Baby Boomers like to use technology. For example, in 2017, over 67% of seniors reported being online regularly; so the idea that seniors would not like to switch over may be more of a misconception than an actual truth. If someone really doesn’t know how to use an iPad to check in or a computer to fill out the forms online beforehand, have a designated office person take that individual into a conference room or treatment room to assist in filling out the paperwork on the tablet, and there you go, problem solved.
Paperless records are also inherently safer than paper records. With proper electronic backups at an off-site location or in the cloud, if God-forbid, a fire or flood were to occur and your office were to be affected, all of the files could still be retrievable. A recent study concluded that 70% of businesses would fail in a three week time period if something happened to paper records.
Additionally, paperless records mean that they are less likely to be misplaced and fewer people have to handle or view said records, reducing human errors and the risk of mishandling protected health information.
It is the 21st century after all: the future is in technology, and your dental practice should be too. If you are ready to wean yourself from paper, try YAPI today and you will be amazed at all of the benefits your business will receive!
Dr. Gina Dorfman completed her dental training at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry in 2000 and shortly after she started her own practice near Los Angeles. Her passion for creating systems and leveraging technology to streamline practice operations is what eventually led her to co-found YAPI. Today, among practicing dentistry, she is a published author, a motivational speaker, and a frequent contributor to the many articles found on our blog!