The benefits of digitalizing the administration of a dental office
September 28, 2021
Maria Bănțoiu

The World Health Organization defines health as “physical, mental and social, not just the absence of disease or infirmity”. Dental conditions can cause pain, which can lead to changes in diet or expressing, as well as changes in the social life, given by aesthetic dysfunctions. Quality of life is directly influenced by health and, in particular, oral health.

             Various scales have been developed to assess the impact of oral health on quality of life evaluation, developing the concept of "Oral Health Related Quality of Life". This construct assesses the importance of functional factors (ability to eat and talk), psychological (self-esteem, altered emotional status) and social(ability to achieve interpersonal interactions) in the occurrence of physical or social disability. Thus, the notion of health takes on deeper dimensions and no longer refers only to the absence of disease. The oral and general health have common determining and favoring factors: diet, stress, lifestyle, vicious habits. For this reason, oral health cannot be addressed separately from the general one and must be considered as a unitary whole.

             Dentistry is a branch of medicine that has undergone changes in the last few decades, regarding treatment approach. Traditionally, most patients were treated without scheduling and at best, in emergency, requesting medical attention only when it was imminent. The modern approach puts emphasis on prevention, in order to constantly monitor to detect and treat problems at an early stage, with a more favorable long-term prognosis. The health system in Romania is 90% made up of private offices with minimal support from the state. This makes them more likely to adopt changes and modernizations with the evolution of technology. The organization and administration of the office can play an important role in practicing a predominantly preventive dentistry, by monitoring more easily visits and required treatments, having a direct impact on quality of life of the entire population.

             In a predominantly private field, doctors are often also the administrators of the dental office. In addition to the responsibility of the medical act, continuing medical education and the training of the support staff, the non-medical managerial duties can lead to exhaustion. This can directly influence the quality of care provided to patients. This problem can occur when the clinic expands and grows, the workload increases, which can make the staff feel overwhelmed. Thus arises the need for stricter organizing and relieving medical staff of repetitive and monotonous tasks, which can be solved by use of digital technologies.

             Efficiency and flexibility are two necessary features in the ideal management of a dental office, and they are difficult to obtain in the conditions of current practices. Many clinics still do not have the advantages of digitizing services, which has become necessary in adapting to the present requirements.

             By digitalizing the administration of medical/dental offices, the level of patient care will be improved by reducing the filing of necessary papers by hand and thus by increasing the time of the support staff, that can be put in training and actual improvement of patient care. The advantages and benefits of using digital technologies compared to the classical method become visible when the patient's history is needed. The search in the office archive is a difficult process to achieve, and it is not for the most part possible. Having easy access to all the essential files and records makes prevention care much more likely to be endorsed by the general population.

             Digital transformation for the administration of a dental office brings benefits to the oral health system by modernizing the tasks of medical and auxiliary staff, bringing so many advantages in the long run, given the direction of technology growth and its ubiquity in everyone's lives.

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