Dental Records Scanning: Safeguarding Patient Records

Dentist Examining Patient

In the rapidly evolving world of healthcare, dental records scanning has quickly become a “must have” in the facilitation of high-quality dental care.

Moving your patient charts into an electronic medical records (EMR) system bolsters the integrity of your patient records management system, enhancing both access to vital medical information and the security of your patient records. 

In this guide, we will help you understand the importance of dental records scanning for the future of your practice, as well as provide a few resources you can use to make an informed decision about digitizing your patient’s dental records.

Understanding the Value of Dental Records

Dental records are an essential tool for providing effective patient care. They’re packed with important medical information about a patient’s dental and medical history, the treatments they’ve received, and the outcome of those treatments. 

They also contain PII and PHI, and therefore must be stored securely to protect the confidentiality of your patients personal information and to ensure your practice maintains HIPAA compliance. 

For these reasons, there is a growing demand for dental records scanning services which meet these regulatory requirements, ensuring patient records are protected throughout the scanning process. 

But how can you tell if the scanning provider you choose is qualified to properly handle sensitive records? Read on to learn more about what kind of questions you should be asking when interviewing medical scanning companies. 

The Need for Secure Dental Records Scanning

When it comes to digitizing patient charts, it’s imperative to uphold the principles of confidentiality and privacy above all else. 

For this reason, it is important to hire a fully-vetted scanning provider to complete the conversion process, rather than relying on existing staff to digitize your patient’s records in-house.

Professional medical records scanning companies like SecureScan provide a number of enhanced security features designed to help you protect your practice and your patients.

For example, all employees must receive background checks and drug tests as a condition of employment, and receive regular HIPAA compliance training and audits to ensure records are handled in accordance with HIPAA regulations and best practices. 

All dental records scanning takes place in a keycard secured facility under 24/7 surveillance, ensuring limited access to your records by authorized personnel only. Every interaction with your records is recorded to ensure a secure chain of custody is maintained throughout the scanning process.

We also offer secure data storage and backup solutions, reducing the risk of unauthorized access to patient records and preventing the loss of information caused by natural disasters or equipment failure. 

The Process of Dental Records Scanning

Dental records scanning is a process that converts physical dental records into digital files, making them easier to access, manage, and share. Here’s a general outline of the process:

  1. Preparation: This is the first and crucial step where all paper documents are gathered, organized, and prepped for scanning. This includes removing staples, paperclips, or anything else that could interfere with the scanning process.
  2. Scanning: In this stage, the prepared dental records are fed through a high-speed scanner which converts them into digital images. These scanners can handle various document sizes and types, from standard paper sizes to X-rays and other dental imaging.
  3. Quality Check: After scanning, a quality check is performed to ensure all documents were scanned correctly and all necessary information is visible and clear. Any records that did not scan correctly are re-scanned.
  4. Indexing: The digital images are then indexed, or organized, for easy retrieval. This usually involves assigning certain metadata to each file, such as the patient’s name, date of the records, or type of record (such as X-ray, treatment plan, etc.)
  5. Conversion to Searchable Format: The digital files are then typically converted into a searchable format like a PDF using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. This allows you to search the text within the digital files, further easing the process of finding specific information.
  6. Integration: Once the files are digitized, they are integrated into the dental office’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) or Dental Practice Management Software. This allows the office staff and dentists to access the files quickly when needed.
  7. Secure Storage and Backup: The final step is to securely store the digital files, usually in a cloud-based system or a secured local server. It’s also critical to create backups of the files to prevent any loss of data.

The Impact of Dental Records Scanning on Patient Care

The transition from paper to digital records through dental records scanning has significant implications for patient care. Here’s how it can make a difference:

  1. Ease of Access: Digital records can be accessed instantly and from anywhere, facilitating quick decision-making and efficient care. No more time is wasted searching for physical files.
  2. Improved Collaboration: With digital records, it’s easier for dentists, hygienists, and other healthcare providers to collaborate on a patient’s care. Records can be shared instantly and securely, making it easier to coordinate treatment plans and ensure everyone is on the same page.
  3. Space Saving: Eliminating physical files frees up office space that can be used for patient care or other purposes.
  4. Data Security: Digital records can be encrypted and secured to protect patient information, reducing the risk of data breaches or loss compared to physical files.
  5. Better Tracking of Patient History: Digital systems make it easy to track a patient’s dental history, including treatments, procedures, and progress. This allows for more personalized care and better long-term health management.
  6. Efficiency: Electronic records can streamline administrative tasks like scheduling appointments, sending reminders, billing, and more, allowing staff to focus more on patient care.
  7. Patient Engagement: Many digital systems allow patients to access their own records, book appointments, and communicate with their dentist online. This can improve patient engagement and satisfaction.
  8. Disaster Recovery: In the event of a natural disaster, digital records can be backed up and recovered, while physical files could be lost permanently.

Moving Towards a Digital Future With Dental Records Scanning

Transitioning to a digital system might seem daunting, but the benefits of dental records scanning far outweigh the initial effort. It’s a smart investment for any dental practice that aims to streamline its operations, enhance patient care, and prioritize data security. 

If you’re ready to take the next step in modernizing your patient records system, SecureScan can help. We have over 20 years of medical records scanning experience, providing secure and affordable scanning services to dental practices, hospitals, therapists, and medical practices of all shapes and sizes. Get a free scanning quote or contact us for more information about our services. 

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