best practices for digital forms - DentalForms

Baked-In Best Practices For Patient Records

In today’s fast-paced world of dentistry, there’s no time for trial and error. That’s exactly why best practices—evidence-based, industry-specific methods that are proven to give superior results—were created. These guidelines define a standard quality of care that goes beyond the minimum required by law.

However, without consistent application, even the best of practices are no more than good intentions.

Best Practices for Patient Records

When it comes to something as important as dental records, following established best practice guidelines is vital. The ADA’s Council on Dental Practice and Division of Legal Affairs published a detailed resource outlining the ins and outs of dental records. As an example, here’s how the ADA recommends handling patients’ health history forms:

“Once a patient has completed the questionnaire/health history, it is recommended that the patient’s health information be reviewed carefully. The dentist should review and discuss the form with the patient, then sign or initial the form once this review is completed. Interviewing the patient is an important part of the medical history taking process and space should be provided on the medical history form for recording findings gathered during the interview.”¹

In short, it’s the treatment provider’s responsibility to (1) discuss the important points of a patient’s medical history with them at the start of the appointment, and (2) sign off on the health history form after reviewing it.

In the bustle of a busy day, it can be all too easy to miss a signature or skip over pertinent information on your intake forms. That’s why DentalForms uses baked-in best practices— two features that make compliance with these guidelines nearly effortless.

Feature 1: High Value Answers

When creating a digital form with DentalForms you have the chance to label specific answers as “high value.” If a patient gives one of these answers on their health history, the information appears in a special section at the top of the form.

A High Value Answer can be anything your practice deems important to patient care. Relevant pre-existing conditions, recent procedures, and medication allergies are a few examples.

Imagine that your patient checks yes to having undergone a recent procedure on their health history. If you’ve flagged this answer as high value, it will appear in its normal spot on the list as well as at the very top of the form, making it nearly impossible to miss. This provides a cue for the treatment provider to ask the patient about the procedure while reviewing their health history, providing risk reduction for both your patient and your practice.

Feature 2: Provider Review

After you review a patient’s health history with them, it can be easy to set the form aside to sign later. Unfortunately, this means that important signatures might still be missing when the chart is completed and filed away.

That’s why DentalForms included the Provider Review feature. Our digital check-in forms require an entry in the ‘provider signature’ field and prompt the reviewer to sign before saving. Without a signature, you’ll be unable to close out of the form and generate a completed patient chart.

Without consistency, even the best of practices are just good intentions. The High Value Answers and Provider Review features can help you stay consistent, reduce risk, and provide excellent patient care.

Does your digital forms solution come with baked-in best practices? Click here to learn more about how DentalForms sets your team up to win with systems that ensure best practices.