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Pros and Cons of Using Charting Templates

by Duane Tinker, Dental Compliance Specialists

Every day, more dentists make the inevitable transition to electronic dental records (EDR) and use of charting templates. There are some definite pros and cons to using charting templates. Let’s take a quick look at each:

Pros
• Help you quickly document a ton of pertinent negative findings and other information (i.e. documentation of medical necessity) that is reported for most patients
• Provide for uniform formatting, minimized spelling/ grammatical errors
• Makes charting so simple your assistants can do much of it
• Is easier to read than your handwriting
• Provides for timely documentation

Cons
• They need to be modified from patient to patient to account for what actually happened – people forget to make needed changes
• Because they look ‘canned’ they often lack the feeling of authenticity and believability
• It is easy to cut and paste the wrong information into the wrong patient record
• Most EDR’s include templates. However, those templates are almost always (grossly) inadequate. They are a framework for you to add to and should never be used ‘as-is’.

The Pros speak for themselves. Let’s discuss how to minimize errors related to...

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