Hello. We know we are on the end of this bandwagon, but we are working on preparing ourselves to go paperless. We are also looking to get a new server first. We have been told that Practice Works doesn't transition well to a new server, or to paperless. We have been happy with Practice Works for 12 years, and are hoping that this isn't the case for us. Can anyone who has gone through this process please let us know your experiences and any advice you may have to help things go smoothly for us?
Did you scan the chart contents separately or into one PDF file? I'm asking because if we want to go back and look at the visit notes, I'd not want to have to scroll through a long file to do so
We chose to scan our old documents into one PDF. But, we have been using PW Charting for the last 6 years or so and digital imaging since 2005. So our need to access old paper documents is very infrequent.
If someone is just beginning to go "chartless" I would recommend easing into it. Begin scanning all new documents and use a marker in your chart to distinguish scanned from unscanned. This will allow people to get comfortable with the process while retaining the document for reference if needed in case of loss.
I would also just add that PW support helped me to transition to a new server about 6 years ago and everything went extremely well.
Our office has done away with paper charts and I would be happy to answer any questions about the process.
One of my docs would like to know how you scanned in all of the hard copy xrays - Did you use a service? Did you scan them manually? Did you just put them all in storage?
During a recent office visit to a large multi-practice site I asked this question. These practices did not scan in charts. They simply went chartless and referred to the paper charts as needed. The office said it saved them a tremendous amount of time. They also found there were very few instances they needed to reference the paper chart.
Using both is fine, but we decided to enhance of office space in lieu of chart storage. One you develop your system it becomes very simple. When you think about it; you have to handle the document anyway. So whether you choose to scan it or go file it, it's pretty much the same. But now that it's scanned, retrieval is so much quicker and easier.
We ended up scanning and shredding them ourselves for better control of the contents - probably over the course of a year or maybe more. We did look into a scanning and shredding service here in NJ, which I can recommend if someone would prefer to outsource.
We still have all the x-rays in storage however.
I'll Touch on server migration first. PracticeWorks is extremely easy to move over to a new server. The only things that would need to be made sure of first is what version of Windows the server and workstations are running on, and if the hardware meets minimum requirements, which pretty much anything out of the box does as long as you don't have a large number of computers trying to connect to the share at once. you can find our system requirements for the current version of PracticeWorks (v8.1.0) here. We'd want to make sure you're on the proper version of Pervasive for the version of Windows.
Once ready though, all it will take is installing the Pervasive Database software and PracticeWorks on the new server. Then copy over the data folder from your current server, and the PWLF.dat file from inside the pwsvr folder, making sure the pworks folder is shared out and connected to the workstations, and then you should be good to go. If you're having to update PracticeWorks in the process as well, the update can take place on the old server, or the new as copying your current data version into the newer versions installation, then running the installation disk again will trigger it to run the update on the data files.
We'd be happy to assist through this process as well if you'd like.
As far as going paper less, I suppose that depends on how you define being paperless. I know at one point it was mostly just used to mean changing from using paper charts to using thee digital charting module that is built into the software.
Since then it has also grown to include:
eClaims -Electronic claims, using NEA fastattach for claim attachments
eStatements - Electronic statements
eForms -Electronic forms
the ability to email from within Practiceworks (as long as you're using outlook 2010 or older [for now])
The ability to scan and upload documents/files into Practiceworks in their own specialized area
ePosting - Electronic Fund Transfer for insurance payments
ePrescriptions - Electronic prescriptions
eReminders - Allows you to send automatic phone, text, and/or email reminders for patients, this also gives the ability for them to confirm the appt.
Charting mod covers both hard tissue charting, and soft tissue (perio) charting.
You can also and notes to a patient's chart. These can be set to be specific to a tooth or area of the mouth, or just the patient in general.
We also just recently added in the ability to fully use credit card based insurance payments, this can work with or without our ePayment (credit card process), but will work smoother with it.
I'm pretty sure that covers all of it at the moment.
Again, we'd be happy to answer any questions and point you in the right direction with these items as well. Some of it is built in without having to do anything extra besides some learning and basic setup, while others require additional items to be added to your license and may include additional support/service fees.
Feel free to ask me any additional questions on here as well if you'd like.
On the subject of going paperless, we learned that there is a distinction between paperless and chartless although the do overlap. We are looking at this right now and would love to have a cookbook to follow. Alas, there isn't. There's a few webinars but I haven't found them too helpful. The best advice I have received is to make a list of every possible piece of paper that can go into your chart & determine the digital version of that piece of paper. Some are easy to transition; for example, perio chart is in Soft Tissue in Charting and it works great. Not so east for items that require a signature (consents or financial arrangements). Everyone charts differently and documents differently which makes this a challenge...
abledentistry and joedindo,
My recommendation would be reach out to the training department. They help offices transition successfully all the time. Tagging debi.peterson and mbw1228.
I'd like to chime in about our experience in migrating from Version 5 and an old server. I was very nervous about doing it but support assured me that there wouldn't be a problem. I backed up everything, got a new server in place, and took the plunge. It went exceptionally well! Haven't looked back since. I'd strongly recommend it provided you et a decent server...