EDRs: It’s Past Time for Dentists to Get with the Program


When compared to physicians, dentists lag behind in the adoption of electronic records. As of 2022, 89.9% of office-based physicians in the United States use Electronic Health Records (EHRs), whereas only 50% of office-based dentists use Electronic Dental Records (EDRs).

Dentists have cited several reasons for this slow pace toward digital efficiency—the cost of implementation, lack of interoperability, lack of financial incentives (many dental practices do not qualify for federal programs), and lack of IT knowledge.

In this article, we will look at how you, as a Value-Added Reseller, can help dental practices become more efficient, save time and money, and demonstrate to your dental clients all the benefits of EDR adoption and implementation, along with Nuance® Dragon® Medical One for Dentists and Philips SpeechLive speech-to-text capabilities.

Philips SpeechLive

Do EDRs and EHRs Differ?

EDRs and EHRs are basically the same thing but for different specialties of medical branches. The former applies to dentists and the latter to physicians. Both collect information from the patient, contain images, utilize calculative tools, and allow quick access to the patient’s history and progress notes—among dozens more uses.

Both also suffer from the same malaise, mainly because there is limited interoperability. The United States does not have a national registry for medical (and dental) records. A dentist, for example, must rely on the medical history the patient provides and, if needed, make a formal request of the patient’s attending physician to obtain an electronic copy of that record.

Philips SpeechLive

However, this point speaks to one of the biggest advantages medical and dental practices have in electronic records: Portability. Records can be shared digitally (quite easily too).

For far too long there has been a divide between the medical and dental fields, and the potential data exchange between them can bridge this gap. After all, dental problems can lead to physical problems, so it is in the best interest of both parties to collaborate on their patients’ physical and oral health.

Why Has There Been Such a Slow Adoption of EDRs in the Dental Industry?

One of the biggest complaints the dental field has offered as to why there’s a dearth of dental practitioners who have adopted EDRs is the lack of incentive programs. There are federal programs available (mainly based on the number of Medicare patients they see), but for dentists, it is tough to qualify. The initial investment can run upwards of $100,000, so without federal grants, many dentists—especially solo and small practices—cannot afford to adopt electronic records.

Additionally, many dentists have cited both not having their own IT department nor possessing the technical knowledge and training to maintain such a patient data system.

Another usage of the EDR that is common among practices is using the digital record solely for administrative purposes, not for clinical use. There are dentists who do not participate in digital records and there are 3 main reasons:

  • They do not want to go through the expense.
  • They do not understand the concept.
  • They fail to see the big picture.

When you add the time and cost savings, and advantages of electronic dental records, Dragon Medical One for dentists and Philips SpeechLive pay for themselves 10 times over. As a Value-Added Reseller, you can give them the needed information, discuss their challenges and help them understand the advantages.

Top 10 Benefits of Adopting EDRs:

  1. E-prescribing – It’s faster, more efficient, and decreases the chances of misinterpretation.
  2. Improved interprofessional collaboration with medical providers by sharing patient information.
  3. Research data – EDRs can collect research data that can help eliminate logistical problems (usually associated with paper records). The data can also be used by the EDR manufacturer to improve the product and weed out the kinks.
  4. Improved staff workflow – EDRs perform practice management tasks, reduce the need to use paper and toner (which helps reduce costs), and there is no need for storing documentation (offering dental offices the potential of gaining space where the charts once were housed).
  5. Freedom of mobility and access – Thanks to our cloud-based solutions, EDRs can be accessed anywhere from virtually any device at any time.
  6. Reduced insurance premiums – Many malpractice insurance companies are offering reduced premiums for dental practices that utilize EDRs.
  7. Improved patient billing – Coding errors decrease, and the speed of reimbursement turnaround time increases.
  8. Increased accuracy – EDRs standardize the dental record, minimize the chances of misreading handwriting, and eliminate inconsistencies in documentation.
  9. Increased patient safety – EDRs improve the quality of documentation, have built-in protocols geared toward patient safety, give the dental practitioner instant access to information that could be pivotal in the treatment, track progress (or lack thereof), and offer access to the patient’s entire medical history.
  10. Improved quality of service – With EDRs, the staff can check insurance eligibility, receive medical information, and current medications, and check the patients in…all before they even arrive at the practice, which will cut down on wait time. EDRs can facilitate post-visit tasks, such as prescriptions, appointment reminders, referrals, and more.

Philips and Nuance: A Dentist’s New Best Friends

Most likely you never get tired of saying, “Why type when you can speak?” If so, you can tell your dental client they can generate notes in the EDR, draft and send emails, dictate referral letters and so much more… all by using the power of their voice.

You can further promote how our products include a detailed dental vocabulary. If by any remote chance, they use a term not familiar to the program, the dental practitioner can add it to the vocabulary for future use. They can teach the platform new words. They can automate shortcuts with their most used sentences and diagnoses, or whatever they use so much that there’s no need to repeat themselves over and over.

Philips SpeechLive Philips SpeechLive

SpeechLive is a Great Option!

SpeechLive is not only less expensive and easy to implement, but it also offers amazing results for dental practitioners as they can use it in the office, at home, and on the go. It is browser-based for Apple or Mac computers, Android and iOS, PCs, tablets, etc. It can also be paired with the Philips SpeechMike and the PocketMemo Voice Recorder . Plus, it works perfectly regardless of the size of the practice.

Best of all, your clients will enjoy that it is ready to use immediately after purchase… no messy installations, no setup delays, and no complex IT requirements.

If you have any questions, please, click here to get in touch with a member of our team.