Most dental practices up to the present use proprietary imaging systems, also known as “closed” systems, which exclusively use dental hardware and software from a single company brand. Proprietary dental systems, although efficient and popular, prohibit dentists from sharing dental information such as general patient information (name, date, address), dental records, and now more commonly, digital impressions.
The Disadvantages of the Proprietary System
At first, this inability to share patient information probably sounds appropriate, considering patient confidentiality. But you’ll probably come across problems when you need a group analysis for a specific patient condition. You don’t have the option to forward a patient’s impression or radiographic images to a professional colleague to get valuable input.
In addition, if a patient relocates or needs to see a specialist, you can’t digitally forward their records unless their new specialist has the same company brand of processing, milling, and internet software as you do. With a proprietary practice, the current dentist is required to find an alternate way to forward information, which usually includes a lot of paperwork and time.
As a result, proprietary systems force you to invest in only specific company brands. If your office accidentally purchases the wrong system, you’ve completely wasted that investment. Each practice is extremely limited to which pieces of equipment it can purchase.
The Advantage of Interoperability Systems
Interoperability systems, or “open” systems, provide the perfect solution, allowing you to easily share digital information among all other open systems. Some additional advantages:
- Patients receive the best available care
- Dental offices purchase only the best, most efficient equipment pieces
- You can collaborate on a patient’s diagnosis
- Patients can have their dental records easily forwarded to a specialist or their new dentist in the event that they change locations
The AHA, American Dental Association, is making strides to ensure all systems are open to digital sharing. Interoperability systems work the best when dental offices purchase only open systems, offering greater collaboration among practices and a wider patient reach. Hopefully we’ll continue to see practices purchase only “open” interoperability systems. The AHA as well as the IHE (Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise) are working together to help dentists like you choose only interoperability systems.
Dental Image Accessories
As always, if you are looking to purchase affordable dental image accessories that accommodate your specific dental imaging system, we are happy to provide you products and services. Feel free to chat online or call to ask for a quote!