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Economic outcomes of a dental electronic patient record.

J Dent Educ; 72(10): 1189-200, 2008 Oct.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-18923100
The implementation of an electronic patient record (EPR) in many sectors of health care has been suggested to have positive relationships with both quality of care and improved pedagogy, although evaluation of actual results has been somewhat disillusioning. Evidence-based dentistry clearly suggests the need for tools and systems to improve care, and an EPR is a critical tool that has been widely proposed in recent years. In dental schools, EPR systems are increasingly being adopted, despite obstacles such as high costs, time constraints necessary for process workflow change, and overall project complexity. The increasing movement towards cost-effectiveness analyses in health and medicine suggests that the EPR should generally cover expenses, or produce total benefits greater than its combined costs, to ensure that resources are being utilized efficiently. To test the underlying economics of an EPR, we utilized a pre-post research design with a probability-based economic simulation model to analyze changes in performance and costs in one dental school. Our findings suggest that the economics are positive, but only when student fees are treated as an incremental revenue source. In addition, other performance indicators appeared to have significant changes, although most were not comprehensively measured pre-implementation, making it difficult to truly understand the performance differential-such pre-measurement of expected benefits is a key lesson learned. This article also provides recommendations for dental clinics and universities that are about to embark on this endeavor.