Working Through COVID-19: The Need for Touchless Patient Intake

Working Through COVID-19: The Need for Touchless Patient Intake

The coronavirus has been spreading rampantly throughout the United States, forcing government officials to enforce business closures as well as closures of parks, beaches, and other public areas.

Many small businesses face frightening financial hardships as the quarantine extends and progresses – however, essential businesses, such as dental practices, medical practices, and grocery stores, remain open for the public to access. In order to abide by safety guidelines, healthcare providers limit visits to emergencies only and restrict capacity.

Dentistry is one of the industries in healthcare that have been confronted with the issue of being at direct risk to the coronavirus since the practice is dependent on in-person visits. Although dental practices do not face imminent danger as their hospital counter parts do, dental staff and dentists still need to practice social distancing in order to reduce contact.

In particular, dental practices all over the United States and Canada are only seeing emergency patients currently. Because dental practices require face-to-face interaction with their patients, offices are seeking other ways to safely maintain a sterile environment while also processing patient intake.

 

Currently, patient intake requires dental staff to hand patients clipboards, forms, and pens, which pose risks of transferring both airborne and physical contact bacteria. In order to reduce the risk of the coronavirus, completing forms will need to take place away from the office or at least from a distance from dental staff.

The demand for a “touchless” patient intake process grows tremendously as the quarantine extends and the number of COVID-19 cases rises. Dental offices are slowly reopening and increasing the number of patients they will see despite COVID-19 worsening. To combat the pandemic, the demand

Enlive offers Mobile and Web forms for creating a safer yet productive environment for dental practices who need to see emergency patients and want to maintain social distancing.

Enlive’s Mobile and Web forms allow dental practices to:

  • Text and Email forms to individual patients
  • Send reminder emails and texts
  • Set a Due Date for their forms sent.
  • Organize and upload new COVID-19 screening forms while also tracking the forms being sent out.
  • Filter through Completed forms, Incomplete forms, and In Progress forms.
  • Add forms to your website with our Direct Page URL.
  • Build responsive and customizable forms
  • Import patient forms and information back into your practice software

In terms of the practice software we work with, Enlive’s Mobile and Web Forms integrate with Dentrix, Dentrix Enterprise, Eagelsoft, Open Dental, Practice Web, and more.

Not only does Enlive have Mobile and Web forms, we also have paperless solutions for regular, in-office intake procedures. Enlive’s paperless solutions provides the best answer to the pandemic’s effect on healthcare providers.

For more information about our Mobile and Web Forms, give Enlive a call at (800)-942-0375 or visit our website at enlivedental.com.

Laughing Gas: The Funny and the Dark

 

I’m sure laughing gas has made its way into your life one way or another. There’s thousands of funny compilations of dentist patients reacting to laughing gas. The funniest aspect is the mental confusion that these people experience. 

Despite laughing gas being such depicted as such a lighthearted and goofy anesthesia, there exists a darker side of it. Medically, it’s an effective gas that elicits a goofy reaction, but recreationally, it’s lethal. 

 

What is Laughing Gas? 

Nitrous oxide(n2o), also known as Laughing Gas or Hippy Crack, is a local sedation anesthesia that eases anxiety or nervous patients. It’s a colorless and odorless gas that relaxes a patient immediately and is safe when temporarily used in medical procedures like wisdom teeth surgery.

 

The intended effects of laughing gas are: 

  • Reduced anxiety
  • Numbs pain/senses 
  • A strong sense of euphoria 
  • Temporary confusion 

 

How it Works in a Nutshell

Nitrous oxide is mixed with oxygen and administered through a mask where a dentist will ask a patient to inhale it through their nose. Nitrous oxide restricts oxygen circulation in the brain and blood which is the reason why patients feel the lightness and giggles. What it does is traps oxygen in the lungs while it prevents it from reaching the brain and blood. 

Deprivation of oxygen to the brain and blood is what makes nitrous oxide a risky gas to ingest. If a patient gets administered too much, it may cause:

  • Headaches
  • Shivering
  • Excessive Sweating 
  • Nausea/Vomiting 
  • Fatigue

 

In order for a patient to avoid headaches, oxygen must be administered to the patient for 5 minutes after coming off of nitrous oxide. 

 

A Party Favorite 

Party-goers and young adults can get their hands on a dosage of laughing gas easily. In England, laughing gas is sold as a gas propellant to whip cream in catering shops, but it is illegal to sell it recreationally. With that, they can be found at nightclubs, parties, and festivals as well. 

 

The United Kingdom cites an alarming number of laughing-gas related deaths every year, the cause of death usually being asphyxiation (due to not oxygen reaching the brain). Other effects involve hallucination, asphyxiation/breathing problems, and burns. 

The metal canisters that the gas is kept in is -40 C, which can cause frostbite to the lips, nose and throat (along with any of the nearby body parts). To counteract this, the gas is released into a balloon to lower the temperature and reduce the pressure before inhaling. 

The euphoric yet extremely short high people experience is an addictive chase despite the physical reparations. 

 

  • In 2015, nitrous oxide was noted to be the 4th most popular drug for people between the ages of 16 to 24. 
  • 31 people died from nitrous oxide in 2001.
  • From 2010 to 2016, a total of 25 people have passed away due to laughing gas abuse. In 2015, cited deaths related to laughing gas went from 4 to 8 in 2016. 
  • The Crime Survey of England and Wales 2017/2018 recorded that the gas was most prevalent at 2.3% (ages 16 -69) which is roughly 725,000 people.  
  • According to the Australian Trends in Ecstasy and Related Drug Markets 2016 Survey, around one third (36%) of a sample of people who regularly use ecstasy and related drugs reported recent nitrous oxide use in the six months preceding the survey. This is considerably higher than 2015 results (26%). Use was highest in Victoria (62%).10

 

In response to the laughing gas related deaths throughout the decade, the United Kingdom has banned nitrous oxide recreationally, but it hasn’t been effective as they would have hoped it would be. 

 

Long Term Effects

Common long-term impacts of prolonged laughing gas abuse: 

  • Memory loss
  • Vitamin B-12 depletion
  • Numbness to the hands and feet
  • Depression
  • Psychological Dependence
  • Weakened Immune System 
  • Limb spasms 
  • Psychosis 
  • Potential Birth Defects (if ingested during pregnancy) 
  • Incontinence 

 

Mix and Match

Party-goers and festival attendees usually mix drugs with alcohol or with other drugs. In this case, researchers have not found any health related risks in mixing the gas with other drugs or alcohol. But of course, there are physical repercussions. 

Mixing laughing gas with alcohol can cause:

  • Mental confusion
  • Loss of body control
  • Reduced Attention Span/ Concentration
  • Feeling heavy or sluggish

These effects are common with mixing other drugs as well such as marijuana and alcohol. On the other hand, mixing with other drugs like LSD or mushrooms or ketamine can cause an intense disassociation. 

 

Reduce the Risks

Although it would be wiser to avoid laughing gas as a recreational drug, there will be young adults interested in experimenting with it. Here are some ways to reduce the risks associated with nitrous oxide. 

  • Avoid using it alone or in an isolated area 
  • Don’t use plastic bags or anything that will restrict/prevent your breathing
  • Don’t use near anything inflammable (it’s a gas, it will explode into a fire)
  • Mixing it with alcohol and other drugs (it will heavily impair the user more heavily) 
  • Avoid standing or dancing (person may pass out due to lightness caused by gas) 

 

National Children’s Dental Health Month

 

February celebrates National Children’s Dental Health. 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of water fluoridation! 

 

What’s the buzz around fluoride? 

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in bones and teeth – it’s usually found in soil, water, plants and rocks. However, it is also found in low concentration in our chicken, rice and fish! Research supports the statement that fluoride isn’t harmful to ingest in low dosages. However, if an individual does ingest too much of it, they are at risk for dental fluorosis. 

Dental fluorosis is a cosmetic issue that causes streaks, spots or pits to develop on the surfaces of the teeth. It won’t have a negative impact on your child’s dental health, although the streaks and spots are permanent.

Keep in mind that in order for dental fluorosis to develop, an individual has to ingest copious amounts of fluoride. To give an estimate, a child would have to drink a full pitcher of tea made of 100 tea bags daily to be at risk for dental fluorosis – it would really have to be potent for someone to be at risk. Other than that, fluoride is the ultimate cavity fighter and helps rebuild and strengthen tooth enamel. 

National Children’s Dental Health month celebrates one of the most monumental public health achievements in the 20th century. Fluoride has transformed the dental health of both children and adults. However, not every state has fluoride in their water. Despite the naturally-occurring compound being harmless and posing no health threats, it must be decided by each individual city.

Common issues children deal with in terms of dental health are: 

  1. Early Gum Disease
  2. Sensitive Teeth 
  3. Tooth Decay 
  4. Tooth Misalignment 

 

Early Gum Disease

Early Gum disease (also known as Periodontal Disease) is a severe bacterial infection that affects the structures of the teeth and destroys gums. It is usually caused by plaque build up within the gums. The plaque, if not removed, hardens and sticks to the gums like tar – and plaque builds up due to poor dental hygiene.

Factors that contribute to early gum disease:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Food particles stuck in gums (poor oral hygiene) 
  • Mouth breathing
  • Poor diet
  • Smoking and tobacco
  • Diabetes
  • Hormonal changes
  • Prolonged clenching and grinding (bruxism)
  • Medications that cause overgrowth of the gums


Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth are exactly what it sounds like – teeth that feel temporary  discomfort or pain whenever affected.

Common causes of sensitive teeth are: 

  • New teeth
  • Minor teeth damage
  • Cavities 
  • Sinus issues 

 

Care for Sensitive Teeth

Dentists usually recommend using toothpaste made for sensitive teeth or unflavored toothpaste for children. In addition to that, softer toothbrushes are a must. Extra soft bristles are ideal for children since their oral cavities are still developing.

Tooth Decay 

Tooth decay is the breakdown of tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the hard outer surface of the teeth.

Causes of Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is usually caused by the combination of bacteria, food, certain acids, and saliva in the mouth. Specifically, foods high in sugars and carbohydrates increase the risk of tooth decay. The acids from bacteria and foods eventually chip away at tooth enamel if you don’t treat tooth decay or change your diet and oral hygiene.

Preventative Care

A couple of things you can do in order to prevent tooth decay with your child or children:

  1. Consistent oral hygiene with a fluoride toothpaste, brushing the teeth, gums and tongue twice a day.
  2. Ensure that your child has a well-balanced diet, limiting things high in sugar in carbohydrates like cake, cookies, and chips.
  3. Avoid transferring saliva from your mouth to your child’s. For instance, don’t share utensils and don’t clean their pacifier with your saliva.
  4. Schedule routine dental check ups and keep track of your child’s oral health.

Tooth Misalignment

Crooked teeth, or malocclusion of the teeth, just means teeth that aren’t aligned. Misaligned teeth also encompasses overbites, under bites, and any similar structures.

A big reason why some children and adults deal with crooked teeth is because their mouths are simply too small for their teeth so their teeth develop around each other in order to fit within a person’s mouth. Crooked teeth can affect a number of daily habits and cause major discomfort. Activities like chewing/eating, teeth cleaning/oral hygiene, and speaking (affects speed impediments etc.). 

 

The great thing about most of these issues is that there exists preventative care that you can try. With consistent care these issues most likely will improve over time. 

Fluoridation is the key to assisting the public with dental health. Happy National Children’s Dental Health Month! 

Why Dentists Should Go Paperless in 2020

 

It’s 2020 everyone — it’s time to officially ditch slow paper-based systems. There’s many ways to reduce paper waste in your office — recycle, using smaller pieces for memos, getting rid of cover pages for proposals, and whatnot. However, there’s one way that’ll drastically transform your paper use –

Go. Paperless. 

The best way to reduce paper waste is to eliminate it entirely. Investing in paperless software will save you money and time, contribute to environmental sustainability, and strengthen your document security. 

Cost 

Well, there’s not much to say here about it – using document management software  is cost effective – it’s so much cheaper to subscribe to software than to spend thousands of dollars on paper that you’ll end up throwing away. You’re literally throwing away money. 

A Xerox study conveys that the typical office worker uses more than 10,000 sheets of paper per year which is roughly 2 cases of paper per employee. Other studies show that companies incur a $6 handling cost (shipping and distribution) for every dollar spent on printing paper. 

 

Let’s do the math with a company that has 100 employees (Informit) – 

The cost of a case of standard paper is $40/case. 

Knowing what we know, $40/case x 2 cases per employee = $80/per employee annually

$80/employee + $6 handling cost = $480/employee per year. 

$480 x 100 employees = $48,000/year. This is equivalent to an average college graduate’s annual salary

 

Now let’s look at how much it would cost to subscribe to paperless software. 

For instance, Enlive Dental integrates automated patient forms for Open Dental, Eaglesoft and Dentrix for the cost of $199/month. This includes converting forms, a thorough training session on how to use our patient forms, and hands-on assistance from our specialists.

$199/month x 12 months = $2,400/year. 

 

That is a whopping $45,600 difference in cost. This isn’t even including the reduction of labor (filing, printing, scanning) and office space. Servers and computers take up less than 10% of the office while filing cabinets use 50-70% of the office space.

In addition to that, filing cabinets ( a standard, 5 drawer one) costs $1,000 for one unit. With taking up space comes the cost per square foot. 

Using software like Enlive Dental saves you time, money and space. 

 

Environmental Sustainability

It’s not a huge surprise that with paper use comes paper waste.  Here are some facts to consider about paper waste: 

  1. 15 billion trees are sacrificed in order to produce paper.
  2. Approximately, 28% of solid waste landfill is paper.
  3. The average American uses 800 million lbs of paper per year. 

Over the years, eco-dentistry has been on the rise, implementing “green building” practices such as using digital radiology and digital x-rays, reusable supplies like cups, patient bibs, headrest covers; all of which reduce the spread of harmful chemicals like radiation and reduces overall waste. 

Creating digital and environmentally considerate habits upholds sustainable, long-lasting effects for the environment. Obviously, the number one effect is drastically reducing paper waste and deforestation.

Deforestation negatively influences the air quality, which inevitably affects global warming. Less trees means less clean air. When trees and plants photosynthesize, they release energy in the form of sugar and more oxygen is discharged into the air. More oxygen means cleaner and newer air. Think of it as plants and trees “recycling” air.

It’s estimated that an acre of trees can produce oxygen for 8 people and remove 188lbs of carbon dioxide from the air. 

Carbon dioxide is one of the harmful greenhouses that traps heat within the atmosphere. Trees and plants help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide by using it to photosynthesize and develop energy. Without an abundance of trees and plants to help with this imbalance, the temperature of the Earth rises, making for a hotter planet. This is also known as global warmingCarbon dioxide isn’t the only thing that affects global warming – it’s also the lack of shade that the trees and plants provide for the Earth that drives up the temperature of the land.

The adverse effects of paper demand harms the environments indirectly influences the overall planet. By reducing your office’s paper waste, you are largely contributing and impacting to a worldwide matter and making it easier for your office to function. You’re using less and saving more. 

 

Document Security and Accuracy 

The main reason why paper files are so vulnerable is because they’re tangible and easily accessible. In order to file documents, you don’t need to set passwords or security questions. You just put them in a folder and shut a cabinet. Although they may seem secure, it’s just not as secure as storing your sensitive information within a password-protected system. 

Document management and security just means creating policies and having a computer system that secures information well. Integrating a document management system makes it easier to store information, secure it, and access it. 

According to a study conducted by Accusoft, 92% of companies have adopted some kind of document management policy and system. 82% of employees who have a file management solution work 1-5 hours off of their mobile device while 68% of employees who do not have a file management system rely on a shared drive, which limits their accessibility and workflow.

Easy, convenient accessibility doesn’t mean loosely secured. Most, if not all, files or documents require specific login information in order to reach it. It’s not as easy as just reaching into a cabinet and pulling the files out. 

Not to mention, user error is extremely common with files mismanagement. Errors such as illegible writing and missing required information can prevent employees from being efficient at work. If you’re considering investing in software, one of the highlights to note about document software is E-Signatures and form configuration. These two features along can drastically improve user error. 

E-signatures are easy to use, speeds up work pace, improve document accuracy, and saves money while form configuration (or automated forms) allows for employers to customize their documents to their liking.

More than ever, we’re connected intimately to our devices. And if we use them strategically, we’ll get the most out of them. Having this kind of software allows companies to have greater control and visibility of their information. 

The pros for investing in paperless software is always going to outweigh the cons of it. Investing time in educating staff on how to use software is a small sacrifice compared to the environmental harm, security, and cost of buying paper every year. 

 

Ready to go paperless? Let’s get started. Schedule a demo today!

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