Electronic health records (EHR) offer a myriad of potential benefits by sharing patient’s clinical information. Dentistry will need to move to a diagnostic centered care model to be interoperable with the rest of healthcare. Coding is at the forefront of this process. Clinical professionals can no longer be hands-off with coding concerns.
Diagnostic coding must have a purpose that is more than to make an electronic system function. If there is diagnosis data, it would be possible to better evaluate treatment efficacy as well as enhance communication with patients and other clinicians which are goals of EHR. Health care is only mid-way in the transition to EHR. As with any journey, the turns and exertions of travel can seem confusing.
In the very near future which dental diagnostic set will be used for HER will be decided. Dental professionals, even paperless practices, are not ready for this electronic cross-discipline and inter-professional collaboration without diagnosis coding. Clinicians are an integral part of the coding team. A progressive practice will quickly see the value as-if and routinely start recording a diagnosis now.