Dental Care vs. Medical Care

Hi Jay,

I am wondering why there is (to my untrained eyes) a huge disparity between hospital/doctor’s office type medical care and dental care, in terms of insurance, billing, and office technology.

My dental office is extremely high tech, appointments are always on time, and every single dentist, hygenist, and receptionist seems to wield computer technology expertly.

All of my records are digitized. Once I needed to see a different dentist at a different clinic and my records and complete history (procedures, drugs, xrays) were transfered electronically as soon as the appointment was scheduled.

While my teeth are being cleaned, the hygenist scrapes and pokes a little then types a quick note (5 or less 1-fingered keystrokes) into a computer hanging above my head, she will do this over and over until my mouth is done.

If I ever need work done, above the normal cleaning, I can have a mock itemized billing statement as soon as I ask. It will have the gross cost, what my insurance will pay, and the totals for the proposed procedure.

I find all of this incredibly awesome. I asked my dentist about cost one time and he said that their system was far cheaper at the end of the day when compared to paper records. Why was one part of the healthcare industry able to escape the clutches of momentus, dinosaur technology and not the other?