IT disaster is looming
 

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IT disaster is looming

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IT disaster is looming

 

IT disaster is looming

Dentistry has been made aware of a potentially disastrous problem the profession faces on 1 April 2006.

As you are aware the new contract will become effective on that day and every surgery that wishes to carry on offering NHS Dentistry will have to operate in a new way, with charging (bandings) new recall periods and so on. This means that everyone who uses IT will have to change on the same day and use a new piece of software that has not been fully tested, or go back to hand written receipts, treatment plans and recalls.

The final rules will not be announced until completion of the Consultation period (this month) and then the changes have to pass through both Houses and we expect to get a document some time in January 2006. Only then can dental practice computer systems start to be adapted to the new system – whatever that might finally be.

As we are all aware, dental practice management computer systems are hugely complex, requiring millions of lines of code to programme them bug free. Altering programmes is not like switching a button, it will take some time to do. And all this pre-supposes that the Government does not tinker with the system up to the last minute just prior to release – for which it does have a history.

Frustrated Geoff Emery, general manager of Kodak Practiceworks for Europe, Middle East and Africa region said: ‘We asked for six months to rewrite and test our software – and it was declined.’
He went on to say: ‘This shortage of time and development problems has led us to announce that we will not be making the changes to our DOS products and some older Legacy products. These customers will need to upgrade to either R4 or Arthur version 7.
‘The profession needs to understand that our software was written to enable the electronic transmission of claims to the DPB – as the basis of this was ‘fee per item’.

But if this is disappearing we need to completely rewrite our systems. We have written to the chief dental officer to explain this, because we see a disaster scenario with all of our customers phoning the help desk on the first day and it will be impossible to take all of these calls. We are now working on a plan to deal with this.’

Contingency plans:
Due to the necessity to upgrade users by 1 April, the suppliers of dental practice computer systems are planning to cope with as many as possible. However, both Kodak Practiceworks and Software of Excellence state that it will not be possible to upgrade everyone who wants to if the DoH does not give sufficient time. Dentistry can see a situation where practices will have to fill out paper forms but their financial records would be incorrect and they can not record their Units of Dental Activity.

The computer system suppliers are lobbying vigorously on this matter, which could determine the success or failure (in the eyes of dentists, their teams and patients) on 1 April 2006.


 Posted on : Fri 14th - Oct - 2005

 

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