EMR Stimulus Q and A: EMR Stimulus Money and Dentists

I must admit that the following question is one that I don’t have a very good answer to. However, I’ll offer what I know and hopefully the readers of the site can also chime in with their thoughts in the comments of this post. This question was posted in the comments of my previous EMR Stimulus question and answer post.

Can you help out another reader with a pressing question? Where can I find a good listing of EHRs for dentists? I’m looking specifically for ONC certified products that cater to dental practices and I’m coming up short so far. I know that DDS/DMDs can qualify for incentives under ARRA and they’ll be dinged on the Medicare side if they don’t use EHRs, but how are they supposed to comply if the software’s not out there for them? I’ve talked to several vendors with ONC certification who basically said they’re ignoring dentists in their outreach/software development (due to the larger potential market for internal medicine/general practice, the specialization required for dental systems, etc). A lot of dentists have PMS that they mistakenly believe are full EHRs, but it seems like there is a huge market out there for dental EHRs that is being ignored.

There was some discussion in the comments of the post where the above questions and comments were posted about whether Dentists do in fact qualify for EMR stimulus incentives. My understanding was that they could qualify. This of course assumes that they have enough Medicare and they were meaningful users of a certified EHR (as with everyone else). Although, I believe dentists are considered eligible providers (I’m sure someone will correct me in the comments if I’m wrong).

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any EHR list by ONC or anyone else for that matter that has EHR software for dentists. Of course, I posted a link to the official ONC-ATCB certified EHR list before. So, watching that list might be the place to start. Although, that list is going to grow between now and the end of the year quite quickly. I won’t be surprised if that list is at least double or triple the size that it is now.

I must admit that I don’t know many of the dentist specific EHR, so I couldn’t go through the list to find the EHR software that is a certified EHR for dentists. If someone else does and wants to share it in the comments, I’ll post that list for others to see too.

I have heard of one dentistry software called Dentrix. I asked my friend who does some work with them about their take on the EHR stimulus money for dentists. He said that he’s asked for more info himself and the only answer he gets is that they need to talk to Dentrix Enterprise. I guess they have multiple versions of their software. Sounds like they are a bit like Allscripts with a ton of different EHR packages depending on size of the office. Unfortunately, Dentrix didn’t answer mine (and others) request on Twitter for information about the EHR stimulus for dentists.

One thing is certain. Dentists that try for the EHR stimulus money will likely be happy to evoke the exception clause for some of the meaningful use requirements that don’t apply to them.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • This article was posted the day after my mother’s death last year, and I missed it. So please forgive me for chiming late.

    MacPractice DDS 4.1 was certified by CCHIT in February 2011 as the first dental ONC-ATCB 2011-2012 certified Complete EHR.

    Although I do not know of any MacPractice DDS users who have received incentive payments for Medicare or Medicaid use yet, my understanding is that a number have attested for Medicaid incentives, and more plan to apply and attest.

    As Medicaid and Medicare incentives are given to a provider, not a practice, and all that is necessary for the first year Medicaid incentive is the adoption of or upgrade to a certified EHR, it will be easy for dentists who see 30% Medicaid or otherwise qualified patients to receive at least the first year incentive of $21,500/provider.

    Obviously Medicare payments are only relevant to dental specialists who perform Medicare reimbursable procedures such as oral surgeons and those that treat sleep apnea and TMJ. But with Medicare there is no percentage requirement so if they see any Medicare patients and can demonstrate MU, they can receive some incentive.

    The ADA has stated that about 11,000 dentists could qualify.

    Dental software such as MacPractice DDS is very specialized. To be functional clinically for use in a dental office, besides EDR it must have tooth charting and at least several digital radiography interface options. It must be able to submit dental eclaims, and it must have an extensive recall system. There are other features that no medical software is likely to have, thus making medical software that has “EDR” unusable for a dental practice. I understand that there are some Dentrix and Dentrix Enterprise clients who are using their dental software PLUS a medical program also owned by Henry Schein in order to qualify for incentives. Dentrix has not chosen to get obtain certification. Obviously this will get them the money, but it is impractical, inefficient and too costly except for large installations.

    Mark Hollis
    Co-Founder and President, MacPractice, Inc.

  • I’ve talked to several vendors with ONC certification who basically said they’re ignoring dentists in their outreach/software development (due to the larger potential market for internal medicine/general practice, the specialization required for dental systems, etc).

  • That is unfortunate that dentists are being ignored here. Hopefully more dental EHRs become available.

  • I have good news!

    Not only have dentists qualified for first year Medicaid incentives, they don’t even have to use EHR to do that, but a dentist in private practice successfully demonstrated Meaningful Use of MacPractice DDS in MA in 2013 and attested to that.

    I believe that he is the only dentist in the US in private practice to have demonstrated Meaningful Use of an EHR and attested for a 2nd year incentive.

    Mark Hollis
    MacPractice, Inc.

  • Mark Hollis,
    Yes. I know one company that has created basically a shell of an EHR that they can sell dentists in order for them to get the Medicaid incentive. They have no intention for the dentist to actually even use the software.

    Why did that dentist choose to show MU?

Click here to post a comment