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Digital Dentistry Delivers Part 2

Issue: Winter 2010
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It’s a goal I work toward, but it is not easily attained. You know the days I’m talking about, when everything goes right and you can’t believe its five o’clock already. That is the feeling I want every day. The way to get there is to control the things you can control and everything else will take care of itself.

Two of the things in your control are practice speed and efficiency. I’m sure everyone would agree that mastery of these two areas benefit the practice immensely. Digital technology will be able to influence both of these on a daily basis to make your practice both professionally and financially successful. From the electronic chart to the digital X-ray, “speed is king.” I can’t imagine curing composite any longer than 3–5 second bursts.

An example of an overlooked area in a practice that I believe could be more organized in, is the treatment room. One of the biggest areas where time is lost each day is moving from room to room. I try to organize every treatment room as if it were my own private office and then duplicate that in every room. The rooms have an Internet connection, a printer, and E-mail access. This allows for easy communication between staff members in other treatment rooms. I want to be able to sit down and not get up until I’m finished working on the patient. I utilize my hygienists to anesthetize the patient if possible. I can then answer E-mails or read referral letters that I have received from my specialists while this process is carried out. After reading, I just copy and paste the E-mail and the attachments into my Dentrix Document Center. The key is to stop wasting paper and time. Receiving X-rays and letters by E-mail is a preferable choice. You can then eliminate the step of scanning.

I hope that everyone reading this article has or is planning to have a computer in every treatment room. You will see at least a 15 % increase in yearly production just from the timed saved. Henry Schein can help you design the most ergonomically efficient treatment rooms on the planet. Pelton & Crane has a solution for every situation, from new builds to the renovation of an old room. I just renovated two rooms and built a new hygiene room. They all have a massage feature built into the chair for patient comfort and the intraoral camera in the delivery unit for quick and easy access. The hygienists have the image up on the screen of the next area to work on when I walk in for the exam. I attribute much of our success to having an intraoral camera and DEXIS Platinum sensor in every room. This equipment and technology has increased our speed and efficiency for every appointment from hygiene to restorative. Anytime you share equipment between treatment rooms, you slow down. So equip your treatment rooms to have its own technology. You can turn your newfound speed and efficiency into extra time for more production. The new DEXIS Platinum sensor is unbelievable, in this regard. I have diagnosed at least 15% more treatment with the new sensors because they are so clear and accurate. You have to see them to believe it. Ask for an in-office demo or go to www.dexis.com for more information.

It is for this reason that I encourage you to switch from phosphor plates to the DEXIS sensors. There has not been one case that I have not been able to X-ray with the wired sensors. For the longest time I had both phosphor plates and sensors in the office, because I believed I would not be able to get every X-ray I needed. Well, after one year I sold my phosphor plate system on e-Bay. It saves me at least 10 minutes for every hygiene appointment, which adds up to 80 minutes a day that the hygienists use for patient education, fluoride treatments, oral cancer screenings, etc.

Another way to bring speed and efficiency to the treatment room is by changing your chairside monitors to touch screens. You can purchase them through Henry Schein OATS (800-288-7691). I recommend the Elo Intellitouch. It is glass and easily sterilized. All you have to do is take down your old monitor and hook up the new one. Your patients will be activating patient education on their own; you can draw on the monitor with a rubber tip stylus, and even discuss their treatment plan without having to use the mouse. The patient can even initial the treatment plan or presentation to make a record that they saw it. The new screen adds an interactive element to the treatment room.

Moving to perfecting the paperless office using the EDRElectronic Patient Record, is an ongoing goal in my office. I went paperless in 2001 and have never looked back. I do not miss my staff asking me what I did with “Mrs. Jones” chart. One of the most speedy and efficient additions toward that record has been the addition of the e-pad from interlink electronics. It is also available from Henry Schein OATS. It captures the patient’s signature for consent forms and treatment plans, and also allows you to sign your notes all in the Dentrix Chart. By far, the Dentrix practice-management system is the best. I have practiced for more than 20 years and have found none better. The pads are USB compatible and we have a 15-foot cable that easily sits on the counter and stretches to the patient chair.

Look for the upcoming Digital Dentistry Delivers Part 3; I will focus on the front office. The future is yours!