3 Things for Every Geek Dentist
Most dentists are famous gadget lovers. Every complex procedure has a multitude of options and this provides fertile ground for inventors. There are at least 8 different methods to achieve a great contact in a class 2 direct composite, 4 electronic apex locators to determine endodontic working length and over a dozen soft tissue lasers. Rather than bore you with clinical gadgetry, I will share a short list of items for use in your everyday life.
- Smartphone– This one seems obvious to most but there are still many dentists that prefer the operational simplicity of a flip-style cell phone. In 2011, smartphone really means small computer that can make phone calls. The dominant platforms are Apple and Android. The iPhone seems to be particularly abundant in dental circles, but there are many out there (myself included), that still own a BlackBerry. I have been loyal to the BlackBerry brand for a decade, but the love affair is over. The fine folks at RIM have rested on their laurels and allowed the upstart Android OS (from Google) and iPhone fanatics to steal valuable market share. In a world of apps and increased access to the interent, you should own an iPhone or Android based device in my opinion. My BlackBerry contract is up in March.
- Remote Access– Please excuse the intrusion into our gadget-fest, but to enjoy life outside the office, you need to connect remotely when a patient calls after hours. A couple of options that are essentially free and fairly easy for any IT professional to set up: Terminal Services which is built into Windows and RealVNC (http://www.realvnc.com/). These programs allow you to see your office desktop from any PC with an internet connection. On the smartphone side, many of the practice management software companies have developed their own methods to access your software directly. I am a Dentrix user so that is the only program that I can discuss. The Dentrix Mobile program gives access to the information you need but it is a long way from perfect. The interface can be clumsy and every bit of information is not yet viewable.
- Tablet Computer– Right now, the only real game in town is the iPad. I got one over the summer as part of an equipment purchase that I made through Henry Schein. When the iPad was released, I thought, “iPhone that doesn’t make calls, why?” Now that I own one, I am a believer. The tablet computer gives you the essential functions you need in a laptop with a fraction of the weight and bulk. I can sit on the couch at home and run through email, surf the web or read a book. Most dentists already know that the first product will pale in comparison to the sequels. Tablets are no different. If you are on the sidelines, wait until late 2011 to make a purchase as there will be the iPad 2 (at least) and a slew of Android based tablets to choose from.
I want this to be a quick read so I’m stopping at 3 items. Feel free to share your favorite tech toys in the comments section.