Enhance Your Doctor-Patient Relationship with Tablets and Apps

Dental hygienist using tablet

© blanche - fotolia

Last week, I shared how the Kindle Fire had quickly become a best-selling product for Amazon. This week, I wanted to touch base with its success, and share how tablets and emerging applications for smartphones and other devices are enhancing doctor-patient relationships by boosting interaction, creating more knowledgeable patients and keeping them active and up-to-date on their oral health.

It’s a fast-paced world out there and technology is entering the hands of Americans faster than ever before. Nielsen reports that smartphones overtook traditional cell phones at the end of 2011. It’s hard not to notice almost everyone using their iPhones, BlackBerry, Droid and other smartphones throughout the day – I know I keep in touch on my device via email, social apps and texts on the hour.

I’ve noticed dentists quickly jumping on the trend of developing mobile applications for their patients. The applications are quickly becoming another conduit of communication to keep patients connected to their particular dental office. Many of the applications being developed integrate treatment planners, other family members, appointment schedulers and links to relevant dental resources – all helping to bridge the patient-doctor gap and keep patients active and loyal.

You may have noticed a Kindle, iPad or other tablet sitting in the lounge of your repair shop or read the news on a device prior to your haircut appointment, like I did this past week. Tablets are popping up everywhere, including the dentist office. This can be a great opportunity to further educate your patient during their routine visit, especially those who only come in a couple times a year for a cleaning. It’s simple to pre-load the device of your liking with interactive dental quizzes, videos on common treatments and articles about improving general dental health. For example, have patients view illustrations of a particular procedure prior to settling down in the operating chair – which may help alleviate tense nerves and reduce already intensified stress-levels.

Once in the chair, tablets can help further improve the patients’ dental experience. For example, the tablet can serve as a fun, interactive channel for displaying x-rays. Let them pinch, zoom and explore the image – making the dental visit even more engaging, especially for anxious youngsters.

What are your thoughts on implementing tablets and applications into your practice? Already implement? Share your success of enhancing your patients’ visits with these tools.

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