It’s been a decade and a half since I hung my shingle. While setting up and decorating my first office, I printed several signs stating, ‘PLEASE POWER DOWN CELL PHONES’ and strategically placed them around the office.
Why Smartphones Work in the Dental Practice
Fast forward to today and my attitude towards mobile devices in the office has taken an about-face. We now harness the power of having them in the clinical area. Where years ago we viewed smart devices as a distraction, today I acknowledge that they are a part of who we are and how we relate. Perhaps they even store some of our Cartesian sense of self within their connections to the cloud beyond them.
I’d love to share a few tricks that use smart devices for obvious uses in documentation and communication, but more importantly, impress their magical power as a tool in behavioral development and patient assessment.
Consider this: A consult appointment has reached a critical moment. You are knee to knee and eye to eye with your patient. Your diagnosis is clear and it is the opportunity to pass ownership of the patient’s condition to them. Your eyes are connected and gleaming — then a loud siren blares from the patient’s pocket.
There are several alternative versions of how this vignette continues . . .
1. The patient giggles with embarrassment and says, “Sorry I didn’t turn that off Doc.”
2. The patient halts your conversation, answers the phone with unapologetic alacrity, and discusses weekend plans with the caller, index finger up, signaling “hold-on.”
3. The patient gives a meek apology, answers a call, and speaks softly with their head down. When you return from checking hygiene, they explain that their mother is in hospice care.
4. The patient lowers their eyes, returns a text message, and gives a subtle nod as if they didn’t miss a word of your conversation.
To be continued …