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“Image Central”

May 1, 2007
Many dentists have already embarked on a relationship with digital technology. This technology allows doctors to view a wide variety of high-quality digital images, such as radiographs, photographs, and video, to devise and discuss possible treatment plans with patients.

by Brad Durham, DMD

Many dentists have already embarked on a relationship with digital technology. This technology allows doctors to view a wide variety of high-quality digital images, such as radiographs, photographs, and video, to devise and discuss possible treatment plans with patients. Recent innovations in digital technology can make a dental practice run even more smoothly, as well as enhance the patient’s experience, when all digital images are organized in what I like to call “image central.”

One click leads to an overview of the patient’s images
Click here to enlarge image

In the computerized office, different software programs are typically used to store different types of information including: 1) intraoral X-rays, bitewings, or periapicals, 2) panoramic X-rays, 3) photographic images, and 4) intraoral camera images. Up to four different programs may be necessary to access all four types of information. The proprietary nature of the technology can require several programs to be opened at once, which slows down the computer and can delay the patient’s understanding.

“Image Central” provides quick communication
Click here to enlarge image

Patients often arrive for their appointments confused and nervous. A disjointed approach to visual imaging can add to their apprehension and impede recommended treatment. In an exceptional practice, patients must be able to see continuity between their images and the doctor’s treatment plan. An “image central” concept not only alleviates interruptions in presentation, but also encourages treatment acceptance.

A truly useful digital imaging software integrates all the different aspects of the patient’s imaging. With a click, the doctor can access the four different types of visual fields, and can zoom in for a full-screen view or compare before-and-after images. The patient sees a clear, clean, and consistent presentation of a treatment plan tailored specifically to his or her needs, a continuity of care that showcases the office’s total organization.

“Image central” continues to assist the doctor with treatment visits. Returning patients can easily forget the issues that brought them to the dental office in the first place. After a comparison of before-and-after images displayed side-by-side on the screen, patients are not only glad that they received the procedures, but readily refer others to the practice. Used as marketing materials, these digital images are easily transmitted by e-mail to the patient’s home. They not only show families and friends the great transformation, but also generate a positive “buzz” in the community.

While centralized imaging enhances patients’ understanding of their treatment, it also reduces the amount of energy expended by the staff when sending patient information to consulting health-care providers and insurance companies. With the built-in report writer, radiographic and photographic images can be combined and electronically transmitted at the click of a button directly from the software. Consultations with other doctors take less time when files are shared digitally.

Organizing images in this way raises the already-digital office to a new level for both doctor and patient. While digital radiography and photography removes the time and energy spent searching for X-rays stored in manila folders, copying information, and waiting for it to be sent by mail, “image central” takes it a step further. It continues to save time, increase convenience, and improve the patient’s image of your dental practice. The management of all of your images is only a click away. How cool is that?

Dr. Brad Durham has practiced dentistry for 25 years with an emphasis on the treatment of head, neck, and facial pain, dental cosmetics, and complex dental reconstruction. His practice combines art, science, and technology with personalized care. He is a clinical and featured instructor at the Las Vegas Institute, and was the first in the world to earn the LVI Mastership award for esthetic reconstruction. Dr. Durham teaches a series of courses titled “The Niche Practice” at LVI and his home in Savannah, Ga. Contact him at [email protected] and www.nichepractice.com.

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