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An app for dentists to 'walk the talk'

Aug. 1, 2012
If my life is any indication, we now live in an app-driven world. My iPhone has become my portal to most of the world.

BY Michael DiTolla, DDS, FAGD

If my life is any indication, we now live in an app-driven world. My iPhone has become my portal to most of the world. I wake up in the morning and launch Zite, a personalized magazine that draws stories from the topics I enjoy the most.

Next, I launch my Bank of America app to make sure my accounts were not emptied out during the night. If my daughter at college needs money, I transfer it to her account on my phone.

Once at work, patients tell me about TV shows I would love, so I launch the DirecTV app, which allows me to record shows from my iPhone. Now that's cool!

Before leaving for the airport for a lecture, I launch the FAA app to see if there are delays at LAX. When I get to security I launch the United Airlines app since it has my boarding pass on it. Once I get to the lecture, I tell the story of how I lost 65 pounds with the app Lose It, the app that really changed my life.

It took a dentist to realize how cool it would be for dentists to have an app for their offices. Dr. Bob Marcus and I ran into each other while lecturing. He described what he created, and said I really needed to see the app for myself.

I went to the App Store on my iPhone and searched for "Dr. Marcus," and his app popped right up. I downloaded it and was sold on it immediately. You should do the same thing if you would like to see what the app can do for you and your patients.

Patients can get directions, call the office, and request appointments through the app (Fig.1). The Refer-a Friend button sends an email with your office information to a patient's friend in less than 10 seconds (Fig. 2). Another page has maps, hours, services, even a before-and-after tab.

But I think the most notable feature is an emergency button prominently featured in the bottom row (Fig. 3). With the touch of a button, patients can reach you or your answering service anytime they have an emergency. For all the talk about customer service in dentistry, nothing shows how serious you are about customer service quite like the emergency button.

Many doctors have the button set to their cell phones. This proves that they "walk the talk" and are serious about treating patients right. It's their chance to look cutting-edge and caring at the same time.

Bob's company is called Kick Your Apps, and they charge a one-time fee of $899 to set up your app and a $9.99 hosting fee. They offer a $50 discount to anyone who enters the promo code Glidewell. And even though I am all Mac all the time, I would be remiss if I did not mention that it is available for Android and BlackBerry phones, too.

Michael DiTolla, DDS. FAGD, is the director of clinical research and education at Glidewell Laboratories in Newport Beach, Calif. He lectures nationwide on both restorative and cosmetic dentistry. Dr. DiTolla has several free clinical programs available online or on DVD at www.glidewelldental.com.

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