PHOTO COURTESY OF XLDENT
Improve Communication IN YOUR OFFICE A look at the benefits intra-office communication systems can bring. By Renee Knight, Editor
hen you’re starting a new practice, it takes time to get to know your team members and to build routines— but you certainly don’t want these growing pains to hold you back from success early on. That’s why it’s so important to invest in intraoffice communication from the beginning. The right system can help improve practice efficiencies as well as keep you on track throughout the work day. Even so, intra-office communication usually isn’t top of mind when new dentists think about what they need in a successful practice, VisiCom Sales Manager Kat Brousseau said. They’re focused on investing in the right equipment and technology, as well as effective practice management software, an easy-to-use telephone system and a seemingly endless amount of supplies. They don’t think of an intra-office communication system as a fundamental need, though it’s one that can streamline their day and help set them up for success in the future. “A new dentist is going to have a slower pace and not as many patients so they might not need this as much, but in my experience, training somebody to integrate a new system into their practice after they’ve been doing something for a few years is a challenge,” said Dr. Lorne Lavine, President/ CEO of the Digital Dentist. “It makes sense for new dentists to learn one of these systems from the get-go and to include it in their initial setup. It will be ingrained in their system in a few weeks and they won’t have to change their workflow in a year or two.” 16 THENEWDENTIST.NET FA L L 2 0 1 7
FINDING A SYSTEM THAT WORKS FOR YOU There are a variety of intra-office communication systems available, and while they all have their benefits, it’s important to invest in a solution that best fits your practice. In general, you’ll want to look for something that’s easy to use, that’s customizable, that allows you to page and send messages without disrupting the practice workflow, and that’s backed by a company that offers exceptional customer service. Dr. Lavine suggests investing in a software-based product that runs on your office computers. These tend to be less expensive than the analogue systems of the past, as well as fairly intuitive. The best systems offer customization and feature specific chimes for each individual in the practice, he said. That way, you and your team members know when someone is trying to reach you, even if you can’t see a computer screen when the page comes. Ted Takahashi, Founder & CEO of T2 Consulting, also suggests leveraging your computer network and purchasing a software-based communication system. He has recommended the Venga system to his clients for years, he said, because it’s easy to use and reliable. Regardless of the system you choose, zone paging is among the key features to look for, Takahashi said, because it gives you the ability to page someone in multiple rooms. Why does that matter? If you page in op three and the hygienist you’re looking for is in op one and never hears it, the system will just add stress and frustration to your day rather than order. Most systems also offer instant messaging for more detailed communication. It’s important to make sure you invest in software that features the TCP protocol, Takahashi said, which guarantees messages get from point A to point B in the order you send them. To stay HIPPA compliant, look for a system that encrypts these messages. Some options, like Venga, make it possible to send messages via text, Takahashi said. So if you’re at lunch and an emergency patient comes in, for example, you’ll receive a page on your smartphone. Some companies also have plans to use smart watches, so instead of looking at the computer screen when you get a page, you just look at your watch.
Published on Sep 26, 2017