UPDATE: Is a Tablet Right for Your office?

Tablets and Smartphones are a staple in everyday living and with a growing desire to use these high-tech devices in today's dental office, the question is can your tablet replace your workstation? No. But that doesn't mean it doesn't have its place.

First you need a real tablet running Windows 8 Pro (ex. Microsoft Surface PRO) with a stylus, not a glorified smartphone like and Android or iPad. With this you are essentially holding a portable, lower-powered laptop. One that, when used properly, can run all of your windows programs and will be great for additional tasks.

For example, if a patient has a consent form they need to read or sign, this can be done on a tablet instead of paper and the stylus can act as a writing instrument to sign the document in electronic format that is easily saved to the patients file.

For patient education, use a tablet to show Optio videos in the chair while working on a treatment plan. When finished, a booklet can be printed outlining the plan and slides as well as summarizing the just watched video.

Used with The Bridge Networks Smart Notes and Digital Forms, tablets can provide an easy method for filling in clinical information using personalized predefined drop downs and lists while being able to stay face-to-face with the patient providing that added personal element offices strive for.

However, its not all good news. Since tablets have a bit of weight to them, dropping it can easily break it so it should only be trusted to certain patients and / or staff. And, because its a low-powered device, its not the best choice for all day tasks.

So, will a tablet be good enough to replace your current workstations? No, and nor should you want it to. Tablets have many benefits, but, at most, should just be used as an addition to your existing infrastructure.

UPDATE: On October 21 2013, Microsoft will release the Surface Pro 2, with an updated processor and Windows 8.1. Either of these machines will be a suitable tablet for the office.

Comments

 
By: Map132
On: 03/17/2014 23:24:53
I think the author fails to grasp the point of a tablet. Initially they make it clear that a tablet isn't supposed to do everything a PC is supposed to do but then the very next sentence says that you need a tablet running full windows so it can run the full version of tracker. The only reason you would require full windows is because there are no apps created by the bridge network that run on android or iOS.
The user interface of tracker is poor when used with a tablet including the surface pro 2 because it was designed for use with a mouse and keyboard, not a stylus or a finger. Optio requires full windows because the videos are flash based and the company doesn't seem open to conversion of the videos to html5 or any other mobile friendly standard.
The point of a tablet is not to run the full version of tracker. The point is to make it easier to perform certain tasks. Filling out a new patient health history is far easier to do on a tablet, like an ipad, than it is having a patient sitting in front of a computer doing it. Showing a patient an X-ray or a patient education video is also much better on a tablet assuming the user interface has been adequately designed. I worry about the long term future of tracker if the company continues to operate with blinders on regarding innovation and new technologies. I would feel better if they just admitted that a tablet (not a computer with a stylus like a surface pro ) had merit but they don't have resources committed to programming for them.
 
By: The Bridge Network
On: 04/01/2014 23:14:53
Map132, Thank you for your comments. However, I believe some clarification is in order. Our EForms product allows for New Patient and any other forms to be completed on any platform, including iOS and Android. What's more, we allow patients to do this not only in the office, but also from the comfort of their own home.

Tracker's clinical portion has been optimized for use with tablets with a fullscreen feature which provides larger surfaces for charting and also for use on imaging for touch annotations. Practice Management is, for obvious reasons, not optimized this way.

As for Optio, you may contact Optio Publishing (optiopublishing.com) for information on using their products on other platforms, which they will be able to accomodate for you.

As far as using a tablet for showing xrays, this is no easier on a tablet than it is on a surface. It is however, much more limited on a tablet. On a Surface you can perform and save edits and annotations, as well as integrate with the other aspects of the software such as patient education, letter writing, case presentation and Visual Charting.

I hope you take the time to become familiar with these features of Tracker.

John

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