Computer Types and $

by Larry Emmott on September 4, 2006

in Hardware

Computers in the treatment rooms are not just simple data entry business machines. They are also multimedia patient education and communication stations. For example, in addition to practice management software a treatment room computer could have digital radiographs, patient education, digital image management, multiple monitors, sound and speakers, multiple inputs, computerized probes, shade matching, voice charting, video input, a DVD and even a blood pressure cuff.
Most dental offices will need three different types of computers, a server, business workstations and clinical workstations. Each computer type will have different specifications depending on the job it must do.
Server:  This is the main computer which stores all the data and distributes it to the other workstations. This machine should have a powerful processor, lots of memory and big dual hard drives for storage. It does not need any sound or multi-media capabilities. A server for most dental offices will cost from $3,000 to $3,500.
Business Workstations: These are the front desk stations. These will be the least powerful machines in the office. They have modest processing requirements, need virtually no hard drive storage and do not need sound or multi-media. A business workstation will cost $1,000 or less.
Clinical Workstations: These are the chairside computers and these will need to be much more powerful than the business machines. Chairside computers will be used for patient education, image management, digital radiography, cosmetic imaging, entertainment, intra-oral camera capture and much more. These machines need full multi media capability including sound, CD or DVD, powerful processors and lots of memory. A clinical workstation will cost from $1,800 to $2,200.
Some offices may need a fourth type, a consultation workstation. This would be used in a consultation room for case presentations. This machine would be similar to a clinical workstation with full multi media capacity and ideally should include a large impressive monitor. However a consultation workstation would not be used to capture images, radiographs and other data.

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