A simple, inexpensive, yet very powerful component to effective use of technology in the treatment room is multiple inputs. Input refers to any device, which allows the user to access the computer. The most common input devices are a keyboard and mouse. However there are other options as well such as touch pads, track balls, pen tablets, mini keyboards, voice and even smart phones.
Last century around 1995 when we first moved computers to the back we used the desktop model and had a single data entry point with a keyboard and mouse on the assistant’s side. As we developed the electronic chart and started using digital radiology, computerized notes, digital imaging and patient education we soon discovered we needed more input access.
For example, if the dentist wants to view or enhance a certain x-ray the doctor has to ask the assistant to bring it up on the screen and then click and zoom in order to give the doctor the view he/she wants. As you can imagine this is a problem and ends up taking two people to do the job of one in a pretty ineffective manner. The same problem occurs with chart information. If the dentist wants to read the previous appointments notes or review the treatment plan he/she has to ask the assistant, in front of the patient, to do it for him. Or worse yet, get up, move to the other side of the room, break asepsis, and do it, again in an ineffective manner.
The solution was a second input device on the doctor’s side of the room. This can be any type of input; we used a pen and tablet, a touch pad and even a wireless infrared keyboard. However we found what really worked well was a simple mouse.
So, you have two mice (mouses??) in the treatment room; one for the dentist and one for the assistant.
Look here for more help and ideas setting up computers in the clinical areas.