Computers in the treatment rooms are not just simple data input and retrieval devices. They are also communication, diagnosis, education and entertainment centers. They are used by the dentist, the dental assistant and the even the dental patient. Accommodating all these uses and users means that the computer components need to flexible and movable.
Multiple monitors use a function of Windows which allows two or more monitors to run off of one computer. Dual monitors aren’t really new; I have been using them and telling other dentists about the concept since1998. What is new is that program designers are building in dual monitor functionality and hardware vendors, such as Dell are offering multiple monitors as a common upgrade.
Dual monitors provide a great solution to what can be a problem when computers are used in the treatment rooms. That is the “public – private” issue. Some things seen on the computer monitor are public. Those are things we want the patient to see, their own chart, x-rays, photos or patient education. Other information should not be seen. That would include another patient’s chart or the daily schedule; that is private.
Dual monitors allow the user to have two monitors showing completely different things. This is done by extending the desktop. That means you can view different windows, like a chart in behind the patient on the private monitor and patient education in front on the public monitor. However you can not input data simultaneously in both monitors, there is still only one active window even though there are two monitors.