One of the simplest but effective tips for the 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 or touch screens, track balls, pen tablets, mini keyboards, voice, foot controlled inputs like the Dental Rat, direct perio input from the Florida Probe and even bar code scanners.
all of these input devices have value, especially the specialized dental one like Florida Probe, but the fact is a very simple input option can have tremendous benefits, simply use two mice.
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 doctor wanted to view or manipulate a certain x-ray he would have to ask the assistant to bring it up on the screen and then manipulate it. As you can imagine this was a problem and ended up taking two people to do the job of one in a pretty ineffective manner. The same problem occurred with chart information. If the dentist wanted to read the previous appointment notes or review the treatment plan he had to ask the assistant, in front of the patient, to do it for him. Or worse yet he had to get up and 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.