Benchmark: Motorola's CLS 1110

March 21, 2012

At some point every dentist has been “in the weeds.” On a day when you least expect the schedule to fall apart, in walks an emergency toothache, the 6-unit anterior all-ceramic crowns are not going to place and hygiene is backed up. No one, dentists included, likes to be kept waiting, and the longer the wait, the greater the frustration.

At some point every dentist has been “in the weeds.” On a day when you least expect the schedule to fall apart, in walks an emergency toothache, the 6-unit anterior all-ceramic crowns are not going to place and hygiene is backed up. No one, dentists included, likes to be kept waiting, and the longer the wait, the greater the frustration.

One complexity of running a dental office is keeping the flow of patients moving at a reasonable pace and minimizing frustration. I have a very busy practice in rural North Carolina, where large crown and bridge treatment plans are not the norm. My day is made up of small unit appointments stacked back to back. Staying on schedule is challenging on a good day. On a bad day, the flow can quickly stagnate. So I’m always looking for ways to keep things moving smoothly.

Communication is key
Several years ago while sitting on the deck of a friend’s fishing boat, I watched a large “mega-yacht” pull into the marina and head for its slip. It was impressive to watch the crew work with the captain to maneuver into position and slip gently into their dock. I wondered if they had worked together for so long that communication was not needed anymore, but I learned from a crew member that they stayed in constant communication using small Motorola radios so they could talk themselves through each stage of the docking procedure.

When I got back to the office, I ordered a Motorola CLS 1110 two-way radio and low profile earpiece (model HKLN4477) for each member of my team. Until then we had used a communications board with flashing lights and beeps. This worked fairly well but provided a small amount of data, telling me when I was needed but not why. It required me to look at the board each time it beeped, and every time I lifted my head, I had to slow my pace, endangering the tight schedule.

Improved efficiency
The beauty of the CLS 1110 is that I can keep my head down and work while staying in constant contact with the flow of the office. Any team member can talk to me without interrupting my work or her own, which optimizes the efficiency of the entire team. A front desk member can easily alert me that I have a phone call without having to leave her desk to track me down. My hygienist can let me know when she is ready for me and can give me information about a patient that I might need to know before walking into the treatment room. In one brief communication, my assistant can tell me patient A is ready for anesthesia and patient B is ready for treatment. Through it all, I stay on task. What’s more, the CLS 1110 has a tone button that I can press to alert my staff that I have heard a message and am on my way.

The CLS 1110 has multiple frequencies, so in a multiple-doctor practice each dentist can be on a separate frequency. Changing from one doctor’s frequency to another is cumbersome, but not overly so. Other than that very minor criticism, I can find no fault with the CLS 1110 at all. Its battery life is more than sufficient for a day’s work, and the batteries are recharged every night. The earpiece is comfortable and not overly obvious, though my patients will sometimes ask me if I am listening to a local baseball game.

These radios have helped keep my schedule running smoothly for 6 years, and I can’t imagine working without them. Hold on a second…I need to run-there’s a hygiene check in room 4.

????? - 5 stars out of a possible 5.

The Benchmark column is written by the directors of the Atlanta Center for Dental Excellence, an alliance of practicing clinicians dedicated to progress in dentistry. The ACDE advises dental companies on product development and marketing, and provides PACE-approved high-level continuing education. To learn more, visit theacde.com, or contact Molly Thompson at info@theacde.com.Brenton Young, DDS, is co-author of A Survival Guide to Clinical Dentistry and has lectured at the UNC School of Dentistry and internationally. His work with the ACDE focuses on the impact that EQ (Emotional Quotient) has on a dentist’s success in the dental office and in his or her personal life. He is married with two college-age children and practices general dentistry in Shelby, North Carolina.