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Kevin Henry is the group editorial director for Advanstar Dental Media and has more than 15 years of experience in the dental publications field. He can be reached by email at email@example.com. Also, you can follow him on Twitter (@kgh23).
In this installment of “I Use That,” Dental Products Report asked Dr. Todd Cooper and his back office manager, Sylvia Smith, about how the practice uses PatientTracker, a computer application that tracks the location and waiting time of patients in up to 36 operatories, prioritizes them based on specific needs, automatically pages any required health care professionals and alerts them to their next destination.
PatientTracker can turn your practice into a virtual workplace as it is functional in any room equipped with a PC and is updated in real-time. Each operatory is represented graphically on the application, and every health care worker chooses his or her own icon, called an avatar, and corresponding paging tone.
What Dr. Cooper liked most about the product.
“We have an 18-room practice with three oral surgeons, and we’ve been using this product since 2004,” Dr. Cooper said. “I honestly can’t imagine a day without it. We have no other indication of assessing where a patient is and when he or she is ready to be seen.
At a moment’s glance, I can look and see where I am supposed to be and where I am supposed to go next. We recently had our systems down for two days and weren’t able to use PatientTracker. I honestly didn’t realize just how valuable it was until then. We were lost without it.”
Dr. Cooper believes one of the best things about the product is its simplicity.
“It’s simple yet effective,” he said. “Any staff member can look at it and know exactly what is going on in the practice. It also protects a patient’s data because no names can be seen. It helps us not have to worry about HIPAA violations.”
Dr. Cooper says part of the reason the product works so well is because it was invented by a dentist, Dr. Ken Lagergren, who also practices in Washington state in Richland.
“Every time I talk to Dr. Lagergren, I thank him for creating it,” Dr. Cooper said. “It’s the one piece of technology that I constantly recommend to colleagues. I would give it 11 stars out of 10 because it keeps our productivity high. In a busy practice, it’s the one thing that declutters our day every day.”
The back office manager’s thoughts
We also talked to Sylvia Smith, back office manager at Dr. Cooper’s practice, to get her thoughts on PatientTracker.
“We wouldn’t be able to function without it,” Smith said. “It allows us to know where the patients and doctors are at any time.”
Smith said the technology helps ensure the practice’s patients aren’t waiting too long in the reception area before their appointments. And, as its creator Dr. Lagergren notes, it’s so simple “even a dentist can install and use it.”
More about PatientTracker
Patient Tracker is a software paging and messaging system that reportedly allows you to replace outdated and limited lighted paging systems, monitor how long a patient has waited or how long a procedure takes and send messages between staff on one screen. The state-of-the-art system is also said to tell you where you are needed in order of priority. Website: patienttracker.net. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.