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Dr. Lou Shuman is the CEO of Cellerant Consulting Group, dentistry’s leading corporate incubator and accelerator; a venturer-in-residence at Harvard’s i-Lab; the chairman of the technology advisory board at WEO Media; a long-time contributor to Dental Products Report; and the founder and creator of the Cellerant Best of Class Technology Awards.
A new dental technology maximizes the use of smartphones and watches at work, making bringing your smartphone to the office a practical option.
Last month, I had the opportunity to meet with a team that is revolutionizing how dental practices use technology. In the past, we’ve told our staff to keep their smartphones away from work, reasoning that these devices would get in the way of productivity, as well as client service.
Dr. Ryan and Zach Hungate, founders of Simplifeye, have a different take. They believe smartphones are ubiquitous and have an unquestionable place in today’s dental practices.
I sat down with Ryan and Zach, to learn how smartphones and smartwatches are changing how we run our practices. Ryan is a trained orthodontist with prior experience at Apple, while Zach is an entrepreneur and private equity investor. The two started Simplifeye in 2015 to assist healthcare providers run the business side of their practice.
Why should smartphone use be encouraged in dental practices?
According to Pew Research, 95 percent of Americans now have a cellphone of some kind, and 77 percent have a smartphone. When smartphones first came into existence, they were seen as a distraction, and many dental practices introduced a zero-tolerance phone policy.
However, smartphones are everywhere, and they should be leveraged at dental practices, rather than tolerated - or worse, prohibited. These are powerful, personal computers that can enhance productivity and the patient experience. We feel there is a need to fundamentally support dental professionals’ interests in technology and provide them 21st century options.
Why have people been resistant in the past?
When a new technology is introduced, it’s natural to be resistant. As humans, we’re wired to worry about change and how it will impact our lives, our businesses, and even our code of ethics. When smartphones burst onto the scene, many dental practices subscribed to the idea that they should continue to operate exactly as they had in the past, even though they were missing out on amazing advancements in technology.
Many practices also worried about security, HIPAA compliance and how they would implement a change. Additionally, many practices did not understand how they could use a tool like a smartphone or smartwatch in the office. Thanks to custom-built solutions made specifically for the dental industry, that’s changing. Dental practices everywhere are now implementing these new technologies and seeing the positive results.
How do you deal with HIPAA compliance?
There’s no question that HIPAA compliance is important. Dental practices want to be sure that they are compliant and doing everything they can to protect their patients’ medical information. As long as the app uses proper encryption, it can be HIPAA compliant. That’s why it’s essential to use apps built specifically for the healthcare field. Using apps like Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger or texting are not compliant. With apps like Simplifeye, an owner can pick and choose which employees have access to patient info, as well.
What applications are smart devices used for?
We’ve seen dental offices across the country leverage smart technology to improve operations. Apps via smartphones and smartwatches provide staff immediate access to patient and procedure lists thus increasing efficiency. These apps also allow staff members to instantaneously collaborate with each other. Simplifeye on a smartwatch gives staff members comprehensive appointment information the instant they need it.
Why are dentists, their teams, and manufacturers so excited about Simplifeye’s technology?
The reason we built Simplifeye is because inter-office communications in dental offices have not been updated since 1998, when desktop-to-desktop chat systems were introduced.
Light systems are antiquated and distracting, desktop chat requires you to be at a monitor to view the message, walkie-talkie radios are disruptive and there’s too much background chatter, and sticky-notes or face-to-face communication are inefficient.
Simplifeye is the only secure workflow and communication suite for dental offices. It’s designed to make you and your team more efficient by providing offices with data, such as average wait time and how long it takes to do certain procedures, which you can then use to optimize your operations. Plus, Simplifeye’s end-to-end encryption with all operating systems means it’s entirely HIPAA compliant.
Smartphones and smartwatches are becoming fixtures in our lives. They’re revolutionizing how we work and communicate and improving how dental providers serve their patients. Simplifeye’s technology not only makes it easy to bring smart devices into the office, it dramatically improves dental practice interoffice communication and information flow.
To learn more about Simplifeye, go to www.simplifeye.co