Sitting watching The Big Game last night made me realize how important to our society televisions have become. They’re everywhere. There is hardly a bar or restaurant that I go into that doesn’t have at least one TV monitor hanging on a wall somewhere. Walking through the airport they are everywhere. So, it only makes sense that these devices have also become a fixture in most dental offices.
We agree that the TV monitor is an important tool for promoting the dental health of one’s patients. In operatories they can provide dual duty by providing an entertainment stream for patients while waiting between exam steps and when integrated with the dental office network a great educational and sales tool to really show the patient what is going on inside his/her mouth. In consultation rooms they are incredibly valuable sales tools for the very same reason. Who isn’t going to sign up to have oral work done when they are shown the true state of their health right in front of them on a screen? Oral cameras, digital x-rays, and touch-screen monitors make communicating with patients easier than ever. Consequently, they are great assets in helping patients move forward with treatment. Gone are the days of, “You really need this. Trust me.”
Waiting Areas and Reception have been a venue for TV’s and monitors for years it seems, and we’re definitely guilty of incorporating them into our clients’ dental office designs. Unfortunately, so often we find these used to display endless streams of videos showing examples of poor oral health and discussions of treatment options. The Waiting Area is not the place for these types of videos. They only serve to stress and gross patients out and do nothing to help them to relax and look forward to their exam. Who really wants to sit in a room with pictures of gum disease streaming endlessly overhead?
The judicious use of televisions and monitors can greatly enhance the patient experience and lead to increased sales and referrals, but the wrong kind of content will only serve to make patients uncomfortable and undermine the positive aspects of the dental practice. Before slapping a monitor on a wall somewhere give some thought to its role in enhancing the patient experience and improving the bottom-line.