Software Helps Dental Students Hone Communication Skills

Nov. 1, 2002
CAESY Education Systems, Inc., donates tools that help improve patient and doctor relations.

The Medical College of Georgia has obtained software to help dental students forge dentist-patient relationships marked by open communication, mutual respect and, ultimately, smiles all around.

CAESY Education Systems Inc. offers interactive patient education programs for use in the dental practice, as well as online communication tools and content, helping dentists promote the importance of dental health. The company, based in Vancouver, Wash., recently donated software to MCG to help dental students not only refine their skills, but communicate the importance of those skills to future patients.

"We provide the products and services that dentists need to increase patients' dental IQ, reduce stress, improve communication, streamline practice operations and boost case acceptance," explains CAESY founder Bob Rondeau, a dentist and entrepreneur, on his company's Web site ( The software uses graphics and other eye-catching visual elements to help patients understand the importance of good oral hygiene and the procedures their dentist recommends. "Most people are visual learners," writes Dr. Rondeau. "Yet dentists typically treated their patients as if they were auditory learners, verbally explaining complicated procedures and options." He believes educated patients "are satisfied patients who make better dental care decisions."

MCG is installing the software on its students' computers, hoping the information will reinforce not only the skills and concepts they learn in dental school, but the importance of good communication and well-informed patients.

"Clear communication with our patients is the cornerstone of partnerships with our patients," said Dr. Robert W. Comer, associate dean for patient services in the MCG School of Dentistry. "Our goal is to assure that each patient is well-informed of the service recommended, the value of potential options for care and the preventive options available for long-term success. CAESY provides us with an outstanding animated visual library to improve patients' understanding. Usually within 30 seconds, patients understand the technique, the reason for care and the expected outcome."

Dr. Edna Pashley, associate professor of oral diagnosis/patient services and pediatric dentistry at MCG, reviews each case presentation with students and patients. Both groups benefit tremendously from the software, she said.

Jennifer McNeill, director of patient services at the MCG School of Dentistry, concurs. "Patients consistently ask 'how' or 'why' regarding various dental procedures," she said. "CAESY offers explanations in layman's terms. The system also helps orient and train ancillary staff on dental procedures."

The Medical College of Georgia is the state's health sciences university and includes the Schools of Allied Health Sciences, Dentistry, Graduate Studies, Medicine and Nursing, MCG Hospital and Clinics and the Children's Medical Center.