The market for smart watches and other wearable tech devices, or "wearables," is growing. In the dental industry, wearables and applications designed for them are offering doctors increased efficiency, the opportunity to increase production, ergonomic benefits, and more.
Chances are you know someone whose fitness tracker or smart watch is like an extra body part. (Maybe that's you.) Maybe you even gifted a GPS-trackable wallet, a fingerprint-locking briefcase, or a piece of Bluetooth-connected jewelry over the holidays.
The market for gadgets like these is surging. In fact, the International Data Corporation (IDC) just reported in December that the worldwide wearable device market is expected to reach a total of 111.1 million units shipped in 2016, up 44.4% from 2015. (1) And that figure is expected to climb to 214.6 million units by 2019. (1) Not surprisingly, the IDC predicts that smart watches will drive that growth. (1)
What you may not know is that wearable tech isn't being designed only for personal usage; wearables are being put to work, too. In some sectors, employers are providing employees with wearable devices—ranging from smart watches to uniforms embedded with LEDs, cameras, and microphones—as a means of improving performance and safety.
In the dental industry, wearables and applications designed for them are offering doctors increased efficiency, the opportunity to increase production, ergonomic benefits, and more.
Check out a few of our favorites!
Dentists, what do you do right before you see a patient—figure out his or her name, whether there are any pertinent medical issues, what you're about to do, and what you did last time? If so, you're killing your productivity. Likewise, if you frequently put your gloves on, begin a procedure, and then realize you need to pull up an x-ray, you're killing your productivity . . . You might want to stop that.
Simplifeye is designed to help redefine that workflow. Doctors who have been using it so far report having saved enough time to see four additional patients per day, on average. Currently integrated with the Apple Watch and Dentrix (with Android and Eaglesoft integration to come soon), Simplifeye takes the information the doctor needs—where to go next, what procedure to perform, and details about the patient—and puts it on his or her wrist. It also generates a list of patients, color-coded by procedure type, and notifies the doctor through a vibration of the watch as each patient checks in.
Using iBeacons, Simplifeye knows where the doctor is within the office and displays information from the app on the nearest monitor. Beginning this spring, it will take this feature a step further: Using voice commands, dentists will be able to pull up patient images, x-rays, and educational videos for display on office monitors.
PS: Yes, it's 100% HIPAA-compliant.
Epson Moverio BT-200 smart glasses with iDent eye-CAD Connect software
Dentists who are tired of craning their necks to look at computer monitors while taking digital impressions now have another option: Don some smart glasses to see the model and the patient at the same time.
Marketed by Patterson Companies Inc. and iDent and launched at CEREC 30 in September 2015, the Epson Moverio BT-200 smart glasses featuring iDent's eye-CAD Connect software enable dentists to view their 3-D digital models in a transparent, binocular display in real time through the use of microprojectors on each side of the lens. (2)
"Viewing a precise image display is indispensable to creating a quality scan and the Epson Moverio glasses deliver accurate and stable images with exceptional quality," said Daniel Vasquez, DDS, in a press release. "The Moverio smart glasses ultimately make me more efficient while increasing the precision of the scan and decreasing patient chair time."
In addition to reducing the likelihood of musculoskeletal injuries and decreasing chair time, the smart glasses also offer hands-free navigation, thanks to built-in sensors that track the wearer's head motions. (2) Yep, you dentists can keep your gloves to yourselves.
I'm guessing your idea of a good time doesn't involve wandering around the office searching for a colleague. The people at Pacific Computer Sciences LLC (PCS) probably guessed as much, too . . . because they developed DoctorMeow.
Designed to take the trouble out of locating staff in health-care offices, DoctorMeow is a paging and analytics software program that integrates with a variety of devices—including tablets, smartphones, computers, existing intercom systems, and for ideal efficiency, the Pebble Smartwatch. To send a page via DoctorMeow, the user selects the type of page (such as the procedure to be performed), the recipient, and the level of urgency. Pages can be delivered with visual, audio, or silent cues depending on the office's preferences, and receiving, acknowledging, or silencing a message doesn't require touching the device.
But paging isn't all it offers: With the current version of the software, the analytics-reporting module measures patient wait times, frequency of pages per staff member, chair usage, and more.
MORE INFO: doctormeow.com
As the market for wearable tech continues to grow, what do you think we'll see next? Let Erin know at [email protected]!
1. IDC forecasts worldwide shipments of wearables to surpass 200 million in 2019, driven by strong smartwatch growth [news release]. Framingham, MA: IDC; December 17, 2015. http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS40846515. Accessed December 17, 2015.
2. Patterson Companies and iDent announce solution for US dental community featuring Epson Moverio BT-200 smart glasses [news release]. Long Beach, CA: Epson America; September 15. 2015. http://news.epson.com/news/patterson-companies-and-ident-announce-solution-for-u-s-dental-community-featuring-epson-moverioR-bt-200-smart-glasses. Accessed December 17, 2015.