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Patient care mobile app brings high-tech/high-touch to emergency dentistry

March 10, 2011
Dr. Alan Stein’s son, Michael, developed a mobile app that responds to every type of dental emergency. Patients can now have access to their dental office after hours, and can define their dental problem as they feed their specific information to their doctor’s office in real time.
Alan Stein, DDS, like many of today’s dentists, worries about the needs of his patients even when he’s not in the office. As a doctor who has utilized the latest technology throughout his 30-plus years in private general dentistry, Dr. Stein began looking for a form of technology that could help his office bridge the gap in communications for patient emergencies during the time that his office was closed. For that, he turned to his son, Michael, whose business uses online technology to increase companies’ visibility and marketing efforts.Michael extensively researched existing technology, but was unable to find any technological solutions that applied specifically to the field of dentistry. Over the next year, he and his team of software programmers built a brand new mobile phone application, which acts as a go-between in a dental emergency for both the patient and the doctor. Befittingly named Dental Anywhere™, the mobile app responds to every type of dental emergency. It allows patients to effortlessly define what issue they are experiencing while feeding their specific information to their doctor’s office in real time. “We identified the main issue for a patient as being able to connect with their dentist at the time of an emergency,” says Michael. “With the trend in society moving toward more connectedness, we looked for ways to improve dental office communications to embrace this trend and add a new level of patient care.” Commenting on the dental industry as a whole, he said: “Historically, when the office was closed and patients had an emergency, they might get a callback within a few hours after leaving a message on an answering machine or with a live operator. Now, with the touch of a button, they can access many avenues of communication that all work together to give a level of emergency care patients have never experienced before.”Dr. Stein immediately implemented his son’s new technology into his practice, and without surprise, it has been well received by the office and his patients. Patients become aware of the added service through office signage and word-of-mouth. Dr. Stein and staff often suggest that patients with smartphones download the mobile app to input new appointment dates, retrieve treatment notes, and have access to the 24/7 Pain Management Center. The sense of security patients receive by having this mobile app is unmatched. Now, dental practices across the nation are subscribing to it and offering it to their patients as another level of superior patient care. Dental Anywhere™ is a patient contact and communication app that works on BlackBerrys, iPhones, and Android phones, providing 24/7 emergency communications. Whenever and wherever patients have a question, concern, or emergency, they can utilize the app’s Pain Management Center, which displays a graphic illustration of the mouth. After selecting the tooth or teeth that are of concern, patient are prompted to select from a list of common problems what they are experiencing as well as their level of discomfort. Once a selection is made, the app responds with immediate, appropriate care instructions. “This is one of the most helpful app modules,” states Dr. Stein. “Patients receive immediate help at the office, and I am concurrently alerted to their problem. Once we receive the information, patients get the assistance they need without wasting time.”To take it one step further, patients who have downloaded the mobile app can utilize the Pain Management Center for loved ones, even if they are not patients of Dr. Stein’s. In the event of any dental emergency situation with family or a friend, patients can access helpful information. If immediate in-office attention is needed, the mobile app will instantly notify the dental office with the contact information and emergency details of the individual requiring attention. Beyond the obvious benefits to his patients, Dr. Stein says the app provides outstanding value to his office by acting as a prescreening device that tracks, identifies, assesses, and delivers crucial information to his office. With people relying more and more on their mobile devices, patients no longer have to sit in front of a computer or make a phone call to the office with the Dental Anywhere™ mobile application. It saves the patient time and helps the office achieve new levels of efficiency. Patients not only can use the app for emergency situations, but they can also make requests for an appointment, get directions to the office, and more. As Dr. Stein says, “We have found Dental Anywhere™ mobile app has enhanced our ability to provide convenience, comfort, and care. I know getting patients and the ones they care about the treatment they need at the time of incidence is a huge concern, and it can be very scary. I’m glad we found a solution for this problem.”