With so many dental practices in New York, you may find it difficult to stand out from the competition. Fortunately, you can differentiate your practice from the rest by using the right IT hardware to improve your workflow and provide better patient services.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss key IT hardware that your dental practice should invest in.
The number of computers you should start with will largely depend on the number of rooms or operatories in your clinic.
Front desk area
Your front desk staff needs at least one computer to check patients in and out, schedule appointments, and process payments. It's best to set up this workstation with dual monitors so your staff can see the appointments on one screen and have another application (e.g., billing software) open on the other screen.
Dentist consultation room
Each consultation room should have at least one computer. You can use these computers to keep track of patient files, schedule follow-up appointments, and send out referral letters. You can also use them to review a treatment plan with a patient before scheduling the operation.
Dental operatory room
You need only one computer per dental operatory room, but it's best to set it up with multiple screens:
- Behind the patient – for charting patient treatments, taking digital X-rays, and keeping track of lab results
- Facing the patient – for showing digital X-rays or other records to the patient
- On the ceiling (optional) – for displaying media to keep the patient entertained while they're undergoing dental treatment
If each dentist will have a private office that's separate from the consultation room, then each office should have a computer as well. You can use these computers for general medical tasks like reviewing case presentations.
Read also: 8 Marketing strategies to attract patients to your dental practice in today’s era
If you use any application or have files that are not cloud-based, then you'll greatly benefit from investing in a server. A server lets your team access apps and files from any computer that's connected to the company network. This makes it easy for your staff to share files and collaborate, even if they work in different areas of the clinic.
Applications that are best stored on a server include:
- Electronic health record system
- Dental practice management software
- Dental imaging software
- Financial accounting software
Network-attached storage (NAS) device
If all of your applications are cloud-based and you simply need a centralized file storage device, then you should consider a NAS device instead of a server. A NAS device is essentially a mini server that's designed for storing and sharing files. Users can access the NAS device simultaneously, making it ideal for storing X-rays and other patient records.
Every dental practice should have at least one printer for printing patient records, referral letters, insurance forms, and other documents.
If you're planning a marketing campaign, then you'll also need a printer for creating brochures, flyers, and other materials. If budget permits, invest in a laser printer, as it is faster and more reliable than an inkjet printer.
Router and switch
You’ll need to get a wireless router if you want to connect your devices to the internet via Wi-Fi. Wireless routers come with built-in antennas that broadcast the Wi-Fi signal throughout your dental clinic.
If you want to simultaneously connect multiple devices (e.g., workstations, printers, VoIP phones) to a router via an Ethernet cable, then you may need to purchase another networking device called a switch. This is because routers usually have just two to four Ethernet ports, while switches typically have 8, 16, 24, or even up to 52 ports. You can connect your devices to the switch, and then connect the switch to the router via an Ethernet cable.
Need help planning and setting up your dental practice’s IT infrastructure? You can turn to the IT experts of Healthy IT. We specialize in providing dental IT support and services for over 25 years. Book a FREE consultation with us today.