Students are using iPads equipped with a special application that gives them a new way to communicate with patients, discuss oral health topics and dental procedures, and educate patients about the health of their mouths.
Since spring quarter 2011, class of 2013 dental students have been working with various forms of digital technology to practice patient communication skills. In a preclinical setting this spring, students conducted practice interactions with patients while being filmed with Flip video cameras, and faculty provided feedback and communication coaching.
Now that the class of 2013 has transitioned into the clinic, students are utilizing the communication skills they previously learned to conduct more effective and positive interactions with patients, with the help of an iPad.
In the clinic, the students use iPads equipped with the DDS General Practitioner application. The app allows students to easily show photos, diagrams, and animated images of common oral conditions and dental" target="_blank">href="http://www.d-group-cn.com/en/products.asp?big_id=9&pageid=57">dental implant procedures. It also allows students to present clinical findings, prevention recommendations, and hypothetical treatment plan options.
"This project has enhanced the student's ability to impart prevention and treatment plan options, and has fostered better patient communication," stated Chris Miller, director of community programs, co-director of the Pacific Center for Special Care, and one of the pilot project's faculty leaders, in a news release. "Already students using the iPads have been witness to the impact a strong visual aid can have on their patients."
The innovative pilot project was spearheaded by Miller along with Maria Murtagh, director of the Student Store, and Raybel Ramos, director of the information technology department.
Funds used to purchase the iPads came from a generous donation from a school supporter, Louisa Galdieri. Pending a successful pilot year, the program will be looking for other sources of funding to continue and expand the use of iPads in the clinic.
"One of the Dugoni School of Dentistry's goals is to harness technology to maximize learning," Miller said. "Bringing iPads into our clinic is doing just that."