A picture is worth a thousand words. Sorry for the cliché, but when we are talking about communication between dentists and patients, it is absolutely essential to have good quality photographs. Good communication builds trust and leads to acceptance of treatment plans, which leads to increased production. With photos, we are able to more fully explain and justify the need for treatment. In an increasingly skeptical world, full arch occlusal photos have become a necessity in building the trust needed for patients to accept large and even relatively small treatment plans. Diagnostic Online Photo Sharing (DOPS) modernized dentist’s ability to use photos to communicate with patients.
I graduated from Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas ten years ago. I began practice with my dad who had already completed the LVI curriculum and had a vibrant Neuro-muscular and high-end cosmetic practice. Photos were a vital part of our office protocol from day one for me. I completed the LVI Core Curriculum and became and LVI Fellow, and through that process, my commitment to investing in patient photos solidified.
Despite my long-standing commitment to patient photos, before DOPS, I’ll be the first to admit our office consistently failed to get the images we wanted and needed. In a fast-paced office, when things get pumping, the photos get sacrificed first. I’m committed to taking pictures – I want to take pictures. But, at the end of the day, if I’m totally honest, many times we have dropped the ball in either taking patient photos or in cataloguing and storing them properly. It’s no wonder that patient photos have always posed a challenge. Expensive cameras are required. It takes time and precious team resources to secure excellent images, download them, catalogue them, and securely store them. Patient photos are a powerful tool, but can be a hassle and a major slow-down for a fast-paced office.
DOPS was born out of necessity. It was one of those days at the office. One of my DSLR cameras was on the fritz and our other one was being used in another operatory. Out of expediency, I ended up using my iPhone to take a patient photo. I sent it to my iPad and handed it to my patient. She immediately zoomed in on her unsightly amalgam restorations that were breaking down. She recognized the issue on her own and demanded treatment.
I was hooked and determined that using phones and tables like this would become part of our practice. Patients understand phone and tablet technology. They know how to use it. They trust it. It’s comfortable for them. DOPS makes this possible.
DOPS turns the iPhone into a HIPAA-compliant camera and storage system. Go to the App Store, download the DOPS App on your iPhone, sign up your office, and create a password. Add additional users from our website, dopsapp.com so everyone in your office with an iPhone can begin using DOPS with your own unique password. A DOPS account includes an unlimited number of devices, so every team member who happens to have their own personal iPhone now has a high-resolution camera literally in their pocket. What an opportunity for dental offices to tap into!
DOPS has a fingerprint log-in for users to securely and quickly access the account from an iPhone. Open DOPS, add the patient’s name, and the camera will pull up. DOPS photos are never collected by the phone’s camera or picture storage. They bypass that and are immediately transferred to the DOPS HIPAA-secure storage. The photos are then available from not only the iPhone that took them, but any device accessing that office’s DOPS account.
Patient photos are Personal Health Information (PHI) under HIPAA, so we all have a duty to provide the necessary security for them. DOPS is HIPAA-compliant, and securely transfers and stores patient photos. The photos are stored by patient name, automatically tagged with the date, and, if selected by the user, the type of picture. This eliminates any administrative work associated with the photos.
All you need is an intra-oral occlusal mirror and an iPhone to get an excellent full arch photo of each patient using DOPS. Show the patient the image on an iPad or even just the phone. It’s amazing how much more trust the patients have in these photos than in a single tooth photo taken by an intra-oral camera.
First, they are much more comfortable taking a photo with a phone because it’s familiar to them. They understand how it works; they trust it. Intraoral cameras are more out of the patient’s comfort zone, and you have to explain to them which tooth they are looking at. With a full arch photo on an iPad, they know what looks bad and needs treatment without you having to say a word or explain a thing. They can orient the picture to their mouth and know exactly what tooth they are seeing. Not only that, but they immediately zoom in and enlarge problematic or unsightly areas. It allows them to see their own problems and ask for treatment.
Communication with patients is perhaps the heart of a dental office, but successful cases result from clear communication with labs. DOPS has a Lab Portal for dentists to easily communicate with labs on cases in a HIPAA-compliant way. Dentists simply select their lab from the Lab Portal drop-down menu and share photos. No more overnight mailing of printed photos. No more expensive HIPAA-compliant email accounts. No more sending pictures over regular email, making dentists vulnerable to the consequences of violating HIPAA.
All in all, DOPS increases an office’s capacity to capture, store, and share excellent patient photos that are vital to a successful practice. The image quality is excellent, and it is much easier for the patient to relate and interact with photos on a tablet or phone than on a computer screen. DOPS simplifies patient photos and transforms items you already have in your office into vehicles that drive office production and increase patient satisfaction.
With DOPS, our office is finally getting the patient photos we need no matter how busy the day becomes. Best of all, it has allowed us to increase our bread and butter crown and bridge cases because patient see and understand what’s going on in their mouth.