Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Digital dental image workflow suggestions....

So, you've bought a camera, gotten some training and have some awesome (hopefully) images to show for your effort. What should you do with them? This is one of the most common questions that my students have asked.

Well, you do have several options...

You could simply upload them to your practice management software and show them there. This isn't one of my preferred options. There are a lot of people out there (mostly sales reps) who will try to convince you that storing your images in proprietary software is a great idea. Although consolidation is a nice concept, there are a couple of reasons why I prefer to to keep my images out of my practice management software.

First of all, I rarely look at my images when I am in the treatment room. I use them primarily when I treatment plan and present treatment options. I don't feel that I need them hooked up to every computer. By using windows explorer (simple, free database management software on every PC) I can easily catalogue all of my images in the treatment room where I want to view and present my images. You can easily create a shortcut to that path on any computer so that the images could be seen on any computer.

Additionally, I just went through a software conversion involving two of the largest practice management software companies in the US. Wanna guess what didn't go over in the conversion? Yep, you got it right; the images. By keeping them outside your management software, you retain considerably more control over them.

Once I have catalogued the images, I use Adobe Photoshop (either "full" or "elements" versions work fine) to flip, rotate, crop, sharpen, morph and re-size my images. It's amazingly powerful and productive software that is a "must have" for the dental office.

Last, but certainly not least, I import all of my images into a presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint and add annotation, lines, arrows, music and effects and present it to the patients for the most powerful non confrontational case presentation you will ever see.

If the aforementioned ideas seem daunting, please don't be turned off. Once you learn how to do everything mentioned above, the entire workflow can be finished for an entire case by an assistant in less than 10 minutes.

Once you start playing around with a digital image workflow, you'll be thrilled as you see your case acceptance go "through the roof" and help a whole lot more patients get healthy.

Have Fun!!!

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