One of the best productivity tricks implemented in our office is the use of dual monitors. Computer programmers and designers have long advocated that dual monitors improve productivity by 20 to 40 percent.

A decade ago when use of computers became popular in dental offices, the front desk primarily used computer screens to perform single tasks like managing the appointment book. These days, there are numerous windows that staff members need to navigate in order to be effective.

Commonly used programs at a dental practice:
  • Patient appointment management

  • Patient charts

  • Family files

  • Multiple Internet browsers

  • Multiple email platforms

  • Office communication and messaging system


Usually all these are active open programs on a single monitor, with one brought into the forefront and others stacked behind. Often data from one program needs to be compared to information stored in another such as patient charts and ledgers.

Constantly minimizing or toggling between programs can be cumbersome and inefficient. Setting up dual monitors can make managing this information much easier.

Advantages:
  • Increased space allows for convenient sizing of the open windows

  • Less time wasted from toggling between programs

  • Reduced errors when transferring information from one screen to another

  • Improved convenience and comfort


 

Vivek Mehta DMD, FAGD, Visiting Faculty, Spear Education. Follow him on Twitter @Mehta_DMD.

Comments

Commenter's Profile Image Mike Weisbrod
September 8th, 2012
Very true! It is also very useful in a treatment conference room for discussing patient treatment options, like showing Invisalign clin-check computer simulation. Much more effective for staff, doctors, and patients!
Commenter's Profile Image Teresa Santos
June 10th, 2013
I have been using dual monitors at my office for close to a year now. I have to say it was the best investment ever, I also trying to convince the main man to get the same for the receptionist at my front desk. It definitely has helped manage multiple things at once and I definitely feel that even though I can multitask pretty well, this has helped me be even more productive.
Commenter's Profile Image Spencer
June 15th, 2013
You didn't mention this, but when setting up 2 monitors there is "dual desktop" where both screens show the same thing, and there is "extended desktop" which enlarges the real estate of the desktop. I assume you find advantages with the "extended desktop". In the ops, my assistant has a laptop behind the pt. and I have a laptop on my side of the chair. There is a monitor in front of the patient, connected to my laptop and I use "extended desktop" to drag things over to the patient's monitor for xray review, picture review, pt. education, or to entertain w/movies, concerts, etc during treatment. Whatever is on the patient's monitor is separate from what I see on my laptop, so xrays, etc are available to me during the appointment while the patient is being entertained/distracted.
Commenter's Profile Image Vivek Mehta
June 15th, 2013
Spencer: You make a great point. As you describe, in most cases extended desktop mode would be most appropriate. Especially so for the front desk team. I appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences with the readers.