Utilizes Latest Tech Tools
For Patient Treatment, and Enjoyment (Page 2)
Of course, the computer infrastructure is not only about communication, engagement or entertainment – strengths normally associated with the Mac.
At the heart of Planète Ortho’s complex workflow is a Mac-based application called topsOrtho, from tops Software.
The tops system helps Dr. Fronenberg’s staff manage all patient files, including medical history and treatment records, as well as any imaging related to the patients’ condition. The system also supports complete office scheduling and clinic management functionality, with complete patient billing, appointment and documentation tools.
It also has modules for managing employee’s hours of work, calculating staff salary and deductions as well as making direct payment into a staff member’s chosen bank. In addition, the Macs are used in an administrative capacity to create automated reporting and referral letters.
“tops” has been described as the near perfect software for the industry – it should be, as it was developed specifically for the Mac by Dr. Mark Sanchez, a practising orthodontist.
Not only does the program provide comprehensive clinical and treatment tools, and powerful administrative features, it also has its own mobile app – so that users like Dr Fronenberg can access important patient files or office records remotely and securely, whether at home or on the road, using their iPhone and/or iPad.
Today, tops is the foundation of his practice – but Dr. Fronenberg still recalls ‘the switch’ and the move to tops from a Windows-based system the clinic used about five years ago.
That old system presented him with major issues. The clinic experienced major downtime that affected its ability to access patient records and therefore properly manage patient care, he recalls.
When it came time to switching his practice over to a new platform, he decided to look for a Mac based solution because of the reliability and ease of use of OS X he had experienced as a home-based user.
“When I first announced to the staff that we would be switching, they were not thrilled,” he recalls. “People are reluctant to have change thrust upon them in any situation, but I was convinced the new system would be a big advantage. I had staff begging and pleading, ‘Please don’t switch! We know what we are doing now, we are so comfortable.’
“But I made the purchase and we had the trainers come up. I did say to my staff that we would run both systems concurrently in the beginning, so they could use the old system they knew, but also become proficient with entering in the data on the new system.”
“Even so, as it is with many of us, it’s tough to make that break if the old ways are still at hand. So, one Thanksgiving weekend, I told the staff ‘Enjoy your holiday, but when you come back on Tuesday, we will be going live with the new system!’”
He admits he was “nervous” and the staff was “horrified” at the prospect.
“But,” he says plainly, “by the end of the day, they all saw the benefits! Just in one day they could see certain steps were faster, easier and more reliable.”
As just one example, his office manager describes seeing a 12:1 improvement in the time it took to generate a basic patient care report and referral back to the patient’s GP or dentist. That’s twelve such reports completed using the Mac system in the time it used to take someone on a PC system to complete just one!
The clinic’s treatment coordinator, who first welcomes patients to the office when they arrive, is also responsible for generating the patient appointment and confirmation letters. Such correspondence includes both new clinical information and oft-repeated patient information, so a good system would automatically insert core data with re-typing. With tops ten such letters can be generated in one hour – before, just one letter took that much time!
“Now, they didn’t master the system in just one day, but here’s one indication of just how well they all like it now - most of them have switched to a Mac at home, too!”
Whether the switch takes place at home or in the office, Dr. Fronenberg is quick to acknowledge he could not do it alone. He speaks highly of the professional support and advice offered by Apple’s network of dealers and value-added resellers.
Planète Ortho worked closely with the staff at one of Apple’s retail outlets in Montreal, the Boutique iStore on Victoria Avenue, and especially with company president Mike Battat.
“Mike’s team installed our network, configured our computers and helped prepare us all for when the tops trainers came on site. They worked together very well to install and configure the new tops software, and to ensure the migration of important clinic data and patient files was done properly,” Dr. Fronenberg recalls.
“When we did the switch, Mike is the one who set us up – Mike and his entire team are all first class. We felt much better with them around. iStore is still the front line of support for us, if we ever need it, so we never feel we are lost, or out on our own. Having them around has been great for our confidence and comfort level.”
It’s comfortable not just for the doctor and staff - even the patients and visitors can get ‘switching’ help at the clinic.
“Since (our install was completed), well, I can’t tell you how many other people we have converted to Apple. People come in to our clinic, they see how we operate, they hear how much we love our system, because we talk Mac here all the time! We are creating ‘switchers’ all the time!”
That holds true at the clinic, and across the industry – among his peers, Dr. Fronenberg is a well-known and well-respected advocate for integrating better technologies into the orthodontic sector. He has personally convinced several of his colleagues to purchase Mac-based systems for their own practices.
An occasional speaker and regular attendee at orthodontic conferences and specialist retreats, Dr Fronenberg is a self-described advocate for technology and the productivity gains it brings, and the ease with which the Apple platform has been integrated into his office.
“One thing I must say about Louis,” notes his service provider Mike Battat, “is that he is one of the most respected doctors in his industry. You get that feeling when you walk a trade show floor with him, he cannot walk 10 feet without being stopped, or someone saying ‘Hello’. That is an indication of how important it is for someone like Dr Fronenberg, to adopt and fully utilize technology, and what impact it may have on the rest of his industry.”
Apple Products Used
- One Mac Pro and 30” display in the main treatment room
- Two Xserves – one for the Tops application, the other for managing over 30,000 digital images
- Seven exam rooms with 20” iMacs in each, plus another six iMacs throughout the clinic for administration
- MacBook Pro for the doctor’s own use
- iWork for presentations, marketing brochure creation and inventory control sheet management
- iPhoto for preliminary patient photo management prior to uploading to the server
- Apple Remote Desktop
Other hardware/software being used
- iCAT Cone Imaging Scanner
- Damon System