"Do you have a phone charger?"
A small request but it truly was a great idea. I know some offices offer complimentary Wi-Fi to their patients when they are relaxing in the reception area. We offer several different charging cords to charge their phones and devices while they are in the treatment room.
The best part: The phones are charged in a secure area of the business office, and they are not ringing away in the operatory.
Most of us have mobile phones and many of us tend to use up our battery power during the day. Patients are the same. I have had charging cords in my office for many years. I bought one for my assistant, since she had a different phone. We also have cords available that fit tablets. Therefore, the idea of offering it to patients was easy.
In-office charging is a great way to offer a little something different. We are "giving something away" that may be a lifesaver for some. Walking through an airport recently, I noticed charging stations available for airport patrons. The cost of $3.00 for a charge seemed to be a bit high, but when you are at 1% of power and you have a four-hour flight, it is a minimal price to pay for the battery boost.
I also like the idea of having phones out of the operatory or treatment room. We need to focus on so many different things during treatment that the random dog barking or duck quacking ring does become distracting.
Maybe it is generational, and the some practitioners do not "hear" the phone interruptions anymore, but it is annoying to this practitioner. It is not only the phone ringing that may be an issue. It is patients who want/need/have to see who it is, and they sometimes respond. We are all working on schedules and to take time out of their professional appointment for a business call (or a lunch date reschedule) potentially affects both the patient in the chair and the next patient. Not to mention, the awkwardness of stopping the procedure at an inopportune point in time. Additionally, the charging station away from the treatment room eliminates issues of infection control and unwanted cords.
For the random patients who does not want their phone "out of sight," we offered a service and they declined. It was a nice thought. Their phone will remain with a dying battery.
Many sites and stores offer inexpensive charging cords at a variety of prices. This is not an expensive addition to your repertoire. Who knows? When you forget to charge your phone or tablet, you will have the appropriate cord available and will not have to wait until you are back home. A win-win. Happy charging!
Sheri B. Doniger, DDS, practices clinical dentistry in Lincolnwood, IL. She is currently vice president and president-elect of the American Association of Women Dentists and editor of the American Association of Women Dentists "Chronicle" newsletter. She has served as an educator in several dental and dental hygiene programs, has been a consultant for a major dental benefits company, and has written for several dental publications. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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