Following a reception at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art during the ADA Annual Session, several hundred attendees were escorted to a private theater to view a demonstration of the new DEXIS Imaging Suite.
What they didn't know was the surprise that awaited them at the end of the evening.
In this case it was DEXIS go, an iPad app designed to integrate the DEXIS Imaging Suite with the case presentation capabilities of the iPad. But it's not your typical app, according to George Cocco, advanced development engineer, who was instrumental in the design and development of DEXIS go.
“We didn't want to make just ‘an’ iPad app — we wanted to make a great app.”
— George Cocco, DEXIS
"We didn't want to make just 'an' iPad app -- we wanted to make a great app," he told DrBicuspid.com. "When we thought about what could we do to enhance the user experience, we ended up focusing on image presentation. It is a critical piece of the workflow, where the doctor and patient come together. And we wanted to improve that."
DEXIS go is designed to enhance patient communication and case acceptance. It enables DEXIS Imaging Suite users to show patient images on the iPad or on larger screens via currently available Apple AirPlay technology. Images can be zoomed and enhanced, and the new display mode turns the iPad into a digital lightbox. Before and after photographs can be displayed, along with intra- and extraoral digital x-rays. DEXIS go supports all four device orientations, and interacting with the images is intuitive for anyone who has used an iPad or iPhone -- and hopefully for those who haven't.
"With DEXIS go, we are not a keyboard and mouse app anymore," Cocco said. "We now have a multitouch interface, so it is really easy to go through and look at a series of images. In full-screen mode, you can swipe through images left to right."
With DEXIS go, images can be zoomed and enhanced, and the new display mode turns the iPad into a digital lightbox. Image courtesy of DEXIS.
In practice, DEXIS go connects to the DEXIS Imaging Suite through the practice's Wi-Fi network. Once connected, the doctor can see all open patients on that network -- but only those patients who have studies open in DEXIS in the office at that time, Cocco noted.
"We were conscious of the fact that space is limited, and we also want to support the use of entry-level iPads, so a patient's image data is going to expire," he said. "There are configurable options for how long it will stay on the iPad, but it is not intended to stay on there for a lifetime."
While DEXIS go was originally designed for the retina display iPad, it can also be used on the new iPad mini, according to John Steck, director of product management for DEXIS.
Shift to touchscreen
Simple as it might seem on the surface, integrating a Windows-based imaging platform with an Apple-based consumer product posed a number of software development challenges, Cocco explained -- especially with the design team's emphasis on optimizing image and case presentation and maintaining the DEXIS feel despite the shift from a Windows-based keyboard and mouse platform to an Apple-based touchscreen.
A logical starting point was the DEXIS overview quadrant screen, Cocco explained.
"We felt it was made in some ways for the iPad, so we created a brand new user interface that still feels like DEXIS," he said. "We wanted to strike a balance between what DEXIS users are familiar with but also what their expectations are when they pick up the iPad."
Another key design goal was to incorporate simplicity and elegance in the layout of the interface, the interactions, and the visual elements, Cocco noted.
"We had to reflect the DEXIS experience but match up with what the iPad offers, with easy-to-use gestures for navigating through images," he explained. "All interactions should feel intuitive the first time users pick it up. We believe the interface should look great but not draw attention to itself, not be too showy."
As much as Cocco likes the quadrant interface, DEXIS go really shines in full-screen mode, he added.
"This is where it helps the doctor communicate with the patient because it breaks down the wall," he said. "You are holding the image in your hand, and when you go to the full-screen mode the interface disappears. The word I've heard used about the iPad experience, when apps do it right, is 'immersive' -- the tablet becomes the content you are interacting with."
DEXIS go will be available for download free of charge beginning in January 2013.
"We are really focused on ensuring that our customer experience is second to none," Steck said. "The iTunes team reviews products, and we are in the final stage of that now. We wanted to make sure that DEXIS go is elegant and up to the DEXIS standards."
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