BACKGROUND: Information technology, or IT, devices and applications for dental practice have multiplied tremendously during the last two decades. While many of these innovations can bring significant benefits to clinical practice, integrating them into a smooth working environment is a significant challenge. METHODS: The author reviewed the level of integration of different IT-related products for dental practice and analyzed the consequences for work flow and ergonomics. He identified practical examples for different levels of integration among dental technology products. RESULTS: The integration of hardware devices and software applications in the dental care environment leaves much to be desired. Practitioners are engaged in a constant struggle to keep their "technology parks" working smoothly. Four levels of integration exist: hardware-hardware, hardware-software, software-software and task-oriented information integration. While there are many examples for the successful integration of hardware devices, products tend to be less integrated in other areas. Task-oriented information integration is a vision that, in general, has not been realized. CONCLUSIONS: Integration is crucial to the efficient and effective functioning of the dental office. However, practitioners cannot do much when industry does not integrate its products sufficiently. The industry, therefore, should adopt user-centered design principles, and its designers should work together to improve the integration of products from different vendors.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Journal of the American Dental Association (1939)|
|State||Published - Oct 2004|
ASJC Scopus subject areas