Invention and Creativity


After having spent several days on call while my dental practice is shut down, I came to realize that our current call system was not ideal for a long-term office closure.

  • The parent leaves a message that is then forwarded to the doctor.
  • The doctor calls the parent back.
  • If a photo is necessary, you need to wait for the parent to text it, or maybe even hang up and call back after the photo is sent.
  • If a prescription is needed, there is another wait while the parent locates the phone number for the pharmacy that they prefer.

All of this is very inefficient and time consuming, especially when there are numerous calls coming in.

In an attempt to make our on call protocol better, I spent time over the past couple days using a service called FormStack to create an electronic form that parents can link to from our practice website. The form collects all pertinent information and sends it directly to the doctor on call.

Our new triage form allows the parents to:

  • enter the patient information
  • enter the parent contact information
  • upload some photos of their dental concern, and
  • designate their preferred pharmacy  and phone number

With this form, we now have most, if not all, of the information  prior to returning the parents call.  Because the information is saved as a PDF, we can import the images into the patient chart to easily document the emergency.

I learned a lot while doing this project.  I learned how to use FormStack.  I learned how to send a PDF and photos as a text to the different phone services that our doctors use.  Verizon, AT&T, Google Fi and Sprint all have different  ways to send information as a text.  And, the way to do this varies depending upon what is being sent.

To help explain how the system works, I even created a short video. In making this video, I learned how to import music into MS Powerpoint, how to setup custom timing of the transitions between images, and how to make a video out of a Powerpoint presentation.

Necessity and Creativity certainly put to work.

If you go to our office website to check it out, please DO NOT submit anything – the other doctors on call will not be happy!!


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