Incorporating Tablet Kiosks for Your Patients

By Jeremy M. Albert, DMD, MS

As a self-proclaimed technology addict, I would like to proudly say that I own three iPads.  Unfortunately my 3 daughters (ages 10, 6, and 3) are always using them way more than I am playing games, watching videos, and talking with an animated giraffe named Gina.  My point is, tablets like the iPad are thoroughly integrated into mainstream culture and entertainment.   To today’s youth, interaction with them is second nature and the preferred method of computing, gaming and entertainment.  Keyboard and mouse?  Video game console and controller?  Portable DVD player?  No thanks, we’ll take our multi-touch screen and thin tablet design.
Now, thanks to the low price point of tablets (whether they be iPads, Google Nexus, Kindle Fire, Microsoft Surface etc.) and vendors that supply commercial grade cases and wall mounts that are available to purchase online, your tablet of choice can become a patient entertainment mecca for around $500 per set up.   Video games, educational activities, movies and cartoons are all at young people’s fingertips to keep them occupied while they wait for their orthodontic appointment or for their sibling to get their braces adjusted.   It used to be that to get a durable patient entertainment system wall-mounted in place, you could easily expect to spend $3000-5000 dollars for one set-up that only came with one game included.   Now you could set-up an iPad room on that budget and be the talk of the town as the trendy, fun orthodontist.
Making your own tablet kiosk starts with getting a sturdy lockable case or ‘enclosure’ to protect your tablet.  Internet vendors abound to offer these products, such as TabletEnclosures.com, NClosures.com, or ArchelonEnclosures.com just to name a few.   Just Google or Bing ‘tablet enclosures’ and check it out.   Then select a compatible wall-mount to attach it to, either one that is fixed horizontally or vertically, or a ball-socket type that allows free movement of the tablet for games that require movement to play.   With the massive amount of games in the iTunes App store and Android Market, you can stock an impressive amount of games on your tablet to entertain patients with their game type of choice (puzzle, action, sports, etc.)   Plus, most of these games cost less than $5 and can be installed on multiple machines!
Other than patient entertainment, tablet kiosks can be useful for other purposes too.   Most orthodontic imaging programs and patient education programs also have tablet versions of their products.   Mount one in your toothbrushing area to display videos on proper oral hygiene and decalcification risk.   Show a parent how an expander works.   With the ability to censor access to the tablet’s functions and limit internet access strictly to your practice’s website, tablets are a great way to safely provide a portal for patient entertainment.   Lastly, apps can help you gain Facebook and Twitter followers and provide easy to access spot for parents to leave Google or Yelp reviews for your practice (although Google can be touchy with reviews gained through kiosks—just FYI).
In summary, tablet kiosks offer an inexpensive and highly versatile way to incorporate technology into your practice and put it directly under the fingers of those tech-hungry patients in your practice.  With entertainment likes games and videos along with patient education opportunities, secured and wall-mounted tablets would make an excellent addition to your high-tech orthodontic practice.

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