Problems with Dental Patients Texting In-Chair

A survey from the Chicago Dental Society has some pretty interesting stats on exactly how likely patients are to send text messages or take cell phone calls while in the dentists' chair.The survey was taken from a sample of their Facebook fans. Not exactly a scientific sampling, but interesting nonetheless.It found that 46 percent of dentists say in-chair messaging hampers their ability to provide care.I have to admit, during my last visit to my dentist, I pulled out my iPhone to catch up on work emails while she was looking at my x-rays, but I shut it down and opened the 'ol chompers back up nice and wide once she came back in the room.Being a "digital nomad" to the core and always connected, I can empathize with the desire to be reachable at any moment of the day, but is nothing safe from the impact of our connected lives? It still blows my mind how social norms can change so fast.The article also mentions dentists attempting (ineffectively) to enforce no-texting policies in the office. Is this an issue at your practice?What have you done to try and resolve it? Has it worked?
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  • Certainly, the phones do ring in the operatory on occasion. The majority of patients ignore the calls and apologize for the distraction. If they can be productive and check/respond to emails while I am not in the room (perhaps they are waiting for me to come in), I do not mind. I guess it is all part of living in the digital world!
  • I have signs in all rooms of my office requesting that patients shut off their cell phones as "they may interfere with our sensitive electronic equipment" Some respect the signs, some ignore them.
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