Be app smart

01 June 2022
3 min read
Published:

Kate Scheer discusses the use of smartphones in practice.

In an age when people’s smartphones have become extensions of who we are, it’s almost impossible to imagine what a life without apps would be like. Indeed, estimates suggest that in 2019 there were 55.5m smartphone users in the UK. This number is forecast to rise even further by 2025, when it is believed that smartphone ownership will be at 64.9m – a significant margin of the UK population (which currently stands at 68.3m).

As you can see from these figures, smartphones are now an essential part of everyday life for the vast majority of people, and this makes sense for many reasons. Technology has made us more connected than ever before, and while we’ll undoubtedly not use every app on our devices, certain apps have become essential to our way of living.

The average user checks their smartphone at least 58 times a day. We use our phones for weekly shopping, buying clothes, banking, organising social events – basically, there’s an app for everything, and this has meant that people are glued to their screens more than ever before. What makes apps so useful is that they are incredibly convenient – by using an app you’re no longer tied to a desktop computer or the need to use a telephone, meaning that you can sort out your finances, add some food to your weekly shop or treat yourself to something new, with access to everything in the palm of your hand.

It’s not just life necessities that we use our phones for, and social media apps, games and other entertainment apps like Netflix are also incredibly popular. Most smartphone users are also social media users and these apps in particular account for why people check their smartphones so regularly. What makes social media so appealing is that it provides what could be described as ‘micro breaks’ for people during their day. Many people have a quick scroll between tasks as a way to take a moment for themselves while at work or when doing other tasks, and as these apps are so accessible, people can’t resist checking them regularly.

Taking the use of apps further
But what about dental specific apps that clinicians can factor into their professional lives? Many people associate smartphone apps with downtime or their personal lives, but there are plenty of applications for those who want to streamline the way they work or to help spread information as well.

If you go onto the app store on your phone, there are a number of dental-specific apps waiting to be downloaded. Many of these are information apps or games that have been designed to help patients to take better control over their oral health, but there are apps that can appeal to dental professionals, too.

First of all, many apps can help dental professionals to market their practices more efficiently. Whether this is by giving them the ability to schedule social media marketing or newsletter content, or by giving them the tools necessary to create eye-catching content for these channels in the first place. There are also file sharing apps, online community apps specifically for dental professionals and other useful resources that make the app store a useful place to visit for people in the industry.

Manufacturers have also started to develop apps for specific systems. For instance, many practice management solutions will now have an associated app so that clinicians can access patient files, business reports and other important information anytime, anywhere.

Certain systems such as sterilisers may have an associated app in order to streamline use, help with compliance and allow you more flexibility. For example, W&H has developed its own dedicated application – the W&H steri app. This gives clinicians the power to control and monitor the status and remotely control up to four W&H sterilisers (model dependent) in their practice, as well as scan and track dental instruments, produce intervention reports and automatically back up any records for better data protection.

The future is in the palm of your hand
With apps continuing to become a bigger part of daily life, it makes sense to see if you can implement this software into your daily life where possible. As the very nature of an app is to help streamline and simplify a task, downloading those associated with the systems you use in practice can help you to save time, take a more dynamic approach to aspects such as practice management or infection control and have better jurisdiction when it comes to managing your daily routine.

References available on request.

Kate Scheer is marketing executive for W&H