The University of Louisville School of Dentistry (ULSD) stands as a national leader in dental education and holds a reputation for clinical excellence that reaches back to the 1800s. Nearly 100,000 patient visits occur on an annual basis, with dental care services ranging from preventative cleanings to complex restorations.
For Christopher Morgan, director of Dental Informatics and the person who oversees the technology operations at the school, empowering faculty, staff, and students is no small task—it takes a team of professionals to support over 1,000 computer terminals. Beyond information technology, new and ever-changing methods within dental education involve the business, operational and patient care aspects of a very large, multi-disciplined group dental practice.
“With over 250 fully-functioning dental operatories that see patients on a daily basis across five buildings, it is important all operational aspects, such as clinic supply, mechanical engineering and technology operations, are in top gear. Dental care providers expect dependable access to clinical resources and a quick response when a problem occurs, which means efficient communication between support personnel is essential,” says Morgan.
That’s why the technology, engineering, and clinic supply teams at ULSD have relied on two-way radio communications for over 10 years. When the time arrived to expand radio communications, in support of greater security and emergency preparedness efforts, it was determined the mixed digital and analog two-repeater conventional system needed an upgrade.
ERS-OCI is a technology services company with over 65 years experience in wireless voice, data and video solutions. They recommended MOTOTRBO Capacity Plus—a scalable, single-site digital trunking solution, to provide ample expansion opportunity for ULSD.
The installed system consists of two Motorola SLR5700 repeaters, which provide four simultaneous talk paths for business-critical communications using a fleet of Motorola SL7550e and Motorola SL300 radio terminals.
With an innovative spirit, Morgan seeks to embed cutting-edge, prominent technology into dental education—including a communications system. “For our radio system, my goal is to extend its capability beyond voice and into data,” declares Morgan.
For ULSD, the SMC Gateway provided the needed integration between the new radio system and operational activities. Morgan recalls “Seeing the application builder capability of the SMC Gateway, I immediately began to think of possible workflows to benefit our organization.”
Today, SMC Gateway and two connected Motorola XPR5550e control station radios support a number of operational aspects of ULSD both within the Dental Informatics team and across the school. For Dental Informatics, a “Dispatch” workflow provides a website portal to send individual and group text messages, and monitor radio status. Across the school, the SMC Gateway monitors National Weather Service (NWS) Public Alerts and sends voice-based sound file messages to all radios upon a severe weather watch or warning.
“We even have workflows that are independent of our radio system,” continues Morgan, as he explains how the SMC Gateway is utilized at ULSD. “I immediately wondered if the SMC Gateway could integrate with our service work order system and provide dashboard information and it could.” Dental Informatics has ULSD’s SMC Gateway polling their SQL-based ticketing system to provide statistics, such as the number of opened work orders and overdue responses.
The SMC Gateway even alerts the team upon receipt of a high-priority work order by displaying a message on a 4U2SEE LED display. Further, faculty can alert Dental Informatics upon an audio/video issue in any of its classrooms using a web-based “Notify” workflow. Morgan concludes “The SMC Gateway provides a foundation for essentially endless operational workflows; I think of it as a Swiss Army Knife attached to our radio system.”