Maestros of dental care

Alumni develop extraordinary clinical software

After graduating from Dental School at the UT Health Science Center in 1979, Tom Cockerell Jr., D.D.S., established his practice in 1980. Eventually his experiences providing dental care to medically compromised patients led to his conception of “Dental Symphony” software.

Dental Symphony is a set of Internet-based software modules that dentists use alongside their existing practice management applications. The ePatient Module is one of five modules and aids in moving patients into care. The application enables patient assessment as it is designed to answer questions that dentists confront in the clinic.

Dr. Cockerell is the primary designer of Dental Symphony and serves as the moderator for its nationally renowned clinical team. A key member of the team is David Brown, D.D.S., who is one of Dr. Cockerell’s fellow Dental School graduates of the class of 1979. Dr. Brown practices in Bedford, Texas, as a general dentist focusing on implant prosthetics and complex rehabilitations.

“Dentists have a lot of clinical science to keep up with, so with that in mind, the system was designed to make even the most difficult patient management easier,” Dr. Cockerell said. “The goal of the team was to think for the dentist regarding what they want to know about any disease or pharmacology profile, and provide the answers even before the patient arrives at the office.”

Through a link on the dental practice website, the module registers patients and develops medical histories using follow-up questions. The responses induce specially created summarized medical information, which attaches to the submitted information and can be immediately used by the staff. The profile triggers alerts for medical risks. Pertinent drug descriptions and interaction warnings are also given.

“We chose the name Dental Symphony because we wanted to suggest something extraordinary,” Dr. Cockerell said. “Great orchestras adhere to rules and note structure to produce transcending experiences. Such transcendence might not be realistic for a clinical software application, but why not aim for it anyway? That’s where we started and keep in front of us even now.”

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