The New Dentist Blog

Guest post by Dawn Christodoulou, President/Owner of XLDent

I have to imagine that most every practice has a 2018 goal of growth. Now it’s time to start implementing your plans so changes can take hold and start producing results. Goals are a means to keep everyone motivated and pushing for excellence. Investing in new technology can certainly provide advantages that make you stand out from the crowd, and get new patients coming in your door. Current patients will take notice too, and feel confident that they made the right choice entrusting you with their family’s dental care.

Let’s first talk about recall. Maybe it’s not your strong suit, but it needs to be! Seventy-five percent of your revenue comes in through your hygienists, and getting people scheduled is the first major hurdle to making that happen. There are many ways to improve what you are already doing to reach patients, but perhaps you would rather this particular problem would solve itself? Automated patient communications are the answer to the time-consuming and challenging task of reactivating dormant patients and reminding scheduled ones to come in. Using a customizable combination of phone calls, emails, and texts, front desk staff can better utilize their time interacting with patients and focus on patient experience.

Many offices gain or lose staff after the holidays. Either way, the start of a fresh year is a chance to review standard operating procedures, especially if they haven’t been updated in a while. SOPs provide guidance to each member of your team, so they always know what part of the workflow is whose responsibility. Better to lay out practice expectations at the beginning, so that your new, or re-assigned, team member fits into your practice like a puzzle piece from the start.

Faster and mXLDent.Blog.1.21.18 (002)ore accurate payment processing, clearer insurance benefit coverage, and electronic insurance payments (EFT) are a few focus areas for those looking to streamline payer and insurance services. To maximize these options, integration of the service is a must. XLDent’s integrated ERA solution not only auto-populates the payment amount during the posting process, but also the contractual adjustments from Electronic Remittance Advice.

One of the best things to do when there is a slow-down and the winter doldrums set in is to retrain or “tune up” your team. Webinars are a great way to kick this off, but on-site and live web training are important options to consider as well. They give you a more hands-on training that isn’t quite the same as watching a video. Whether it’s appointment reminder automation or staff education, this year, set out with your best foot forward for growth!

To connect with XLDent, call 800-328-2925 or email xldentinfo@xldent.comDawn

Dawn Christodoulou is the President/Owner of XLDent. She has more than 25 years of experience computerizing dental offices and helping both new and established practices streamline electronic workflows for increased efficiency, improve patient engagement, and achieve maximum profitability. Dawn is also a member of ADA SCDI Working Groups 11.1 Standard Clinical Architecture and 11.9 Core Reference Data Set.

Guest post by Dawn Christodoulou, President/Owner of XLDent

The modern dental office is becoming fully integrated into the digital age, with the ability to capture and analyze much of the data it generates on a weekly basis. Close monitoring can guide the Practice Owner to reflect on which marketing methods are generating the most leads, how successful collection efforts are, and production trends.

In a matter of seconds, a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) should tell you whether your practice is growing, maintaining, or starting to decline. XLDent offers a brand new KPI Dashboard feature to help you gather this data quickly, and formXLDent.TND.Blog.Dec.2017.Dashboard2 (002)at it into easy-to-read graphs, giving you a window to the health of your dental practice. This Dashboard is mobile-friendly and accessible from anywhere, anytime.

An analysis of your Clinical team can tell you several things:

-Production is the most basic building block of your business, so these daily, weekly, and monthly totals are a great place to start looking for trends, peaks and valleys. They can be useful to determine whether you should think about adding more staff to manage your patient care without delays or protracted schedules.

-Is the hygiene team making sure to schedule the next recall appointment with the patients before they leave the treatment room? Recall metrics need to be clearly visible, concise, and up to date.

-Are your recommended treatment plans being accepted, scheduled, and followed through or are patients not feeling confident in your team? Perhaps you will need to add education for patients who are unsure if planned treatment is truly needed.

-Are overhead costs crippling your ability to run a successful business? The materials and equipment you choose (and the method they are deployed) should be reviewed periodically, so that modifications can be made, where appropriate.

An analysis of your Administrative Team will point out the following areas:

-The number of new patients coming into the practice each month. Are they referred from satisfied patients, calling you because of a successful marketing campaign, and is your office creating the best experience once they come in?

-Are your Collections being handled in a timely manner? Not everyone is comfortable asking patients to pay their balances, so it’s a good idea to seek out the right staff person to tackle this roll.

With all this information at your fingertips, performance goals can be set and achieved. Practice growth decisions should include clear expectations of what your team is capable of, and what systems and positions may need to be modified going forward. Keeping track of your practice’s growth, and potential, doesn’t need to be a major time commitment. The new XLDent KPI Dashboard can provide a window into where you’re headed in just minutes.

To connect with XLDent, call 800-328-2925 or email xldentinfo@xldent.comDawn

Dawn Christodoulou is the President/Owner of XLDent. She has more than 25 years of experience computerizing dental offices and helping both new and established practices streamline electronic workflows for increased efficiency, improve patient engagement, and achieve maximum profitability. Dawn is also a member of ADA SCDI Working Groups 11.1 Standard Clinical Architecture and 11.9 Core Reference Data Set.

Guest post by Dawn Christodoulou, President/Owner of XLDent

Dental practice ownership has indeed been in a state of change over the last 10-15 years. The landscape of corporate practices and multi-owner practices is something of a norm. But it hasn’t always been this way. Single-owner private practices are evolving.

Why the shift?

Traditionally, a dental office consisted of one office with a single practitioner owner. Recent years have seen a trend towards alternate models, which include DSOs (Dental Service Organizations) and corporate clinics. To maintain a dentist-owned status while having the flexibility to expand your business, some are opting for a multi-location practice.

Corporate and large-scale DSOs often provide expanded services, extended hours, and other patient conveniences. Competing with these practices means you must be focused on providing premium patient care. This may mean creating a practice of specialty colleagues to provide all services “under one roof”. If you aren’t ready to own a multi-specialty practice, consider connecting with colleagues nearby to build a streamlined referral network. Patient experience is a priority and creating a practice of personal, patient-focused care will help you stand out from the competition.

What changes will you be making?

Owning multiple dental practices can be rewarding, exciting, and profitable if properly executed. Multiple locations can help to position yourself in a way that allows you to be more competitive which could mean double income potential, but also, double stress and increased overhead. To be successful and competitive you need to have done the proper planning to take on a second, third, or more facilities.

Infrastructure and operations are the backbone of any successful business, and your dental practice is no exception. As you look at your management software and elements needed to run multiple locations, you might first think cloud. The good news… you don’t need a cloud-based system to make this happen. The key is a robust practice management system that already has everything you need to run your multi-location business efficiently and effectively.

The XLDent replication solution helps multiple locations run seamlessly while utilizing one single database. Or, your preKPI-Dashboard2 (002)ference may be to keep independent data for each, while accessing XLDent at all locations throughout the day. Whichever you choose, your team will be able to run a cohesive, streamlined operation at various locations around town. Plus, practice owners can stay informed about the practice(s) with the XLDent KPI Dashboard. This bird’s-eye view lets you see current practice stats anywhere, anytime.

Whether you’re a sole practice or are considering branching out with a team of associates and specialists on board, your management software solution is one important factor in making it a success.

To connect with someone from XLDent, call 800-328-2925 or email xldentinfo@xldent.comDawn

Dawn Christodoulou is the President/Owner of XLDent. She has more than 25 years of experience computerizing dental offices and helping both new and established practices streamline electronic workflows for increased efficiency, improve patient engagement, and achieve maximum profitability. Dawn is also a member of ADA SCDI Working Groups 11.1 Standard Clinical Architecture and 11.9 Core Reference Data Set.

Guest post by Dawn Christodoulou, President/Owner of XLDent

As the owner of a practice starting out or a stagnant one trying to grow, you are faced with figuring out what impacts practice growth the most. When properly planned, three areas can help to maximize growth from day one.

  1. Systems

You’re likely not thinking about efficiency or productivity during your first days or weeks in business. With a handful of patients each day, you’re not faced with bottlenecks, communication gaps, or duplication of processes. Alas, you soon will be. Systems minimize gaps or overlaps in your daily processes. They are needed for productive workflows and profitability.

Create standard operating procedures (SOPs) early on. Doing so sets the stage for staff expectations, accountability measures, and helps you measure areas of success or needs for improvement. Early on, you are likely running your practice without a full team. You have an assistant also taking on the front desk role, because you’re simply not busy enough yet to hire a full-time admin team member. As you bring on new staff, a written set of SOPs will ensure each team member is prepared and knows their responsibilities. Systems should be created knowing they will evolve as your practice grows and staff roles change. XLDent provides each practice, whether just starting out or transitioning from another PMS, a core set of SOPs to start with. They are a fantastic starting point for those new to establishing systems, and are customized by each practice as needed.

  1. XLDent blog photo Mockup-12-19-16Reviews and Referrals

I doubt there’s a practice starting out today that doesn’t have an online presence from day one. From the day you open your doors, focus on creating a process for reviews and referrals. Nothing attracts new patients more than a healthy online rating and patients who aren’t afraid to tell others about their great experience. After a visit, ask your patient if they were happy with their experience and funnel them right over to do that 5-star review. Lighthouse 360 helps you automate this. Emails. are automatically sent post-visit, and good reviews are posted right to your website and social media pages.

  1.  Patient Experience

It’s no surprise that convenience and consumer experience are priorities when a new patient chooses a dentist. They are especially significant in gaining one who is loyal. Don’t discount the importance of electronic reminders, online access, and paperless forms, to a patient. A busy mom doesn’t want to be faced with a stack of forms to complete that you’re going to scan and shred anyway. Consider a system that embraces all aspects of a streamlined paperless system, so you’re not left with the task of finding disconnected solutions that leave you with clumsy systems.

To connect with someone from XLDent, call 800-328-2925 or email xldentinfo@xldent.com

DawnDawn Christodoulou is the President/Owner of XLDent. She has more than 25 years of experience computerizing dental offices and helping both new and established practices streamline electronic workflows for increased efficiency, improve patient engagement, and achieve maximum profitability. Dawn is also a member of ADA SCDI Working Groups 11.1 Standard Clinical Architecture and 11.9 Core Reference Data Set.

 

Sex, Drugs & Oral Cancer…what does this mean? Let’s take a closer look at oral cancer to see how sex and drugs play a role in the development. The risk factors for oral cancer are not only the traditional risk factors of tobacco, alcohol, and age, but now there is an increasing prevalence being caused from a sexually transmitted virus, HPV 16. With the new risk factor of HPV, oral cancer is not only affecting older patients, but now younger patients without the traditional risk factors. This means that everyone who walks into your office potentially has a significant risk factor. Just as with other cancers, early diagnosis of oral cancer provides a markedly improved prognosis for the patient. Knowing that early discovery for cancer saves lives, our goal should be to screen every patient. With the changing trends, it is important to have a tool in your arsenal for early discovery. OralID™ is the perfect solution and is being used in some of the top clinics and cancer centers across the nation.

OralID™ is an FDA Cleared medical device for oral cancer (and pre-cancer) screening. Without the need for any rinses, dyes or other consumables, OralID™ uses fluorescence technology that when shined in the mouth causes healthy tissue to fluoresce an apple-green color and suspicious tissue appears dark. If a dark lesion is found, the recommended protocol for screening is to have the patient back in two weeks to reassess the lesion. Normally these lesions will have healed in the follow-up period. If the lesion is still present, then performing an advanced cytology swab (CytID™) or a biopsy (PathID™) is recommended at that point.

In addition to the OralID™, Forward Science provides complimentary diagnostic tests designed for early discovery. The company offers an all-inclusive program, called the ID For Life Program™, that provides not only the OralID™ device for each office, but diagnostic tests, unlimited support, marketing materials, a lifetime warranty, and more. The ID For Life Program™ helps to ensure success in implementing an oral cancer screening protocol in each office.

As oral cancer has continued to rise over the past eight years along with the risk factors now affecting all demographics, we encourage you to join Forward Science and commit to screening each of your patients. By working together, we may play a crucial part in reversing oral cancer trends through early detection. Learn more by visiting www.forwardscience.com.

FSForward Science is a privately held biotechnology company based in Houston, Texas. OralID, Forward Science’s flagship product, is an award winning oral cancer screening device that allows clinicians to Shine Light. Save Lives.™ by identifying abnormalities that may not be seen under traditional white light examinations. Forward Science quickly expanded its product portfolio in efforts to provide clinicians with a complete program to battle the rising trends of oral cancer. With the launch of the ID For Life™ Program, Forward Science has evolved into the industry leader for oral oncology. The ID For Life™ Program includes the following in an effort to change the trends for oral cancer: screening device (OralID), diagnostic tests (CytID, PathID, hpvID, phID), and treatment options (SalivaMAX). SalivaMAX is Forward Science’s latest product offering, which is an FDA Cleared prescription strength rinse for all ranges of xerostomia.

By Courtney L. Lavigne, DMD

Graduating dental school with today’s student debt burden is overwhelming. It can be even more stressful to finally finish school and realize how little you know, how inundated dentistry can make you feel, and how difficult it can be to find the path to do the dentistry you always dreamed of doing. Three years out of dental school, I found myself burning out—feeling overworked and underpaid.

In that situation, it’s hard to imagine spending any more money, but in my experience, it’s a necessity to advance your potential clinically, which will in turn increase the satisfaction you gain from the profession.

One of the ways I found my path out of burnout and into a real passion for the profession was through the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). It was through this association that I found mentors who taught me how to decrease the number of patients I see per day, increase my clinical ability and the complexity of the dental work I’m doing, and find greater financial and personal rewards in the process.

It can be intimidating to attend an annual meeting when you are flying out of town, staying at a hotel by yourself, questioning how to dress, and realizing you don’t know anyone. The AACD’s annual meeting made it easy to enter the world of cosmetic dentistry because they find mentors to reach out to first-time attendees. At my first meeting, I met my mentor, and we’ve become good friends since. The lectures and hands-on workshops at their annual meeting are, in my opinion, the best bang-for-your-buck available in dentistry today. Over the course of a three-day period, you can learn from some of the best lecturers in the world, and take home pearls you can put into practice the next time you’re in the office.

I’ve attended the conference every year since my first, and I take Newton Fahl’s hands-on workshop multiple times at every conference. In addition to the educational material, I always look forward to the evening events which are not only fun, but allow you to network with some of dentistry’s best and brightest. I’ve made some of my closest friends in dentistry this way.

This year at the annual meeting in Las Vegas, I was honored to be on the other side, lecturing for the first time. A few years ago, I would have never imagined I could have knowledge others would benefit from. But today, I’m enjoying sharing the knowledge, tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way, alongside others striving to do the same.

It’s hard to swallow the expenses of some of this continuing education as a new graduate, but the return on your investment will truly be priceless.

AACDBlogPicCourtney Lavigne received her undergraduate degree at Creighton University and her doctorate at the University of Connecticut. She maintains a private fee-for-service practice in the Boston suburbs with a focus on cosmetic dentistry. She started her practice from scratch in 2013.

Dr. Lavigne is a fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry, the Pierre Fauchard Academy, visiting faculty and online author for Spear Education, and working towards accreditation through the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Guest post by Harold A. Smith, DDS, President of the AADSM

As the number of adults diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea continues to increase, dentists have the opportunity to integrate oral appliance therapy into their skill set to help treat this serious disease. Continuing education (CE) courses provide the knowledge needed to expand into dental sleep medicine, but dentists should be wary that some educational offerings provide inadequate instruction and may teach outdated practices or non-validated protocols.

Here are four indicators of inferior education in dental sleep medicine that you should avoid when selecting CE courses

1. Overgeneralized instruction – Courses that attempt to be all things to all people, and are not designed to meet the different levels of dental sleep medicine experience and knowledge, most likely will not meet your professional nds. Beware of courses that are overgeneralized to draw as many attendees as possible.

2. Integrated teaching and testing entities – Education providers should administer certification testing and education from separate boards to ensure that dentists’ education is the main focus of the organization. Distinction between these goals is expected and necessary in prestigious medical education programs, and the same standards should apply to dental sleep medicine courses.

3. For-profit organizations – Any organization that stands to profit from teaching participants to use particular devices or services cannot provide impartial instruction. While these courses can help you learn about tools of the trade, they are not a substitute for gaining fundamental, unbiased knowledge about dental sleep medicine.

4. Access to test questions – Courses that provide advance access to questions that will appear on an upcoming certification exam do not support the competency in dental sleep medicine that our medical colleagues will respect and expect.

For superior CE courses that directly benefit you and your practice, the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine provides education that is built upon 25 years of proven success in growing dental sleep medicine careers and businesses. AADSM offers best-in-class educational opportunities that are recognized, respected and rewarding – putting you at the forefront of the field.

As the only non-profit, professional association dedicated exclusively to dental sleep medicine, AADSM affiliation is important to physicians, payers and patients who are looking for qualified dentists to help treat sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. AADSM courses are recognized by the ADA Continuing Education Recognition Program (CERP) and are the best investment for those looking to achieve respected certification in dental sleep medicine, build long-lasting medical relationships and gain patients. The AADSM offers a tailored educational approach that will give you the credibility and tools to unlock immediate opportunities to advance your dental sleep medicine career – increasing your patient roster and your revenue.

Dental sleep medicine is a smart, viable and valuable opportunity for dentists interested in providing sleep solutions to their patients and expanding their practice. The sooner you become an expert, the better positioned you’ll be for success and seniority in this fast-growing, exciting dental field. To accelerate your dental sleep medicine career and improve your bottom line, learn more about best-in-class CE opportunities at www.AADSM.org.

Dr. Smith Headshot
Harold A. Smith, DDS, is the president of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM). He has provided oral appliance therapy since 1993 and is currently the clinical director of Dental Sleep Medicine of Indiana. He also serves as the dental consultant to the major Indianapolis hospital sleep disorder centers and is on faculty at Indiana University School of Medicine’s Fellowship program in sleep medicine.
As a distinguished speaker and ABDSM Diplomate, Dr. Smith has lectured nationally on the dentist’s role as part of a medical team in sleep medicine. He also has served on many levels of organized dentistry throughout the years. Dr. Smith is a Fellow of the American College of Dentists and is an active member of the AASM, ADA, IDA, IDDS and AGD. He is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Dentistry.
An active and passionate dental sleep medicine professional, Dr. Smith served as president of the AADSM from 2002 to 2004, received the AADSM Distinguished Service Award in 2006 and acted as president of the ABDSM from 2008-2010.

Guest post by Dawn Christodoulou, President/Owner of XLDent

Whether you’re just getting started or a seasoned vet, every dentist has heard the phrase “If it’s not in the chart, it didn’t happen.” And, even though we’ve all heard it before, many dentists continue to repeat the bad habits of their predecessors, leaving themselves at risk for malpractice lawsuits and fraud.

The Dental Chart

In order for the dental chart, or electronic dental record, to be defensible in a court of law, it needs to provide a consistent and detailed account of events.

Health History

While most practices are good about obtaining health history information at the time of a patient’s initial visit, many fail to maintain consistency when it comes to updating information. With a lot of dentists counting on hygienists and assistants to update health history information, it’s easy to get lazy with your review of this information. Make it a habit to review the information in your electronic dental record prior to each patient encounter and document this in your clinical progress note. The recent addition of the Medical Tab in the XLDent chart helps clinicians view and update medical conditions and medications easily.

Pre-Treatment Diagnosis

Failure to document a definitive diagnosis is a common weakness to the electronic dental record in many practices. The clinical progress note should reflect your diagnosis and the findings that led to your diagnosis. Supporting items, like radiographs and treatment plans, will also help strengthen and validate your progress note. Your documentation must reflect the treatment options that were recommended and alternatives that were discussed with the patient.

Informed Consent

Prior to treatment, the dentist bears the responsibility of obtaining informed consent from the patient to perform the procedures that were diagnosed. For most, the process to obtain consent involves a conversation with the patient that results in patient understanding and acceptance of the treatment that will be provided. When it comes to malpractice claims, lack of consent is frequently cited. The clinical progress note should reference the process used to obtain consent and that the patient consented to treatment provided. For riskier procedures, consider obtaining consent in writing to help support your clinical note. One method is clinical consent forms that are signed on the tablet pc when using XLDent’s Ink Forms.

Medications

Even in 2017, many prescribers will be the victim of prescription theft or tampering. Sending prescriptions to the pharmacy electronically offers greater protection for the prescriber, reducing the risk of fraud. Additionally, ePrescribing software offers safety measures for the patient.

We hope these recommendations will help you minimize the risk of fraud or error in your clinical settings.

To connect with someone from XLDent, please call 800-328-2925 or email xldentinfo@xldent.com.

Dawn

Dawn Christodoulou is the President/Owner of XLDent. She has more than 25 years of experience computerizing dental offices and helping both new and established practices streamline electronic workflows for increased efficiency, improve patient engagement, and achieve maximum profitability. Dawn is also a member of ADA SCDI Working Groups 11.1 Standard Clinical Architecture and 11.9 Core Reference Data Set.

Mr. Jerry Davis of Galatia, Illinois just phoned The New Dentist looking for a dentist to practice in this small community. Galatia is a village in Saline County, Illinois and as of the 2010 census, the village population was 933.  The village owns a brand new dental office there but needs a dentist.  He said, “I figure there may a new dentist who is required to work in a rural area as part of their loan.”  Galatia is near Harrisburg, IL, which is the biggest nearest town.

If you are interested you can contact him at 618-926-8555 or jwdavis41@frontier.com.

Here to help,

The New Dentist™

Online reviews are one of the most significant factors influencing private practice dentistry today.

I don’t even remember if online reviews existed when I was in dental school (2004-2008).  If they did, they weren’t that popular.  Our training focused on diagnostic competency, the technical aspects of performing clinical dentistry, and treating human beings with dignity and compassion.  These were the standards we were held to in our training, and like many I assumed that these would be the standards I would be held to as a professional in my career.

Of course I am held to high professional and ethical standards by myself, by my peers, by board, by my associations, and by my patients. In the online review era, I am held to another standard as well.  Anyone with an Internet connection can go online, find a picture of me, say whatever they want about me, and rate my service and ability as a professional on the “star scale”.  I used to associate the “star scale” with Ed McMahon and Star Search or reading an album review in Rolling Stone magazine.  Now, when I think of the “star scale”, I think of what I do.

There’s a certain amount of indignity that comes along with a publicly available star rating system with your face next to it. It is frustrating to realize that all of my education and hard work and time and love and care in dentistry can be reduced by anyone to a star rating.  It is humiliating and can make one feel powerless.

Humiliation. Indignity. Eight years of higher education sure made me arrogant, right?  I know I’m not alone.  How do we get over ourselves and take this seriously?  By realizing that we are not powerless. By keeping customer service at the forefront of all decisions in the practice, we can take control of the online review reality and actually use it to our advantage.

In my practice, we talk about online reviews on a daily basis.  We ask patients to write them every day. We read them aloud at our monthly meetings and use them to educate our team.  The things people say in reviews help us to understand what matters most to our patients.  Being conscious of the experience we provide patients is no longer optional.  If we don’t provide excellent customer service experiences, none of our clinical training as dentists matters.

 

Larry Dougherty

Larry DoughertyLarry Doughtery, DDS, is a 2008 graduate of Nova Southeastern University. He has chaired a number of committees on new dentists, has taught at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Dentistry, and now owns Rolling Oaks Dental, a start-up practice in San Antonio, where he practices with his wife who is also a dentist.