Archive for the ‘Patient Retention’ Category

Sex, Drugs & Oral Cancer

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

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.

Guest post by Dawn Christodoulou, President/Owner of XLDent

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

5 Tips to Help New Dentists Build Patient Loyalty

As a New Dentist, you face the challenge of establishing strong patient relationships. Patient loyalty is not gained by just one thing, but by a compilation of positive influences. Because it’s so critical to practice success, let’s look at 5 ways you can help build loyalty in your practice.

  1. Get to Know Your Patients Before You Meet Them

By spending just one minute reviewing a patient’s dental chart before you enter the operatory you can identify how long this patient has been seen in your office, who their family is and notable treatment history. Long-term patients will be impressed if you acknowledge the trust they’ve put in this practice and thank them for being your patient.

Using a patient web portal that allows patients to get started with registration forms before their first visit can help get the relationship started even before they walk in the door.

  1. Use Interactive Technology

Rather than being the doc with your back to the patient while you look at some crusty monitor, try engaging your patient in their dental chart. Use a Tablet PC to educate the patient about their dental treatment, review xrays, sign treatment consent forms and watch patient education videos. With a Tablet PC in hand, you’re speaking to patients at their level, not pointing at a TV in the corner.

  1. Web Presence is a Must

Don’t waste time introducing yourself online. Use your website and Facebook page to feature pictures and a short bio for a great introduction to you and your practice. And incorporating videos are even better! If you don’t have the time or resources to invest in professional video, make a selfie video with your phone and put it on Facebook. It may feel awkward, but your patients will appreciate seeing the real you. Be sure to show your personality and give patients a way to connect with you on social media.

  1. Share your Passion

Take time to inform your patients about changes in dentistry such as new products available for home use, changes in regulations or rules, and new technology. Share your opinions, beliefs and goals. Use your social media channel to communicate your message and consider sending out patient newsletters too. Patients want to go to a dentist that stays current and cares about industry changes. So tell them what’s going on!

  1. Communication

With electronic records, communication is getting easier every day. During an appointment, you can easily email perio charts and treatment plans directly to your patients. If they aren’t ready to schedule their treatment plan today, send them a copy so that they can review the plan when they get home. Including online communication methods helps to broaden the connection patients have with you and your team.

A great dental software program is a key component to establishing patient relationships that lead to long-term loyalty. XLDent simplifies your workflows, helps you make the best use of current technology, and gives you the tools to do all this.

As an independent dental software company, XLDent is dedicated to the preservation of private dentistry and has made it our purpose to help new dentists in practice build successful small businesses.

 

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.

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

Encrypting Your Patient Identity and Health Information

Friday, April 15th, 2016

Guest post by Mark Hollis, CEO of MacPractice

In 2015 alone, the identity and health information of 35% of Americans was exposed – more than 111 Million patient records. More and more, dentists and patients are becoming aware that reported breaches like this effect them directly and can have grave consequences. If you think about it, most of us know someone who has had their personal information compromised and had to spend years recovering from a loss of their identity. Your patient’s identity theft can results in:

Fraudulent charges

Empty bank account

Lost home

Stolen Social Security benefits

Bad credit

Emotional stress, divorce, loss of business, etc.

Health care providers are required by HIPAA to protect EPHI with AES encryption ‘at rest’ on the server and backups, and on a network in the office (and between offices and over the Internet if that applies). The theft and sale of EPHI (Electronic Protected Health Information) is lucrative for thousands of hackers in places like Iran, Russia and China. No one can stop the attempts, but dentists can, at a minimum, use dental software with built-in encryption that makes EPHI indecipherable to a hacker or burglar.

A startling reality is that vendors are NOT required to provide encryption in their software. Other than MacPractice, NONE of the other leading dental vendors provide encryption in their software.

Patients are starting to ask dentists how their data is protected before providing it. In a recent survey, 50% of patients said they would leave their doctor if they were notified their data was exposed, as is required by HIPAA of all doctors who do not encrypt EPHI as well as their database password. In addition, HIPAA and States can assess millions of dollars in fines for non-compliance. This is truly a national emergency.

Encrypted software helps you avoid millions in fines for non-compliance, and qualifies you for HIPAA’s Safe Harbor. In the event of a breach, Safe Harbor can exempt you from having to send first class mail to all who are affected, notify HHS and prominent media, post a notice on your home page, and more. Practices that do not encrypt their patients’ data and report a breach rarely recover.

MacPractice encourages you to learn more about this important topic and how built-in encryption can protect you and your practice. You can download our free whitepaper, register for our encryption webinar and subscribe to our HIPAA web resource page.

MarkHollis_headshot_2014

 

For more than 30 years, Mark has been helping doctors to run their practices more efficiently, first as a practice management consultant and now as CEO of MacPractice – the leading software for doctors who prefer Apple technology. Mark has spoken at seminars, trade shows, dental schools and more than 500 small business events at Apple locations. He is an established and well-respected leader on Cloud computing, dental and medical technology and Electronic Health Records.

He can be reached at markhollis@macpractice.com

Defining Yourself in the Dental Community

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

In 2015, I, along with my wife Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty, was inducted as a Fellow into the International College of Dentists—an honor only about 4 percent of U.S. dentists receive. The ICD is a worldwide dental organization that recognizes professional achievement, advancement and service to dentistry.

My wife and I graduated from dental school less than 10 years ago (7.5 years to be exact). We practice in Texas, but we aren’t from Texas and didn’t go to dental school there either. This isn’t common for ICD inductees, who are typically older than us and have long standing connections and friends in their communities.

So how did we make names for ourselves in our dental community and receive such a prestigious honor in such a short amount of time? I attribute it to three factors: participating in organized dentistry, moving to a city with a great community of dentists, and simply turning some disadvantages into advantages.

It was daunting to move to San Antonio in 2010. We didn’t know a single person. Texas is a welcoming, friendly place, and within a few months, we made friends and connections. By showing up to meetings, participating in committees, and valuing every relationship, we built a network.

When you’ve been part of a community for a long time, it’s only natural to stay in a small comfort zone of friends and associates. When you’re new and have no comfort zone, there’s a lot of freedom and opportunity that comes with that. There’s an opportunity to consciously define who you are. Before and during dental school, I wanted to become a dentist. That was such a big goal I didn’t really think about anything bigger than that!

After being a dentist for a few years, I recognized there was opportunity for so much more. I asked myself questions like, “What do I want to be known for?” and “How can I make things better for people around me?” I wanted to be known as someone who served others; this motivated a lot of my decisions about how I would spend my time. I’m not sure I would have been so introspective if I had stayed in one place. I’m not sure I would have taken advantage of every opportunity to give back if I felt it was always going to be there for me.

We wouldn’t be ICD members if it wasn’t for our sponsor and our generous friends who wrote letters to support us. Six years ago we moved into a community with many of the best dentists in the country. Whether it’s with service to the profession, contributions to advancing dentistry, or clinical excellence, there are so many shining examples in our own city. These are our  mentors and our friends. We’re very fortunate to be surrounded by great people.

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.

5 Steps for Patient Referral Success

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Guest post by Dr. Lindsay Goss, DMD, MPH

As a general dentist I work with specialists every day in order to provide exceptional comprehensive patient care. I used to think that when I referred a patient to a dental specialist that they would take over from there with the patient’s care. They would diagnose the patient, treat the patient and the patient would return to my office only when they have improvement. But what I soon realized is that I would wonder what was happening? When is the patient returning to my office? What was their diagnosis? What is the prognosis? Once I referred the patient out of my office, I felt that I could no longer be in control of my patient care. However, with a few changes to our office protocol on how we make a referral, I remain a part of my patient’s continuation of care with the specialist.

Here is my office protocol:

1. Determine the patient needs a referral to a specialist.

2. Define what specialist can provide a Diagnosis, Prognosis and Treatment recommendations (DPT).
   a. What type of specialist should the patient see?
      Does gender of the doctor or the location matter?
      Does insurance coverage make a difference for this patient?

3. Offer patient a pre-scheduled appointment with the specialist prior to leaving your office.
   a. This step is important because it commits the patient to the care they need.
   b. Our patient coordinator gives insurance information to the referring office.

4. Write the pre-scheduled appointment day/time on the referral slip.
   a. Make a copy of the referral slip for your patient records.
   b. Inform patient their records will be sent over and ready for their consult appt.

5. Compliment the specialist and inform the patient that we will look forward to hearing the results from the consult appointment.
   a. Ask your specialist for a pre-treatment letter which states the DPT.
   b. I always review the DPT from the specialist prior to treatment with the patient.

I would encourage any New Dentist to get to know their specialists and develop a clear relationship on how you want to manage patient care. Call and invite your specialists to meet over lunch! When I work with a specialist I am inviting the specialist into a relationship of trust I have built with my patients. The patient knows that I am going to follow their case and I expect the patient to follow through with the recommended treatment/care. For these reasons it is important to make working with specialists an easy and routine process.

LindsayMGossDMDMPH

Dr. Lindsay Goss is an esteemed member of The New Dentist Magazine Advisory Board. She graduated from the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health and AT Still School of Health Management.  Dr. Goss also completed an Advanced Education in General Dentistry program through the Lutheran Medical Center before she worked with four different types of practice settings, and prior to starting up a solo “space share” in Chandler, AZ.

 

Insurance “Coupons” Put Patients in the Chair

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Coupon use is growing. According to an analysis by The Neilsen Company, “more affluent households dominate coupon usage: 38% of ‘super heavy’ users and 41% of ‘enthusiasts’ come from households with incomes greater than $70,000. Households with incomes of $100,000 and up were the primary drivers of coupon growth…”

So, what does this have to do with dentistry? It is a reminder that attitudes toward money – specifically spending and saving – have changed significantly in recent years. Moreover, those most tuned into the value of the dollar – the better educated, higher income households – are also those most likely to understand the importance and value of your dental care.

However, as consumer savvy as this population may be, the majority of them don’t realize that they are likely losing $500, $250, $700 in your office. How? Many, many patients have dental insurance plans with unused benefits that are poised to go to waste come year’s end.

Dental insurance companies make millions of dollars off of patients who never use their insurance benefits because unbeknownst to the consumer, many of these plans provide coverage up to a certain dollar amount annually. Insurance companies aren’t going to encourage customers to use benefits, and it is rare that patients actually know what they have left in benefits. Most are too busy to sift through their policies to determine what might remain on them, which makes informing them about the benefit an excellent win-win opportunity for patients and dental practices.

Take these steps:

1.  Generate an “unscheduled treatment plan report.”
2.  Identify those patients who still have unused insurance benefits.
3.  Prepare and send a special letter to each patient.  ( I have templates for this if you or your office needs assistance)
4. Add a P.S. that says, “Take your insurance dollars further with interest-free patient financing. Ask ‘Jessica’ in my office for all the details.”

I can virtually guarantee that every patient you notify will thank you for calling this to their attention. Whether they take advantage of the opportunity or not, they will appreciate the fact that you took the time to educate them on this important insurance detail.

 

 

4 Reasons Patients No Show

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Broken appointments cost you thousands of dollars in lost revenue every year. While you’re never going to completely eliminate cancellations and no-shows in your practice, you can significantly reduce them. How? First you have to understand why patients don’t show up.  Here are four reasons patients don’t make dental appointments a priority, and what you can do to change that at your practice:

1. They Don’t See the Value of Dentistry – When patients don’t understand the importance of maintaining their oral health, they’re much more likely to skip out on their appointment times. That’s why education is so important, and should be part of every patient interaction.

 

2. You Don’t Create a Sense of Urgency – When you recommend treatment to patients, you have to stress the importance of going forward with that treatment. Make sure patients understand the possible consequences of ignoring the problem, and the benefits of maintaining their oral health. Never leave them with the impression that there’s no hurry to pursue the treatment you’re recommending. After all, if you aren’t worried about it, why should they be?

 

3. You Don’t Always Confirm Appointments – Your patients are busy people with many responsibilities, so they might not remember making an appointment with your office. This is especially true if they made that appointment six months ago. That’s why you have to make sure your Scheduling Coordinator and/or your patient communication system confirms every appointment with every patient two days in advance (via their preferred method of contact).

 

4. You Don’t Have a Cancellation Policy –  When you have a cancellation policy and communicate that policy with patients, it helps them to see the importance of showing up for their appointment. If you don’t have a cancellation policy, develop one now and make sure you let both new and current patients know it exists. Remind patients about the policy when they schedule their appointments. Ask them to give your office at least two days’ notice if they can’t make their appointment so another patient can see the doctor.

 

Broken appointments wreak havoc on your day and cost you time and money. If you follow these tips, you’ll see a huge reduction in the number of cancellations and no-shows your practice has to deal with each week, and that, doctor, will do wonders for reducing stress levels while also growing your productivity numbers and your bottom line.

To read this article in it’s entirety CLICK HERE

Patient Complaint? Do This

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Most dissatisfied patients will never say a word … to you. They complain to their friends. They have their records sent down the street. Like that summer tan, they just fade away. So it can be particularly jarring when a patient makes the effort to express displeasure or dissatisfaction with the “care” they have received. Difficult as it is to believe, this gripe is an act of genuine respect.

 

Follow these steps to manage your next patient complaint:

 

1. Listen. They want to tell you what went wrong. Give them the opportunity without interrupting. Remember this is a business concern that the practice now has the opportunity to address.

 

2. Be careful not to indicate irritation or frustration in your demeanor. If you think of yourself as calm and concerned it will come across to the patient.

 

3. Take notes detailing the experience or situation.

 

4. Apologize sincerely to the patient for the problem, even if you do not feel the practice is at fault.

 

5. Tell them that you will look into the matter.

 

6. If it requires follow-up with the patient, tell them that you will get back to them within a specified time period, such as by the close of business tomorrow and do so.

 

7. Thank them for bringing the issue to your attention.

 

8. Investigate the matter further to get the full picture.

 

9. If the complaint is the result of a practice system, consider bringing the matter up at the next staff meeting and ask the staff for input on how it can be addressed to avoid similar complaints in the future.

 

10. Take action. Don’t just gather information and do nothing. Implement steps and procedures to avoid a recurrence of the same or similar problem.

 

Hygiene: Priority #1

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

When it comes to ensuring the schedule is full and production goals are met, filling open appointment times in the hygiene schedule must be a priority for the business staff. If there is less than ½ day notice of a cancellation, move an existing, scheduled patient from another day into that time. If a patient gives more than ½ day notice, contact patients listed on the recall report that need appointments. Those patients who are overdue for recall should be given priority because they are the most likely not to return unless the practice is diligent in contacting them and makes an ongoing effort to emphasize the importance of regularly scheduled oral health care appointments.

 

Retaining existing patients is as important to the continued growth of the practice as is recruiting new patients. And keeping the hygiene schedule full is a key element in maintaining a solid patient base. It is essential to establish patient retention goals as well as new patient goals based on the office’s past performance. For example, let’s say your practice goal is to increase patient numbers by 50% annually. The practice averages 200 recall patients per month and retains 90%, 180 patient are retained and 20 are not. Therefore, the practice needs to see 40 new patients each month to reach the goal.

 

For additional assistance please visit our New Dentist Resources page under Practice Management at http://www.thenewdentist.net/resources.htm

Small Changes…Improve Your Practice

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Certainly, the last year brought more change than most care to think about, as much of it was not easy.  If you don’t ever again want to face a year like you just did, I strongly suggest you commit to making economic change of your own in the coming months and ensure that regardless of the financial sector’s projections of  boom or bust, you practice is well positioned.

 

Start with the messages that you and your team regularly communicate to patients. Does your staff convey ordinary or outstanding, state of the art or status quo? Is the excellence of the team and the dentistry routinely conveyed to the patient? And, most importantly, have you even considered the messages you’re sending to your patients in every interaction, from the first phone call, to the emergency appointment, to the routine visit? If not, it’s time to listen up and script your success.

 

Use a well-crafted script to discourage patients from canceling appointments. When a patient calls to cancel, your business staff should ask for permission to put them on hold, access their file, and use the information to motivate them to keep the appointment. For example: “Mrs. Jones, I’m looking at the doctor’s notes and she emphasized that there is significant decay in that tooth. I know it is very important that you keep the appointment, would you reconsider?” The patient may still cancel, but in some cases, they will be convinced to keep it. Moreover, calling specific attention to the patient’s need for the appointment further underscores the value and importance of pursuing the recommended treatment, and emphasizing the need for care has never been more critical. Particularly since even in the best of economic times, many patients will put off certain procedures for as long as possible. Additionally, ensure that there is an established protocol to follow-up with patients who cancel. In many offices, it is months before anyone follows up on a cancellation.