The New Dentist Blog

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.

Guest post by Dawn Christodoulou, President/Owner of XLDent

For most dentists, starting a business is a time filled with excitement and confusion. Whether buying an existing practice or starting a new one, incorporating the right technology is one key to practice success. When it comes to practice technology, the temptation to DIY can lead the Dentist through a vortex of projects and complications. In addition, a DIY network could present limitations down the road. Let’s examine a few of the most important considerations a new dentist should make when choosing technology partners.

When choosing a hardware vendor or network service provider…

A partner that focuses on dentistry can have a critical impact on your practice success. Because technology failure equals loss of production, a company with expertise in the dental field will be able to minimize downtime. In addition, your partner will have a knowledge about digital x-ray systems and peripheral technologies that not just any IT company will know.

When choosing a dental software program…

With many dental software programs available, choosing a scalable solution will support your practice through growth and transition. The future of many privately owned practices includes multiple locations and multiple specialties offered. As your practice flourishes, your software partner should provide guidance about best practices. Recommendations about workflow optimization, billing, production tracking and database management will help you streamline your business. When starting your practice, a partner that supports multi-location and multi-specialty practices with one database will be a key consideration.

When choosing ANY technology partner…

Consider the learning tools that the partner can offer. As a dentist, production time is so valuable! Partners that provide excellent opportunities for learning new things will save you so much time in the end. CAN you install your own digital x-ray sensors and train your team on proper techniques? Sure, but your time is worth more than that! Take advantage of web based and in person learning opportunities that will help your business reach its fullest potential. A partner who understands your vision will guide you through the steps necessary to meet your goals.

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.

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.

 

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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

Guest post by Dawn Christodoulou, President/Owner of XLDent

Starting a new business is a huge undertaking, and next to the decision to go to dental school, probably one of the biggest decisions of a new dentist’s professional life.  We applaud and congratulate new business owners for their desire to be their own boss, and thank them for opening the doors to a brand new business in their community.  As a privately owned business ourselves, 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.

We are now in the era of electronic records, so it is important to choose a system that will help you go totally paperless from the beginning, is easy to operate, and morphs as needed to support the evolution of the growing business.  That’s why we recommend a “Plan…Build…Implement…Review…Grow” approach when setting up the dental practice management software and clinical image systems.  It’s important to build a solid foundation from the beginning and select a company that will listen to you, consult with you, and help you establish the core business systems that will be essential to the success of your future practice.

Data is key to any business, therefore successful database establishment is the key to initiating core business systems. As each new dentist starts their journey, we ask them to consider that there is value in the depth and breadth of the patient database they are about to build.  The content, integrity and continuity of electronic dental records will play a key role in their ability to grow efficiently and profitably, as well as maintain valuable patient relationships and patient engagement mechanisms.  Electronic dental records also become the “goodwill” that ultimately defines the value or worth of the business.

XLDent’s All-Inclusive Suite of products and services includes all the tools needed to start simply and finish BIG!  Because we know it’s costly to start up a new dental office, we offer a No Cost software solution and a Getting Started program that tracks with you during the critical first 12 months of your practice opening.  Additionally, you’ll have access to self-guided training resources, on-demand webinars and ongoing live technical support.

Click Here for a FREE no-obligation consultation and personal demonstration.

 

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, improved patient engagement, and 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 Duane Anderson at Duane.anderson@xldent.com

 

IHS_DEN_Blog_614x215_ScottsBluffNB_APR_NewDentistIf stress, traffic and high living expenses are getting you down, consider a career move to the Great Plains.

The Indian Health Service (IHS) offers dental health professionals extraordinary opportunities to provide comprehensive care to American Indians and Alaska Natives in hospitals, clinics and outreach programs throughout the Great Plains Area, which covers North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa.

The Great Plains Area Office in Aberdeen, SD, works in conjunction with its 19 Indian Health Service Units and Tribal-managed Service Units to provide health care to approximately 122,000 Native Americans in the four-state Area. Area service units include seven hospitals, eight health centers, and several smaller health stations and satellite clinics.

The dedicated providers at the IHS Division of Oral Health enjoy a work-life balance that offers ample time for recreational pursuits. Known for its awe-inspiring natural attractions and landmarks, the Great Plains Area boasts world-class fishing, hiking, hunting, skiing and more.

And the financial incentives can’t be beat. As an IHS clinician, you’re eligible to apply for up to $20,000 a year in loan repayment to fund your qualified health profession education loans.

You can choose from three distinct career paths — working in the civil service, in a Tribal/Urban Indian Program, or as an officer with the US Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps.

Applicants are subject to a pre-employment background check, including a fingerprint analysis, and must be US citizens. Male applicants must be registered for the selective service. Veterans and American Indians and Alaska Natives are encouraged to apply and receive hiring preference.

Applicants for civil service and USPHS Commissioned Corps positions must submit their materials through www.usajobs.gov. Tribal hire applicants must apply directly through the Tribe with whom they are seeking employment.

Professionally rewarding and personally fulfilling — explore a world of opportunities at ihs.gov/dentistry or contact a recruiter and upload a resume here. Applicants must be U.S. citizens.

The policy of IHS is to provide absolute preference to qualified Indian applicants and employees who are suitable for federal employment in filling vacancies in the IHS. IHS is an equal opportunity employer.

INDIAN HEALTH CAREERS — Opportunity. Adventure. Purpose.

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

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.

Guest post by  Gregory Snevel, DDS

New dentists often ask me how start building an implant program in their practices. They wish to expand the services currently offer in their practice, and ask me where the best place to start is. Successful implant therapy begins and ends with proper management of the pre-existing condition through diagnosis, extraction, and socket preservation (i.e. bone and tissue grafting) of non-restorable teeth. Managing a case in this manner generally leads to favorable and predictable outcomes, allowing for maximum experience gained, and inspiring confidence in the growing implantologist.

DSC_0578DSC_0582

Even if you don’t plan to branch out into implantology, if you currently offer extractions in your practice, bone grafting is: simple, safe, and profitable. In my opinion, it is standard of care. Dystrophic changes in the alveolar architecture following non-grafted extractions can mar esthetic and functional results of both fixed and removable prosthetics, not just implants. Root denouement can occur during the removal of terminal molars, often resulting in attachment loss adjacent to the tooth in question. It’s time we did better.

A review of techniques and materials is beyond the scope of this article, but I will give you 4 steps you need to take to begin building a better practice with bone grafting.

  • Take a course. Bone grafting courses are affordable, informative, and convenient. Learn about what you do.
  • Invest in Time. By far the most common mistake made is not giving yourself enough time to adequately complete the procedure. This compromises results frustrating both dentist and patient. Materials are inexpensive. If you currently extract teeth, you most likely already have all the surgical tools necessary. Book yourself enough time. Consider the temporary loss of production as an investment. It will pay dividends.
  • Fundamentals. No material, suture, device, or forcep, will ever contribute as much to a successful outcome as solid surgical technique.  Know what you are doing, and know why you are doing it.
  • Practice. The key to proficiency in any task is practice. If you have given yourself the time to put into effect what you have learned, your confidence will grow and you will be well on your way.

As a parting piece of advice, find a mentor. It could be a specialist referral, a former classmate, or a person you met at CE. Share your cases with them. Ask for advice. Offer advice. While it is true that all knowledge is earned, wisdom can only be shared.

Advisory Board_GregSnevelGregory Snevel, DDS, 2011 graduate of Ohio State University, is a member of The New Dentist Magazine Advisory Board.

He is a part time clinical instructor at a local Community College and a 3rd generation dentist running a general dentistry practice in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. He took over his father’s existing general dentistry practice after working there as an Associate.