The Power of Purpose in Business and Life

By Roy Spence
Co-Founder & Chariman, GSD&M/Co-Founder & CEO, The Purpose Institute

Aristotle once said the purpose of life is to do good and be happy. It’s so simple yet so powerful, and it’s a thought that has shaped my thinking around the idea of “purpose.”

Defined simply, purpose is the reason why you exist and should be what drives you towards all your goals in life. It’s a concept that starts at home; essentially, stop asking your kids what they want to do and instead ask them what they love to do. And wouldn’t be great if schools put more emphasis on developing a sense of purpose and talent in students rather than simply passing tests? Once you have established your purpose, it will influence every aspect of your life.

I highly encourage individuals to find their purpose, but it’s an idea that easily translates to business as well. A practice’s purpose differs from its mission in that purpose is the practice’s “why” and mission is its “how.” Why does your practice exist? To provide every patient with a beautiful, healthy smile. How will your practice accomplish that? By delivering exceptional patient care. Vision, by the way, is how you see the world when you’re fulfilling your purpose, i.e., your practice can see a time when everyone will have access to great oral health care. It’s so important that practices clearly establish their purpose and rally their team around it. It’s the difference between waking up in the morning and thinking, “Today, I have to take 10 X-rays, perform 15 prophies, do two extractions…” and “Today, I get to make a difference in a patient’s life!” A practice’s purpose is a higher calling that motivates and encourages engagement. Continue reading

Interpreting Advanced Imaging: It’s Best to Know Nothing

by John Khademi, D.D.S, M.S.

Interpreting advanced imaging, such as CBCT imaging, is tricky. Evidence of just how tricky becomes apparent during lectures I give on the subject. I will show a study to the audience and discuss it for several minutes. When I take it down, I ask them which side was buccal? Which side was palatal? Was it tooth number 14 or number 3?

The audience will start guessing, because they really don’t know—even after looking at the tooth for 5-10 minutes. They would never mistake buccal for palatal, or the tooth numbers, with 2D radiography. But with 3D radiography, it happens all too often. I’ve been evaluating 3D imaging everyday in my endodontic practice for eight years now, and I can still make this kind of mistake. The issue is this: we don’t have that same set of skills with 3D radiography that we do with 2D radiography, but we think we do.

In medical radiology, however, they’re well aware of the complexities that go along with interpreting imaging. That’s why medical radiology is a four-year specialty after medical school—with sub-specialties after that. You don’t want a mammographer evaluating the CT of your head or a thoracic radiologist reading your mammogram.

The need for specialization is clear: interpreting 3D imaging calls for a well-trained eye. That’s why we have to be very careful when we interpret with CBCT. For this reason, I’ve developed a strategy for interpreting 3D imaging based on what has been learning in medical radiology.

It’s important to note that I don’t automatically order an imaging on every patient. Whenever possible, my staff provides me with the minimum information necessary to determine if an advanced imaging study should be prescribed.  This very counter-intuitive finding is captured in the title of a 2002 paper in Radiology from noted radiologist Dr. Thorn Griscom: A Suggestion: Look at the Images First, Before you Read the History.”

Whenever possible, the preferred method involves doing two reads—first, without looking at the projection radiograph, doing a clinical exam or talking to the patient first about their symptoms or getting the history. My goal is to not have any preconceived notions about what the findings may be, let alone the diagnosis. Of course, with CBCT—especially with the focused field—if it’s an upper left side, I have a pretty good idea of where the problem is. But that’s all I really want to know.

I evaluate the study through that lens. I then get the history, look at the projection radiograph, review all the clinical information and perform the clinical exam. After that, I go back and look at the CBCT study again. This approach is very counterintuitive and not widely appreciated.  Current recommendations for approaching are as follows: conduct a thorough clinical exam and radiographic exam before prescribing imaging. In my opinion, that’s backwards, and not based on what has been learned about the interpretive process through careful research in medical radiology. Continue reading

The Benefit of Implementing Planned Time-Outs

By William J. Moorhead, D.M.D.

To some people, “time-out” implies “sporting event.” To others, it means “parenting strategy.”

Time-outs have been used in medicine for several years. In surgery with the surgical team, time-outs verify such areas as:

  • Patient’s name
  • Date of birth
  • Consent form had been signed
  • Drug allergies
  • The kind of surgery being performed

In our practice, we use time-outs as a planned pause before the start of treatment to focus on safety and patient communication. Continue reading

Designing Better Medical and Dental History Forms

By William J. Moorhead, D.M.D.

Can the design of your medical and dental history forms affect efficiency? Yes, definitely. In fact, a well designed form not only saves time, it can facilitate diagnosis and motivate your patients.

Today, most practice management systems have online forms, which enable patients to register and complete their medical and dental history in advance. This can streamline the appointment—but only if the forms are designed with the patient in mind. If you discover that patients are filling out the forms incorrectly or if they are omitting information, it’s likely time to rethink your forms.

When you develop the medical and dental history section of your forms, develop questions so that a “yes” answer requires the doctor’s attention. For example, change the question “are you satisfied with the color of your teeth?” to “would you like whiter teeth?” This approach can speed your review process, because you can quickly decipher where to focus your attention. Continue reading

Developing and Adapting Systems for Your Dental Office

By William J. Moorhead, D.M.D.

Looking for ways to systematize your dental office? In the book “The Checklist Manifesto” by Atul Gawande, M.D., Dr. Gawande talks about the advantages of using discipline in our work day. Let’s face it, we’re human and prone to mistakes. Gawande reveals how systems and checklists can decrease mistakes, boost efficiency and reduce stress.

Even the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) agrees. In an article published in August 2010, Harold M. Pinsky, D.D.S., a part-time dentist and part-time pilot, states, “To enhance safety, practitioners must implement forward-thinking strategies. Because human error is inevitable, threat and error management techniques are needed to help identify and trap error before it develops into unexpected outcomes. Risk analysis heightens situational awareness for possible dental error. Efficiency increases with early error detection.” Continue reading

Embracing Change to Give Your Practice a Competitive Advantage

By Ryan Estis
ryanestis.com

How a practice responds to change says a lot about the team that runs it. Do they embrace it? Seek it out? Avoid it? In this technological age, keeping up with the pace of change is crucial from a business and clinical perspective—patients make negative assessments about a practice based on outdated equipment, and using old technology may put a practice at a disadvantage when diagnosing patients. While adding new equipment is a step in the right direction, here are a few other ways you can view change around your practice that will give you a competitive advantage.

  1. Embrace change in the new economy—From imaging technology to the way we communicate with patients to how we accept payments, every aspect of the dental practice is changing. And that change is being driven by greater global trends that reflect how interconnected the world has become. Don’t think of yourself as one small practice, but part of a global business network. The changes you make now affect not only your practice but your patients, your community and, ultimately, the greater economy.

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Changing Lives by Giving Back [Update]

EDITOR’S NOTE: In addition to offering continuing education and networking opportunities, the 2017 Global Oral Health Summit will also provide participants with the chance to partake in a special volunteer activity. Clean the World will guide attendees in assembling hygiene kits to distribute to those in need in the Orlando community. Carestream Dental will also be accepting monetary donations on behalf of Clean the World during the Summit, and contributions of unused toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss will be welcomed. Learn more here.

During the holidays, it’s common to give thanks and reflect on a successful year—a thriving practice, a dedicated staff and happy patients being among them. Some practices may even use this time to give back to their communities, whether through canned food donations or Angel Trees in the office lobby, or a day of volunteering at a food bank with the whole practice.

However, doctors and their staff have valuable skills to offer their communities at any time of the year. Giving, without any expectation of gain, allows dentistry to change lives. Continue reading

Four Steps to Mastering Social Media at GOHS

The Global Oral Health Summit is a dynamic opportunity for oral health practitioners and professionals to learn about the latest industry technology and expand their professional networks by interacting with colleagues from across the country and globe. Utilizing social media is a prudent way to take advantage of all the benefits the Global Oral Health Summit has to offer. Here are a few tips to amplify your Summit experience.

Follow – The official social media accounts of the Global Oral Health Summit are an excellent source to find the most up-to-date information about the program, location and venue accommodations for the 2016 Summit and beyond.

  • Before GOHS begins, you can find Facebook posts about the Summit’s featured subject matter experts and in-depth content related to the session subjects to help you determine which sessions meet your particular interests.
  • Follow the GOHS Twitter account during the Summit for real-time updates and tips from our keynote speakers Laura Schwartz and social media expert Jesse Miller.
  • When the Summit is over, the educational support doesn’t end. Whether you have decided to make an equipment purchase or implement new software, you can visit the GOHS social channels to find helpful resources that will make the transition easy.

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Dentistry Abroad: Providing Oral Healthcare in St. Lucia

As doctors, we have committed to improving the lives of our patients. While we all do this on a daily basis in our local communities, providing oral healthcare to patients without the necessary dental resources can be an eye opening—and life changing—experience.

silvermanstlucia3This summer, I was asked by Great Shapes!, a non-profit program that facilitates humanitarian aid in the Caribbean, to participate in its 1000 Smiles Dental Project in St. Lucia. This trip also included the director of endodontics and three endodontic residents from the University of North Carolina as well as a pediatric dentist. I was also fortunate to have my wife Katie, an emergency room RN, and my youngest son Zach, a sophomore at Penn state, join me as volunteers during the week.

Preparing to Work Abroad

There are a number of behind-the-scenes tasks that must be completed before leaving the country. First, I applied for a temporary dental license from the government of St. Lucia that allowed me to practice dentistry while on the island.

Ensuring you have the right supplies is crucial. My local Rotary Club lent me a great deal of support by donating supplies for the trip. Additionally, I brought much of my own equipment to ensure I was able to properly diagnose and treat patients. It’s important to note here that there are also dental technology companies that will loan small, portable equipment to organizations who perform mission work. Continue reading

Hands-On Courses: How They Can Help Improve Your Practice

While the traditional approach to continuing education—that is, a speaker presenting from a podium to a large group—is still valuable, there is something to be said about the experience gained when taking small/limited attendance continuing education programs. Hands-on courses give participants the chance to try out new skills or assist during a live procedure.

Nowhere is this more important than in implant programs. By participating in hands-on courses with limited attendance, dental professionals are better able to learn clinical protocols and techniques unique to implant planning and placement. This provides a more personalized experience than listening to someone speak in a lecture hall. Continue reading