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.

Continue reading

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.

facebook-icon

twitter400x400
Continue reading

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

Is the #1 Communication Problem Affecting Your Practice?

During my time as a communication and relationship specialist, I have encountered a number of communication problems that occur in the workplace. Out of all these issues, I have found that gossip is the one problem that has the most toxic effect on the dental practice. If not handled properly, gossip has the potential to destroy workplace relationships, decrease productivity and even impact patient care.

Often, gossip starts because person A doesn’t like what person B does—and then person A complains to person C. Taken at face value, the reasons why someone would talk about someone else behind their back make sense; they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or provoke a negative reaction by discussing the problem directly. Unfortunately, over time, this can backfire.

I see this situation quite often between the front and back office. The back office staff assumes that the front office spends their time talking, while the front office staff assumes that the back office doesn’t have as much to do. There are already assumptions from the very beginning, affecting the way that both teams communicate with one another. Continue reading

Predictions for 2015

Google, Microsoft and Apple will merge creating a single user friendly computer world where everything works with everything else. The new company will be called GoogyAppleSoft and the software will be Androidmacindows.

The fact that windows PC products won’t work with Apple, Apple doesn’t work with Android and vice versa is just the most visible compatibility battle. In dentistry we are plagued with proprietary systems that refuse to play together. Digital impressions, digital x-rays and even digital records can’t be transferred from one system to another. This is good for the manufacturer but not good for the dentist. Continue reading