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Technology for Dentists

Technology for Dentists (49)

post 100 picA dental practice is one of the trickiest businesses to effectively market, either by traditional methods or by utilizing our available digital technologies.

Many times, providers and practice managers are overwhelmed by the wide array of available tools and by vendors that are knocking on their doors trying to get dentists to purchase their services.

It is not surprising that when the subject of marketing a practice arises, people typically take a step backwards trying to move out of an uncomfortable subject. However, a person will never make it through a maze if they are continually taking steps backwards.

In order to have, and maintain, a competitive advantage in the dental community, an office needs to understand the options available to effectively market their practice to both existing and prospective patients.

Sesame Communications conducted a national research study in February, 2014 to examine how dental providers view digital marketing. The findings show that most dental providers valued their ranking on

They felt that automated reminders and their website impacted practice success. Interestingly, a majority felt that print advertising did not contribute to their practice growth.

Thursday, 03 April 2014 15:03

Closing the Loop on Your State Dental Conference

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post 87 picA couple of weeks ago Karyn posted some tips on how to prepare for your state dental conference.

This week I’d like to recommend some post-conference activities that will “close the loop” on your conference endeavors.

“Close the loop.” An interesting expression that I am using in the following way:

It literally means adding the final piece that is needed to finish creating a circle.

The term is most commonly used to mean giving someone the last piece of information that they needed in order to completely understand something.

So, what do we do to add that last piece that will promotes better understanding and completely harness the value from your annual conference?

I’ll make the following five points.

post86 picWith the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) approximately 8.3 million adults will gain dental Medicaid benefits in 2014. 

This is the result of increased Medicaid eligibility and states either expanding adult dental care or adding it for the first time. 

The ADA’s Health Policy Resources Center recently published a research brief outlining the impact. 

I encourage you to follow the link, above, and read the report.  Here are a few highlights.




• This graphic was provided showing the breakdown of how Americans get their healthcare coverage:

                           Source:  The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Note that Medicaid is relied on for 17% of the people in the U.S.

post 85 picWhere else can dental professionals go to learn updated clinical strategies, see and touch the latest technology, network with other dental professionals, buy a bottle (or two) of wine and win a 2014 Ford Mustang? 

You got it!  The Oregon Dental Conference is upon us once again April 3-5, 2014 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.  

I have attended ‘a few’ dental conferences in my professional lifetime, mostly on the west coast. 

But I have yet to see a dental conference that offers the fun side of dentistry right along with valuable educational opportunities packed into a three day session such as we see at the ODC. 

And yet, each year it seems that they have more to offer to enrich your practice (as if the Mustang wasn’t enough?). 

Thursday, 06 March 2014 09:13

Bitcoins for Bitewings

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post 83 picA very brief news article on a trade website recently caught my eye with the title “Florida dentist accepts bitcoin for treatment”. 

I had a limited understanding of Bitcoin, considering it to be very leading edge technology and not one due to impact dentistry anytime soon.  The idea of it being used by this dentist needed further investigation.

Let me first try to answer the question many of you likely have, “What are bitcoins?” 

Bitcoins are a virtual currency first mentioned in a 2008 paper published under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto.  It is a peer-to-peer payment system using completely digital currency. 

They aren’t dollars or euros or pesos, they are bitcoins.  There is no government backing to this currency, just a community that agrees to accept it as a symbol of value changing hands.

Now, if you feel uncomfortable with this notion, you should consider that almost all forms of money are virtual. When you buy a hamburger at McDonalds, the coins or pieces of paper that you hand the cashier do not, in themselves, contain the value of the sandwich you are receiving.  They simply represent this value in the eyes of the community. 

Thursday, 30 January 2014 10:29

Accessing your Dental Office Computers Remotely

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post 78 picOn January 21st LogMeIn, Inc. announced the end of their free remote connectivity application. 

Many dental offices have used this tool to access their systems from outside the office. 

The end of this free lunch may send you looking for an alternative and I have a few comments before you make that decision.

LogMeIn and its competitors (i.e. GoToMyPC) generically use a webhosted remote access technology that provides you a door into a remote host (your office PC). 

The transmission is through a secure sockets layer (SSL) that encrypts the communications. 

I’ve read white papers on these products justifying their use under HIPAA rules and am relatively confident that they meet the necessary requirements.  

The difficulty comes with their usability.  The technology is there to view your office PC from your smart phone, but the difference in screen sizes makes it very difficult. 

post 76 picAs I posted earlier, businesses offering Wi-Fi connections to their customers are becoming increasingly common and dental offices are no exception. 

As you look at doing this, keep in mind that you are not a coffee shop or hotel.  You are what HIPAA defines as a covered entity and that comes with rules and regulations that Starbucks and Hilton don’t need to observe.

Wi-Fi is a wonderful tool that can extend your Local Area Network (LAN) into unwired spaces of your office, such as the waiting room or break room.  With this extension comes ease of access, convenience and possibly increased productivity. 

It is modern technology that will reach through walls, floors, around dividers and even past locked doors. 

Your wireless network might easily extend into your parking lot or the neighboring office.  This will increase your exposure to network intrusion and the potential disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI).  

There are some simple precautions that you can take when establishing your Wi-Fi network that can limit the possibility of nefarious activities.

Thursday, 09 January 2014 10:07

All Wi-Fi’s are Not Created Equal

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post 75 picIt seems like everywhere you go businesses are offering Wi-Fi for their customers or employees.  I recently sat in a car on a street corner and my phone found ten Wi-Fi networks within range. 

If you plan to provide this in your dental practice, here are a few technical points to consider before making the plunge.  

A Little History

In 1997 the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) created the standard for connecting wireless devices to a Local Area Network (LAN). 

This standard was given the catchy name “802.11”. 

What would you expect from engineers?  As technology progressed the standard became a family of standards:  802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n. 

Many differences exist between each family member, but for our purposes each succeeding generation became faster and generally a longer range. 

The current top-of-the-line is 802.11ac which some vendors claim will provide gigabit speeds, rivaling wired networks.

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