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Moving to the Right – Your Dental Journey

I got a day off today and I sat down and thought about how I’ve ‘reinvented’ myself many times over the past 15 years. Whether it’s as a dental educator or as a practicing dentist.These days when I speak it’s not so much about clinical techniques, but more about your journey. We go through 3 phases in dentistry – general dentistry, advanced dentistry, and emotional dentistry.

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Moving to the Right

Let me begin by saying there is nothing wrong in staying in the general dentistry phase. One can make a tremendous living and have great satisfaction there. But the truth is that way too many of us are stuck there and have desires and goals to be much more than that.

If you complain about your practice, dental insurance, your team members, your finances, your patients, your dentistry, etc – then you need to have a plan of action to advance yourself. You are begging for something different.

I call it ‘Moving to the Right’

Each of us are going to have a different definition of general dentistry, advanced dentistry, and emotional dentistry. It should constantly evolve as we grow. For example, I once considered a single dental implant emotional dentistry – I now consider it the overlap of general dentistry and advanced dentistry (the lightning bolt).

So how do you move to the right?

  • You invest in leadership. Leadership is about how you communicate with patients, team members, and others around you. Leadership is about leading by example.
  • You invest in technology. Technology allows you greater diagnostic and presentation skills to help your patients say yes to the best.
  • You invest in a winning team. Without a great support team who are aligned in your vision (leadership) and great with technology, it will be very difficult to move to the right. Allow and encourage your team members to move to the right in their careers as well.
  • You commit to lifelong education. What services are you able to provide your patients? Are they the same services that you’ve had in your tool belt for the last several years? No wonder you aren’t growing and aren’t moving to the right to achieve greater satisfaction.
    So make today the day you commit to moving to the right.

What’s the first step?

  • Define what it would look like for you to love going to work everyday.
  • Define what it would look like to be happy in your personal life.
  • Define what it would look like to stop stressing about finances.

Until you define the target you can’t have something to shoot for.

This year I defined getting more time with my kids as taking a week off every 6 weeks and having a family vacation. We are achieving that.

I have defined professional satisfaction as working 3 days a week after dropping my kids to school in the morning. It is further defined by making 2017 the year that I no longer do fillings and single crowns.

I have defined stopping financial stress by having a concrete plan of action to create financial freedom by age 55. What is the number? What do I have to save/invest each month to achieve that number by age 55? Take that number and make it a monthly bill that gets paid automatically.

Dentistry can afford us so many unique opportunities. Take advantage. You are in control of your own destiny!

t-bone-podcast

T-Bone Speaks is a podcast dedicated to helping you achieve clinical, financial, and personal balance. You’ll love the entertaining demeanor and down to earth approach to dentistry.

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New Healthcare Domains

domain-names

The new healthcare domains are significantly more expensive than the usual .com domains. Around $65 as opposed to $10 or less for most .com names.

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….. Check to see if your domain is available with our Domain Name Search tool.

Source: Domain Name Registration | Domain Name Search | NetworkSolutions.com

At this time people think just in terms of .com and usually an alternative domain like .net or .biz is not all that useful. However as we continue to grow and use the Internet more diverse domain names will be needed and eventually having a .dental will be valuable.

The graphic and link above is from NetworkSolutions. I looked for these same alternative domains, like .dental on Go Daddy and did not see them offered.

For $65 it could be a good investment, however I would not use it as my primary URL just yet.

Originally posted on Emmott on Technology

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Don’t sell donuts

dont-sell-donuts

Let me describe a company and see if you can guess its name. I will quickly narrow your choices by revealing that this company is what the industry calls a QSR (Quick Service Restaurants, aka a fast food place). This company has thousands of locations the world over. Customers walk up to the counter to order, they experience speedy service and either take their order to go or sit down in the restaurant. What company name comes to mind? I suspect you are thinking of McDonald’s, Burger King or some other burger place, or maybe even Subway or Chipotle. Chances are you did not think of Starbucks, even though the description above totally fits. Why is that? Because Starbucks doesn’t want you to think of them that way! They don’t view themselves as a QSR. Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme and Tim Hortons think of themselves as a QSR, but Starbucks doesn’t. Why? Because they don’t sell donuts. More on that later.

Imagine I started a business serving people who hate to do grocery shopping, so I hire people to do the shopping and to deliver it to your home. Assuming you were interested in that service, you will probably pay me a meager amount over and above the cost of the groceries and my cost in employing people to do the work. In other words, my gross margin on that business would be paltry. Said differently, even though I might amass large revenues, passing the cost of the groceries through the revenue line, the quality of my revenue would be poor. If, in addition, my staff were to unpack the grocery bags and stock your pantry and refrigerator, you would receive more value. Further, if I were to install detectors in your pantry and refrigerator that automatically determined your supply needs, and if I gave you an app on your smartphone with your needs all filled in for you to edit, you would appreciate that value even more. With each of these additional features, I improve my quality of revenue. The quality of your revenue – best measured by the gross margin you command – is a measure of your customers’ perception of the value you provide compared to their alternatives. How good is the quality of your revenue? How can you improve the quality?

Value is created by the use of capital and the use of labor. For example, a manufacturing company uses capital to procure raw materials and uses labor to turn the raw materials into a finished product that somebody finds valuable. A warehousing company might use capital to procure a warehouse and forklifts and use labor to store and retrieve warehoused products. An accounting firm uses very little capital but has considerable use for talented labor to provide their services. During the industrial revolution, when source of capital was considerably restricted, value was created using both capital and labor. But, today, when reasonable amounts of capital is much more readily available, there is a commoditized minimal premium for value created through the use of capital. So, to create quality revenue you must create significant value through talented labor.

What the customer is willing to pay for your goods and services is a function of both the real and perceived value of your offering in comparison to the alternatives they have. For example, McDonald’s cost in providing a hamburger to a customer – including all the cost of the store, furnishings, labor, etc. – is about $1.50. Interestingly, that is about the same as the cost incurred by Starbucks in providing a customer with one of their craft coffees. Yet, McDonald’s seems to need to sell its hamburger for $2.50 while Starbucks charges almost $4.00 for its coffee. Starbucks enjoys a much higher quality of revenue than McDonald’s does.

Why is that? Because, Starbucks doesn’t sell donuts. And, if they ever do, they won’t be your ordinary glazed donut for 99 cents, intended to be bought by the dozen. Rather, they’d be craft donuts, to be devoured and savored, and sold for at least two dollars and change. Starbucks doesn’t sell coffee; they offer you a coffee experience. If that experience requires that they offer pastries, they will do so. But it is the experience that is important. McDonald’s sells you food. Starbucks offers you an experience. That brand positioning allows them to create higher quality revenue.

Having grown up in the high tech world, I have always been amazed how Dell, Cisco and Intel are all $50-60 billion dollar high tech companies, but with distinctly different quality of revenues. Dell, for the most part, neither designs nor manufactures their computers — they market and sell them. For that service, they enjoy 20% gross margin. In contrast, Cisco hires talented engineers who design advanced servers and routers, but farms out the manufacturing to Asia. They, too, market and sell their products. But, for that extra work of their talented engineers they enjoy 60% gross margin. Intel does it all – they design, manufacture, market and sell their products. It invests billions of dollars in manufacturing plants and employs people to run them in two and three shifts. For all that work, it enjoys 65% gross margin. Which of these companies enjoy high quality revenue? Clearly, both Cisco and Intel do. But Cisco seems to have figured out what creates quality in their revenue.

Quality of revenue is achieved by providing value that is unique, maintaining a perception of that value through a brand proposition that includes pricing. If you sell your products cheap, you might increase volume, but you will harm the quality of your revenue. It is a tradeoff. The same is true if you discount your products. I ran a number of electronic instrumentation businesses. These high tech instruments often sold for tens of thousands of dollars. Additionally, we would sell software that would analyze the data gathered by the instruments. The software packages would often sell for equal or higher value than the hardware, and customers would often ask for a discount. I had a simple policy: I would never discount the software; and if I felt obliged to discount the hardware, I would give some of the hardware away for free. Why is that? Nobody asks for another piece of hardware for free the next time because they know there is a real cost to manufacturing the hardware. However, they will be tempted to ask for more copies of software for free.

Quality of revenue is achieved by brand positioning (what customers think of you), product positioning (what customers think of your product) and price positioning (what customers think of your value). You must actively and intentionally manage all three. There is nothing wrong with a business like McDonald’s or Dell. If that is the nature of your business, you must be operationally excellent. However, if your business is like Starbucks or Cisco, and you want to maintain the quality of your revenues, make sure that you don’t get tempted to start selling donuts.

Originally published on ThinkShift.com

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Big Time Fines – HIPAA and the punitive fines that are being levied on medical and dental facilities

data-security

The ADA News reports that a North Carolina ortho clinic has agreed to pay $750,000 to the federal government to settle charges that the clinic potentially violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 2013 by giving patient information to a potential business partner without a Business Associate Agreement (BAA).The clinic was fined three quarters of a million dollars just because they failed to execute a business associate agreement with a company that was duplicating x-rays.

There is no indication that any patient data was compromised, no patients suffered identity theft or were harmed in any way. The clinic simply failed to do some paper work.

As frightening as that is, this is worse. A medical research group has agreed to a $3.9 million settlement after an investigation determined that a stolen laptop contained the electronic protected health information (EPHI) of approximately 13,000 patients.

NOTE: The data was not hacked. It was exposed when a laptop was stolen. There is no evidence presented that the data was used in a malicious fashion or that anyone was harmed by identity theft.

The fine amounts to $300 for each of the 13,000 records that were lost.

If you lost a laptop or a thumb-drive with your 3000 dental patient records on it then an equivalent fine would be $900,000. Your liability insurance will not cover this fine. Could you stay in business if you were required to pay almost a million dollars out of pocket?

You can protect yourself in three ways.

1. Ensure that all patient data stored anywhere is stored in an encrypted fashion.
2. Do not store patient data on a local computer but keep all PHI in the cloud.
3. Get adequate insurance. (see below)

PCIHIPAA
Most dental liability policies do not cover HIPAA violations or else have very low limits. My friends at PCIHIPAA provide insurance that can cover you if you do have a data breach.

A technology risk assessment is required in order for your office to be HIPAA Compliant. A great way to get started with PCIHIPAA is to take advantage of their free assessment. Find out about any potential risks, what you can do about them and get a quote on insurance to cover you just in case.

Free Assessment

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Data Driven Patient Satisfaction for your Practice

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Yes, I admit it – I LOVE DATA! In this article I will detail some real life examples from my group dental practice of how objective data can support best possible customer satisfaction. Customer service is more than a smile and the warm and fuzzies.Let’s start with asking what are the primary goals of your practice? I think it would be safe to say that every practice seeks to achieve success in the following areas:

1. Satisfied patients.
2. Integrated, effective, happy team.
3. Financial health and growth.

In this article I would like to share some thoughts about #1. Satisfied Patients, without which the other goals are unlikely to be achieved. I will assume that you already have a degree of financial success and a great team of Linchpins ready to seek out new ways to advance your practice.

I hope you also agree that the best way to achieve satisfied patients is through outstanding customer service. OK, now let’s take a look at how great customer service can be cultivated and the results measured objectively in a dental practice.

So, what measurements best reflect whether or not your practice is perceived by patients as being a great place to receive dental care?

Growing or dying: One high level indicator of overall satisfaction certainly would be continued patronage as reflected in your monthly active patient totals. Be realistic folks. This is not the total number of patients in your database (except for those who have been in practice less than 2 years). Consider active patients to be patients who have been PHYSICALLY in the building for treatment in the past 2 years. Consider utilizing an even more powerful metric for this data set – a Trailing 12 Report. This report simply compares the current 12 month total with previous 12 month chunks, going back one month at a time so that you are comparing year over year retrospectively. A good report to show whether you are growing or dying year over year, and a hint that customer service may be slipping over time if growth is slowing.

Post appointment surveys: Additional insights into quality of customer service can be derived from post appointment survey return results. We send out a survey same day to every patient seen during the day. Lighthouse 360 has fully automated this program for us. Fix what the customer complains about, augment what they rave about.

Testimonial acquisition: Next let’s look at another trackable activity, testimonial acquisition. We have customized the Lighthouse post appointment survey to include a request for a testimonial, including patient consent to use in electronic media. Post testimonials on your website. Start your weekly/monthly team meetings by reading all the testimonials good and bad.

Hopefully you are acquiring additional insights on how well your practice is taking care of patients by means of such things as “Ask for Testimonials” programs which encourage and enable patients to post testimonials on Google+, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc.

The more good data (Testimonials) that your patients post on the web, the more you learn, and more evidence exists to encourage new patient growth and overall growth of your practice.

There are, of course, many other ways to improve customer satisfaction in your practice. However, in my practice I have found that the above data points and programs are key to creating virtuous cycles that drive patient satisfaction and growth predictively over time regardless of economic conditions.

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