dental business Tag Archive

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Secure-Mail Protects Dentist-Patient Confidentiality

dentist-patient-conf

Many of the work processes in dentistry are from the era of dentists meeting patients in the exam room, recording items on clipboards, and calling other dentists or doctors where necessary. Trust is and always has been a cornerstone of the dentist-patient interaction, but in the digital era, that trust goes along with a culture of data sharing.

High quality digital imaging available for consultation, patient records and doctor collaborations allows dentists to participate in the ecosystem of health data around American patients. As the oral-systemic health connection continues to be recognized, collaborative tools and demands will keep pace with technology and allow dentists to communicate patient data to interested parties.

But protecting the patient’s trust, and personal data, requires specific steps to protect and safeguard that data. Between HIPAA, HI-TECH and PIPEDA, regulations continue to develop and constrain what can be shared, and how. Many dentists do not realize that emailing referrals or images to laboratories can be illegal and break HIPAA compliance.

Software and technology have stepped into this gap. Secure email is offered by different providers to allow dentists to safely, securely share information without breaking the law or compromising patient trust. These out-of-the-box solutions offer immediate compliance and security, operating with existing clinical and practice management systems. Examples include BrightSquid’s Secure-Mail, and RecordLinc‘s referral services. Dental practices can modify behaviors and learn to operate in a HIPAA-compliant fashion, but for those short on time, a technology solution may be a faster and more realistic step.

Lessons Learned:

  • No conventional email solution is secure or compliant for transferring or accessing patient information.
  • Out-of-the-box secure communications systems can be added to existing software to meet HIPAA and patient privacy needs.
  • Collaboration and patient data sharing is likely to continue to rise.

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Clinical Excellence = Business Success? My story.

I worry about dental students, new graduates, and those in their early years of practice. Are they as naïve nowadays as was I a few decades ago?  I hope not, but chances are that many will have difficulty finding their way in the first few years (perhaps much longer) for lack of business knowhow.  I wonder how other dentists with extensive practice experience, looking back, would rate their preparedness for the real world of dentistry upon graduation.

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Supporting career growth for your staff

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Excitement of the New and Unknown

Supporting career growth for your staff

Supporting career growth for your staff.

Food for Thought is our way of sharing interesting concepts on corporate leadership and management with others who might find it useful. The thoughts offered are intended to be controversial and thought provoking. They always follow our motto of helping develop logical leadership. This article is, in part, a farewell to Gwen Hickmond, a forward look at the new person we will be hiring to replace Gwen, and a reiteration of a leadership tool called Personal Assets and Liabilities.

We have written on related topics in the past, for example, see Time to Prepare Three Envelopes.

Many of you know Gwen Hickmond, who was with LogiStyle for 2 ½ years. You might have met her at one of our workshops or spoken to her on the phone. She has moved on to her next rung in her career, a wonderful marketing opportunity with JBA Consulting Engineers. With this Food for Thought article, we celebrate her move to the next chapter of her career and wish her success. Our excitement and joy probably needs explanation. Why is an employer happy to see their employee move on to the next job?

At LogiStyle, we hire recent college graduates, usually with little or no work experience, offer them a great opportunity to learn about marketing, event planning and leadership, and give them an opportunity to interact with accomplished corporate executives and CEOs at our workshops. While it is a great job for a recent college graduate, there is little growth opportunity within our small company.

So we tell them at the time of hiring that this job is good for about three years. They should use it as a stepping stone for their next career move. We help them through that process by forcing the conversation at each of their monthly, 1-1 meetings with me. From day 1 on the job, they are required to articulate their career interests, do research on where and how they could fulfill those aspirations, take active steps to explore those possibilities, and in two to three years settle on the right opportunity and move forward. In our short history of six years, Stefanie Call, Emily Meath and Courtney Brinkhoff have moved on. Now, it is Gwen Hickmond’s turn.

Interestingly enough, Gwen was recruited by one of our clients. Dwayne Miller, CEO of JBA Consulting Engineers, had met Gwen and spent three days with her at one of our L3 workshops, where Gwen was responsible for the entire event – the selection of the location, the negotiation with the hotel to draft a contract, the marketing of the event, registration of participants, all of the arrangements for the event, and orchestration of the event on-site. When Dwayne heard of our transition policy, he asked us if he could consider her for a position in his company. Then in the most professional way, he handed over the opportunity to one of his managers, who had an open position and let that manager consider Gwen on his own terms.

Of course, we celebrate Gwen’s transition with mixed emotions. Gwen contributed greatly to LogiStyle. She was very comfortable here. The staff referred to her as the Boss, since I was always traveling and seldom in the office. But imagine Gwen’s excitement – and, discomfort – this week, starting a new job. Everything is new and different. Nothing is familiar. A great opportunity in front of her. How she presents herself, deals with situations, interacts with people, etc., in the next six months, will shape her capacity to influence and contribute in this new position. She is probably excited and she is probably nervous. There is excitement in the new and unknown. There is power in that excitement.Ask yourself how many of your employees have that excitement they had in their first six months.

Chances are you are listing the employees that joined in the last six months. What are you doing to maintain that excitement? What are you doing to keep them from getting comfortable? Is being comfortable in a job a good thing? Or, does it lead to complacency and stagnation? Would you rather have somebody still growing into the job or would you prefer somebody who already knows everything about the job? In which situation is more value being created, for the employer and the employee, both individually and collectively? How comfortable are your employees?

We have maintained that when an employee leaves a company and returns after a few years, the success of that re-hire is likely to be less than if you had made a brand new hire. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, as admitted in that article. One of the drawbacks of a returning hire is that they don’t have that same sense of excitement. They are likely to be more comfortable than a brand new hire. You want your new employee to have that sense of excitement and discomfort.

We will soon be hiring a new employee to replace Gwen. We are looking forward to the excitement, ideas, enthusiasm, and untainted perspective that this new person will bring us. Is that worth the cost of training the new person into the new job? Absolutely!

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Marketing 101: Be Unique to Make your Dental Practice Stand Out

dental-business-branding

Your brand is not just a logo – it is commonly defined as your customer’s experience with your dental office. A brand is what your customers think of you and IS a reflection of everything you do: the way you send emails, your website, your Tweets, how you describe your business, and the logo on your business cards. It’s a complex mixture of feelings and personalities that make your customers love your work.

Therefore, your first plan of action should be to make define the difference that makes your practice unique, then create your identity pieces to coordinate. Here are some specifics on how to accomplish a successful and unique brand.

Step One – Determining your Brand’s Identity

First you have to define your market position – the features of your office or services that makes you different – also known as your Unique Sales Position. What follows is to create pieces such as a logo, business cards, website, and other marketing materials that are representations of that position.

For example if your dental practice specializes in state of the art surgery, your website would seem more credible with images of a sleek and shiny dental tools and equipment. An image of a dental chair with a retro dental chair in an old school setting would be contradictory and create brand confusion for your potential clients.

Your dental practice will need a logo, tagline and color scheme to define its professional identity online. Fortunately there are some online resources that can help you do just that –

Kuler is a website that includes some beautiful color schemes that you can use to create your brand’s identity

Logo Pond has an impressive collection of logos. Click on the search option at the top right corner for immediate results and search for “dentist” for immediate results.

Step Two – Your Letterhead and Business Card

Once you have created an online identity for your brand, the next step would be to use certain resources to produce a physical expressions of your brand. You cannot afford to be cheap with your marketing, be sure to hire a professional designer – a professional designer will have a considerable amount of experience creating business cards so it is best that you hire their services instead of trying to design these items yourself. Your business card, like your online identity will be what your clients will associate your dental practice with. This in turn will have a bearing on your status as a professional service.

Offer your clients an elegant, thick letterhead, business cards, or appointment reminder cards that gives them a tactile experience of high quality and contrasts with all of the digital contact that is increasingly common.

Here are a few places to find inspiration for business cards:

  • Flickr Art of Business Card Pool and Inspiredology simply give you a pool of images of business cards.
  • Corporate Identity Designs and All Graphic Design have images of sets of cards, letterhead and envelopes to give you ideas of how to put it all together

Market your dental practice by investing in items that will help you express your unique position and be memorable. Spending time thinking abut your branding is a valuable exercise that can reveal and redefine your business to be best positioned to set your dental practice apart. It is never just the logo or business card and should always consider the overall customer experience you want to offer.

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