From ADA News:
Ransomware, a rapidly growing form of cyber attack, is a type of malicious software that encrypts a user’s data and holds it for ransom. It can affect any computer device. Most ransomware infects systems through “spam, phishing messages, websites and email attachments,” according to the Office of Civil Rights.
Source: Protect your office from ransomware
The linked article gives a good overview f the ransomware issue. The primary things we need to do to protect ourselves is to create multiple off site back ups and to train the safe to recognize suspect e-mails. There is also a link to a new OCR fact sheet in ransomware and HIPAA.
From IEEE Spectrum:
Researchers have developed a reliable early warning system for dengue fever outbreaks in Lahore, the capital city of the province of Punjab in Pakistan. Based on statistical analysis of dengue-related phone calls to a public health hotline, the system can track the incidence of symptoms down to the neighborhood and give local government officials a three-week heads up on potential outbreaks.
Source: Telephone Hotline Data Forecasts Dengue Outbreaks Three Weeks Ahead – IEEE Spectrum
This is not a dental topic but it does demonstrate how big data will be used to help diagnose and treatment plan in the future. Events that do not seem to have a direct medical dental significance, like telephone calls, can be used to anticipate and then prevent or treat disease. The challenge is to determine what matters in the enormous amounts of data we now accumulate on people and populations every day.
I was on a bike tour with a large medical data processing group. Talking with them about what they did this phrase came out repeatedly: “Data is not information.”
As dentists using computers we generate a lot of data. However if we cannot assemble that data into a meaningful format it has little value. Beyond that what does it mean? Just knowing the numbers is not useful unless we can turn the number into significant action.
Here is an example. Your computer keeps track of the number of prophys you do and the total production of every service you provide. That is data. You can assemble that data to give you a ratio of the prophy income to total income. Numbers or ratios of this kind are called Key Performance Indicators or KPIs. Now what?
In order to act on that data you need to know how your prophy to income ratio or KPI compares with the norm and with the ideal. You also need to know what action you can take if the KPI indicates a problem.
Finally you need to monitor change after the actions are taken turning data once again into information.
Few dentists have the training or experience to use this kind of business information effectively. That is why we rely so heavily on business consultants. Dentrix users have another option.
Dentrix offers an online consulting service called Profitability Coaching. Profitability Coaching monitors the data generated by your Dentrix system generates KPIs and then creates a personalized action plan for your office. Finally they will monitor results and follow up with help as needed.
No one wants to look at their mistakes. But even when confronted about their mistakes, many medical and dental staff don’t think they’ve breached any privacy rules. Then they repeat the behavior. This is why you need to stop and make a conscious effort to pay attention to what you’re doing and how you’re handling patients. This is a common problem, and many practices deny it. But patients definitely hear and see things.
Source: This might surprise you about HIPAA and your dental practice – DentistryIQ
The author of the linked article makes some good points about patient confidentiality and professionalism. However the experience she writes about does not really have anything to do with HIPAA. She recounts an experience at a surgeons office in which she overheard patients and staff discussing procedures. This is inappropriate and should be avoided but does not represent a HIPAA violation.
HIPAA has to do with records and the transfer of information. HIPAA is concerned about data breaches, or medical plans selling patient data. The HIPAA police do not care if you mention a patient by name in the reception room. They do care if you loose your data to a computer thief.
Having said that, good protocol and professionalism requires that dentists and staff members respect patient privacy and refrain from speaking in such a way that others can hear conversations regarding treatment or diagnosis. And of course no one should ever discuss a patient with anyone outside the office.
Norman Rockwell drawing. Last weeks “art” was so bizarre and cruel I thought we should do something the exact opposite this week. It is hard to imagine anything more wholesome than Norman Rockwell. Actually I believe this is not actually a dentist but a physician having the patient say “ahh”. But it’s close enough.
Dental art is anything that depicts teeth or dentistry in an interesting or artistic way. If you have any suggestions for future Dental Art pieces please send them to me or give me a link. Thanks.
All the Dental Art images can be found here on Pinterest.
Since space is almost always an issue in the treatment rooms smaller keyboards are often a good choice. There are many mini keyboards available. This image shows the basic difference between a standard and a mini keyboard.