Following is a transfer of postings from the original blog site. I have simply copied them below. They are not formatted and there are no active links. I plan to update all of that soon. In the meantime if you want the links and the original posts go to Old Blog Page
ROI Digital Radiography
From Sally McKenzie e-newsletter
There are many reasons for dentists to convert from film to digital radiography, including improved diagnostic capability, greater patient acceptance of treatment recommendations, and increased efficiency. But one of the most important reasons, from a practice management point-of-view, lies in improved cash flow and return on investment. I’d like to compare the two technologies as far as their impact on your practice’s finances is concerned……………..
In other words, on day six you’ll begin realizing your return on investment. That’s one of the fastest returns you’re ever likely to get for your money. And by the end of the first month, when you make your first lease payment, you’ll hardly miss the money. That’s because you’ll already have realized at least $1,300.00 in savings. The ROI for digital radiography starts early and never goes away. It’s one of the best financial moves you can make.
Sally shows how an office saves $500 a month on supplies and $800 to $1,000 a month in staff costs. For the whole story look here in the newsletter archives.
Posted by Larry Emmott on 5/26/05; 5:50:40 AM from the dept.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Presenting Ideal Dental Treatment
We would all like to believe that humans make decisions based on facts and logic. If we just educate people about what they need, they will do it. Of course it doesn’t work that way at all. If education and telling worked everyone would floss, no one would smoke and we’d all be at our ideal weight.
The fact is that in order to have people accept our recommendations we need to communicate effectively and engage people emotionally. Digital technology, which includes photos, x-rays, video and even the Internet allows us to do that faster and better than ever before.
Posted by Larry Emmott on 5/15/05; 8:19:57 PM from the dept.
Blogging in the News
Did you see the cover story of the May 2 Business Week? It was all about blogs and the amazing new information transfer power blogs provide. I have no link to the online version it requires a registration.
Posted by Larry Emmott on 5/15/05; 8:17:27 PM from the dept.
What the Bleep does that mean?
One of my favorite techy web sites is webopedia. It is a wonderful online dictioanry for technology, computer and Internet terms. Have you ever read an article or listened to a speaker and they throw out some tech acronym jargon and you have no idea what it means? I admit it has happened to me plenty of times. For example the webopedia term of the day is PaDSL. What the bleep does that mean? Webopedia says…
Acronym for “Private Access DSL”.
PaDSL is a solution for creating secure private broadband VPNs (virtual private network). PaDSL is a cost-effective alternative to traditional frame relay, leased line and ISDN WAN networks. It is most useful to business or organizations who wants to use DSL as an access technology for WAN//VPN objectives without the inherent risk of using the public Internet as the access medium.
Notice that within the body of the definition are hyperlinks to other terms that may not be well understood. Like what the bleep is VPN? Wepopedia says…
(pronounced as separate letters) Short for virtual private network, a network that is constructed by using public wires to connect nodes. For example, there are a number of systems that enable you to create networks using the Internet as the medium for transporting data. These systems use encryption and other security mechanisms to ensure that only authorized users can access the network and that the data cannot be intercepted.
Check it out for yourself Webopedia
Posted by Larry Emmott on 5/15/05; 7:24:54 PM from the dept.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Lost and Found
Lost and found: Organise your hard disk
We show you how to organise all your hard disk data with the best free utilities around
Rob Hawkins, Computeractive 28 Apr 2005
Before the capacity of computer hard disks became as large as it is today, most of us stashed our old record collections, photo prints from past holidays, bank statements and letters in lofts, cardboard boxes and garden sheds.
As a storage strategy it wasn’t the most efficient in terms of either space or time and locating what you were looking for could often be a challenge.
The digital era has allowed us to reclaim storage space around the house and store pictures, music files and any number of documents on our home PCs, but keeping tabs on all these items can be just as frustrating as rummaging through dusty boxes in the attic.
Read the whole article here
Posted by Larry Emmott on 5/14/05; 3:16:48 PM from the dept.
More Than Just Megapixels
From Daniel Grotta and Sally Weiner at PC Magazine
Pushing the old adage that more is better, most manufacturers market their newest digital cameras by touting how many more megapixels they have than previous or competing models. By this logic, a 4MP digital camera can’t possibly be as good as one with 5MP, and an 8MP unit has to be better than a 6MP model. Right?
Wrong. Megapixels are a measure of quantity (the amount of data captured), not quality. A digital camera’s image quality is based not on a single component, but on an entire system. True, the heart of the system is the image sensor, with however many megapixels, but that’s only part of the equation of how image quality is achieved.
Some of the other issues that influence image quality are pixel size, chip material, lens quality, and the ADC which converts the light signal to digital.
Read the whole article here.
Posted by Larry Emmott on 5/12/05; 8:37:43 AM from the dept.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Something to look for at the CDA booth #2446. Here is some marketing hype from their web site.
The new MagnaVu Scope from MVD produces precise, clear, highly magnified images that can eliminate the need for magnified loupes or microscopes- No more eyestrain! The MagnaVu allows you to view high resolution, highly magnified images on a flat LCD video display from a more natural, upright posture, similar to medical surgery. In fact, the versatile MagnaVu could actually replace most cameras and microscopes currently being used in the operatory.
By incorporating this new scope and a more ergonomic posture position during procedures, the MagnaVu can reduce aches and pains, improve the level of care provided to your patients, and increase production. The MagnaVu not only provides excellent images- it may actually prolong your dental career!
30 Must Have PC Skills
From Vunet.com Everythting you need to know about Windows but were afraid to ask. Thanks to Tim Healy from TNT Dental for alerting me to this.
Despite initial appearances, it’s not very hard to master Windows and, once you have, you’ll find it surprisingly simple to make it work the way you want it to. The key to doing this is learning the tips and tricks that advanced users take for granted. Once you have done so, you will find that you can work and play faster and more efficiently than before.
1. Move and copy files
2. Navigate using keyboard shortcuts
3. Use shortcuts in Word
4. Install and remove new hardware
5. Send image files as attachments
6. Search your hard disk
7. Hard disk maintenance (including disk cleanup and defragmenter)
8. System restore and backup
9. Update software online
10. Create desktop shortcuts
11. Use internet options tools in Internet Explorer
12. Create a CD
13. Remove spyware
14. Adding a trusted site to a firewall.
15. Use the Google advanced search tool
Read the whole article here There are 15 more must have skills with complete descriptions of them all.
Posted by Larry Emmott on 5/11/05; 5:06:44 AM from the dept.
Monday, May 9, 2005
This is the latest from Tom Orent. He is the 1000 Gems guy.
There are MANY reasons you MUST have computers in the OPS today for maximum PRODUCTIVITY and for the TOP possible PROFITABILITY
One KILLER reason: Scheduling chairside! Beyond a shadow of a doubt, allowing a patient to leave the op and head towards the front door (to be scheduled by team in front office area) is THE quickest way to DECREASE the percentage of patients who actually SCHEDULE recommended care. Bar none. Once you allow their feet to hit the floor and head them toward to door, you LOSE MONEY.
Then there’s the new high resolution digital photography.
IF you are still using intraoral cameras you’re HANDCUFFING yourself… behind the back! The new cameras can be had
for not much over 1,000.00 (you don’t need every bell and whistle to get a GREAT high resolution shot)… or 1500.00 for a complete all-inclusive system
Then there’s CAESY patient education system, digital x-ray you can likely come up with many MORE uses for computers in the ops today…
Posted by Larry Emmott on 5/9/05; 8:59:32 PM from the dept.
Amazing 3D CT
I just saw some truly amazing technology. The Hitachi CB MercuRay Cone Beam CTscanner. This device can generate incredible images of the head and mouth area which can be sectioned and analyzed in any plane and even rendered into a 3D image. The company providing this breakthrough technology is ClearSCAN. They have opened an imaging center in Phoenix and have plans to expand into other western states.
This is a 3D rendering of a lateral view if a 16yo male with impacted teeth. More conventional images are also available and can be rotated to be viewed in any direction.
In addition to the amazing Hitachi Machine ClearSCAN has an even better asset. That is Dale Miles. Dale literally wrote the book on digital radiography and is one of only a handful of board certified radiologists in the US. Dale uses his extensive knowledge to analyze each scan and has discovered some hidden pathology including sinus polyps, cysts and even neural tumors. The latest improvement is a CD that comes with each scan that includes the entire patient scan data (about 250MB) selected scan images from Dale and even some 3D video clips along with free viewing software. In this way the referring dentist can not only look at and read Dale’s expert opinion but can review the images from any angle multiple times prior to treatment.
Posted by Larry Emmott on 5/9/05; 8:51:23 PM from the dept.
Tuesday, May 3, 2005
Grandpa was Wrong
My grandfather was a dentist practicing in Canada one hundred years ago. At that time there was an amazing new technology that many dentists were just starting to use. However, according to my grandfather, the technology was really just a trick to fool patients. That technology was X-Ray.
Today we look back on the past and have a hard time believing that people could have been so wrong. How could a dentist not see the value in what we now consider an essential diagnostic device? Like many well-educated and successful people he was suffering from early user cognitive dissonance. On the other hand today we are bombarded with new technology and the reaction from many dentists is just like my grandfather. What will they think of us one hundred years from today?
One of today’s technologies that suffers from early user cognitive dissonance is lasers. Many dentists think lasers are just an expensive gimmick; a trick to fool patients. However the fact is that lasers are likely to have just as profound an effect on the practice of dentistry in the next century as X-rays did in the last.
I have been using a diode laser since 1999. I couldn’t be a dentist today without my laser. I use it to contour gingiva, control bleeding, trough preps in place of cord, treat perio, and much more. Currently I am using the Odyssey laser from Ivoclar and have been very pleased with it.
Posted by Larry Emmott on 5/3/05; 7:55:32 PM from the dept.
The Digital Nervous System
In his best selling book “Business @ the Speed of Thought” Bill Gates says that “business will change more in the next ten years than it has in the last fifty.” He bases this prediction in large part on what he calls “the digital nervous system”. What that refers to is the complete connection of all parts of a business through computer networks, then the connection of all businesses to each other and finally the complete connection of customers through computers and the Internet. This digital nervous system will allow for the instant flow of information transforming everything we do.
In the dental office the system would connect the treatment rooms to the front desk, but it won’t stop there. From the office you will connect to suppliers, insurers, laboratories and specialists. The patient would also be connected able to get appointment or account information, contact a third party or learn about dentistry all through the Internet anytime from anywhere.
Digital information can be many things including words, numbers, photos, sounds, movies or x-rays. Once an item is digitized there are three significant things you can do with it. You can store transmit and manipulate the information electronically. That’s it, that’s the digital revolution. At first glance it may not seem too important but in action it literally changes everything. The digital exchange of data is what’s behind the PC revolution, its what powers the Internet, it is Gates’ digital nervous system, it is the essence of the information age.
Posted by Larry Emmott on 5/3/05; 7:25:36 PM from the dept.
Monday, May 2, 2005
Six steps to developing a high tech dental office
Begin with the End in Mind
Have a plan and a goal before you start
Establish a technology infrastructure.
Integrated practice management software
Computers networked in the treatment rooms
Add the “Big 2”:
Add advanced dental applications.
Keep a future focus; be open to evolving technologies.
Posted by Larry Emmott on 5/2/05; 7:01:48 PM from the dept.
Server 2003 Service Pack1
Microsoft has released Service Pack1 for Server 2003. According to the reviewers it is a must have. SP1 has a number of patches however the promary focus of the SP is security, including a new firewall application. It is probably not a good idea to try this upgrade yourself, ask your IT tech guy to do it for you.
Posted by Larry Emmott on 5/2/05; 6:53:03 PM from the dept.
More on Radiography Congress
I heard a comment on the DPR radiography Congress I attended and wrote about yesterday. An IT dental specialist was so impressed with the event he felt it would be a major turning point in dentist’s understanding and use of digital radiography. He felt that years from now we would look back and identify that day as the day it all changed.
That might be a little much. However it does show how significant the meeting could be.
Posted by Larry Emmott on 5/2/05; 6:51:14 PM from the dept.
Sunday, May 1, 2005
Prints and Resolution
From PC Magazine
The most widely misunderstood concept related to printing photos is resolution. Some digital photographers shoot with their cameras’ highest resolution, on the grounds that more pixels are better, while others use the lowest resolution so they can fit more photos on their memory cards. In either case, there’s a better way. Pick the resolution you actually need and you’ll get the best image quality without using up more space on your card (and your hard drive) than you have to.
One reason resolution is confusing is that you need to consider two types of resolution at once. Image resolution tells you how many pixels are in the image itself, while printer resolution tells you the number of dots per inch that the printer uses on the page. You need to choose each of these resolutions separately. Both are commonly referred to in dots per inch (dpi), but to avoid confusion, it’s better to reserve the term dpi for printers and discuss image resolution in pixels, or pixels per inch (ppi).
Image resolution can be given as the total number of pixels in the image, the number of pixels across and down, or the number of pixels per inch, depending on the context. A 2-megapixel image, for example, may be 1,600 by 1,200 pixels (1,600 by 1,200 = 1,920,000). If you print it at 4 by 6 inches (with the long side just fitting and the short side cropped), you get 1,600 pixels spread across 6 inches, or 266 pixels per inch. If you print it at 8 by 10 inches (with the short side fitting and the long side cropped) it comes to 1,200 pixels in 8 inches, or 150 pixels per inch.
Look here for the rest of the story and a handy pixel to DPI table.
Posted by Larry Emmott on 5/1/05; 6:36:18 PM from the dept.
Digital Radiography Congress
The inaugural DPR Digital Radiography Congress was by and large a great success. Over 400 dentists showed up, and they were all interested in not just learning about digital radiography but in actually buying it. Six major vendors participated: Dentrix, Kodak, Schick, Suni, Dexis and Sorona. Each vendor had a large booth with plenty of reps to answer questions and demonstrate the products. With no other booths selling toothpaste, denture teeth and dental chairs all the participants got to concentrate on a single product and make meaningful comparisons.
I participated in a panel discussion with Gordon Christensen, Thomas Schiff and John Flucke. John and I are practicing dentists who also write and lecture on technology, Dr. Schiff is a professor of radiography at the UOP dental school and of course Dr. Christensen is Gordon Christensen. (CRA is here with a 2005 radiology update)
What I found most interesting is that there were some minor areas of disagreement; we each brought different experiences and outlooks to the discussion. However on the major issues we were in complete agreement.
We all agreed that the primary benefit of digital radiography is the speed of acquisition. The ability to take multiple images with out taking the sensor from the mouth is extremely beneficial. For that reason we were all fans of the direct corded systems and not the phosphor plate systems like ScanX or OpTime.
The second benefit we all agreed on was the creation of a digital image. A digital radiograph is essential for a paperless chart. It also allows better diagnostics with proper diagnostic software and image filters. It can also be easily copied and sent to colleagues or third parties. And a digital radiograph won’t get stuck in the processor, fall out of its mount or slip behind the filing cabinet.
The bottom line: Digital Radiography has made enormous strides in functionality and diagnostic quality. It isn’t a matter of waiting for digital to be as good as film, digital is better, right now for many reasons.
Posted by Larry Emmott on 5/1/05; 6:20:13 PM from the dept.
Scary Truth About Computer Back Up
The following is some good advice from Tom Orent. Tom is the 1000 Gems guy.
The problem is based upon two scary (sick) facts about computers. First, ALL drives will eventually fail. You probably knew that, or at least figured that there’s a good chance… since we’re all told we should have backups of our data.
Second, it’s RARE for your IT (computer networking) guy to go to the trouble of CHECKING to see that your backup would actually WORK in time of need! Really, you’re pretty sure that he/she has? If so, KUDOS to you both. You’re in the minority.
To be safe, ask them to do the following:
Take your most recent FULL backup of your practice management software’s database, and run a RESTORE to an unused partition of your server drive (i.e. NOT restoring OVER the current “active” version of your software! Rather, just creating a restore which you can TEST).
Consider this sort of a practice management computer “Fire Drill”!
IF you have never done this you may be in for a (BIG) shock. The VAST majority of offices who run this test find out that there are issues (that’s computer lingo for HUGE PROBLEMS) that have yet to be addressed… which would keep you from ever being able to actually USE your backup data in a crisis!
GET your IT guy back in a hurry and have him try a restore! If you find that you are able to use the backup and the data is CURRENT, bravo. You’ll sleep better (give your IT guy a nice dinner out or something!). But you are more likely to find that you’ve been creating USELESS BACKUPS for the last six years!
Look here for Tom’s website. He has a SuperConference coming up July 14 – 16 at the Bellagio in Vegas
Posted by Larry Emmott on 5/1/05; 5:25:00 PM from the dept.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Ergo in Demand
I have found another great resource for monitor supports and other computer related items. It is called Ergo in Demand. The web site has flat panel mounts including multiple monitor ceiling mounts. They also have products for keyboards, mouse wrist supports, carts and more. The Flat panel LCD support arms are here.
Here are some general proucts from the web page
Here is a triple monitor set up. I am installing this type of arrangement at my desk. That way I can develop treatment plans looking at the chart, the photos and the x-rays all at the same time.
Posted by Larry Emmott on 4/17/05; 3:28:15 PM from the dept.
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Hardware Value Curve
“The Best”: There is little practical value to buying “the best” when purchasing new computer hardware. No matter how much you spend or how fancy your system is it will still be ready for replacement in three to four years. Many dentists believe that if they just spend the extra money for high quality today they will have a system, which will last for a lifetime. This may be true when buying a chair or an autoclave. It just doesn’t work when buying computer hardware.
Value Curve: Hardware prices tend to fall along an S curve. You will get the most for your money if you buy on the shoulder of the curve as shown in the diagram below.
If you choose to buy at the top of the curve you will often spend two to three times as much. You will not get twice as much performance and it will not last twice as long. Generally it may extend the life of the hardware about six months before replacement is required. Replacement will be needed not because the computer is worn out, but because it will no longer perform adequately with current software. A good policy is to plan on replacing one third to one fourth of your computers every year. For a typical office with six computers you should replace one or two every year. In that way the cost is spread out over time and the office always has an up to date system. The other factor is that a better computer will run the software faster and allow for more add ons.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Here is a sneak peek at a new Track Mounted Monitor system Pelton Crane displayed at the Chicago midwinter.
It looks cool. But it also looks like it would be getting in the way of the light. I haven’t seen the real thing yet. However I am happy to see major manufacturwers like Pelton Crane and Kavo developing these systems.
Posted by Larry Emmott on 4/14/05; 11:08:50 AM from the dept.
Care Credit Update
From Laci Phillips Emmott on Technology Associate Consultant
As a big fan of Care Credit and their great customer service team in California, I was saddened by the feud between them and Dentrix, or rather GE and Sullivan Stein.
But has as the practice administrator for Dr. Larry Emmott and a Dentrix user, I am frustrated and quite frankly inconvenienced by the change in the web enabled toolbar and the ability to get quick financing for my patients. What used to take 30 seconds to process and then congratulate my patients, now takes a series of screens, data input, and clicks of the mouse.
However, there is of course a silver lining. The Care Credit team is always striving to improve their product and make our lives easier. And they have succeeded once again. Care credit is now offering new and improved terms. I can offer my patients 3, 6, 12 and now 18 months interest free programs. You just can’t beat that. Also, they have lowered the interest rate on extended plans from 12.9% to 9.9%! That is huge for us.
You would think that would be enough, but there is more. The minimum treatment plan for certain program has been lowered AND they are approving more and more people everyday because the restrictions are lighter now. I always try for my patients even if they tell me their credit is not the best, Care Credit has surprised me many times with approvals.
So, I want to say Thank You to Care Credit for always raising the bar and exceeding my expectations! They have made an unhappy situation more tolerable.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Good Phishing Information from Microsoft
The following is from a Microsoft Outlook assistance site here
A prevalent form of online fraud, known as “phishing,” refers to the practice of “spamming” recipients with fake messages that resemble a valid message from a well-known Web site or a company that the recipients might trust, such as a credit card company, bank, or charity…………………..
How can I tell if an e-mail message is a fraud?
Unfortunately, it can be hard at first glance to tell if a message is fraudulent. For example, many phony e-mail messages link to real company logos. However, the following are things you can be on the lookout for:
Requests for personal information in an e-mail message Most legitimate businesses have a policy that they do not ask you for your personal information through e-mail. Be very suspicious of a message that asks for personal information even if it might look legitimate.
Urgent wording Wording in phishing e-mail messages is usually polite and accommodating in tone. It almost always tries to get you to respond to the message or to click the link that is included. To increase the number of responses, criminals attempt to create a sense of urgency so that people immediately respond without thinking. Usually, fake e-mail messages are NOT personalized, while valid messages from your bank or e-commerce company generally are. The following is an example from a real phishing scheme:
Dear valued bank member, it has come to our attention that your account information needs to be updated due to inactive member, frauds, and spoof reports. Failure to update your records will result in account deletion. Please follow the link below to confirm you data.
Read the whole article here
Posted by Larry Emmott on 4/10/05; 7:57:37 PM from the dept.
Saturday, April 9, 2005
Inkjet Care and Feeding
The Following tips from PC Magazine.
First, ink cartridges have a shelf life, so don’t overstock them. You may have never noticed it, but HP and Epson stamp expiration dates on their cartridge boxes. Epson calls it a Use Before date. HP dubs it an Install Before date and states that the warranty extends 6 months beyond that date. Canon, in contrast, says that since most people use a printer for only two to three years, it expects the cartridges to be used before age becomes an issue.
An ink cartridge doesn’t suddenly go bad. Rather, it deteriorates over time until it becomes useless. With pigment-based inks, for example, the pigment can come out of suspension, and the particles—which are one to two microns in size—can wedge themselves in nozzles. With dye-based inks, impurities can react with the ink over time to turn it into sludge. So don’t buy cartridges you won’t use before they die of old age.
Get the whole story here.
Posted by Larry Emmott on 4/9/05; 9:02:36 PM from the dept.
Posted by Larry Emmott on 4/9/05; 8:56:52 PM from the dept.
Front Deskless Hygeine
In a Front Deskless paperless office the dental hygienist’s role changes. For example it is easy for the hygienist to just make an appointment and avoid the need to walk the patient up to the front so they can wait in line to schedule. However the best part of Front Deskless hygiene is improved patient care. Who better and what better time and place to schedule the next continuing care appointment than the hygienist chairside, while the patient is motivated to improve their dental health. The hygienist knows exactly when the patient needs to come back. He/she also knows exactly how much time this patient will need, if they are a gagger or smoker who needs extra time or are they a healthy 21 year old who needs very little time.
Another great plus is that the patient is motivated. They are acutely aware of any problems the doctor or hygienist may have found. They are usually sincerely anxious to take proper care of themselves. There will never be a better time to schedule the next appointment. Compare that to the typical motivation a patient experiences when the little smiley elephant recall post card shows up six months later. The patient must still believe there is a need, after all nothing is bothering them, they must find time in a busy life and then make the effort to call and schedule. The old send a card and hope system will never be as effective as scheduling chairside when the patient is anxious to make an appointment.
Another great service for both the hygienist and chairside assistant is instant access to patient data. For example what do you do when a patient asks, “When is my husband due and what do the kids need done next?” With a traditional front desk paper based data center you can’t really give an answer. You can have the patient go up front, wait and go find all the family charts, look through them for the answers. With electronic data and chairside computers as the data center the answer is easy and instantaneous. The result is better communication, better service and ultimately better dental health for our patients.
Posted by Larry Emmott on 4/9/05; 8:53:46 PM from the dept.