Selling hours

More wisdom from Seth Godin:

This might be the workplace question of the decade.

Does the boss buy your time or your productivity?

Source: Selling hours | Seth’s Blog

As always with Godin click through and read the whole thig. Very interesting and something that will definitely be an issue in the dental office of the future.

Health Care Politics Management Security

ADA comments on HIPAA Privacy Rule

From ADA News:

The ADA is asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights to consider the burdens changes to the HIPAA privacy rule will impose on covered providers, including dentists.

Source: ADA comments on HIPAA Privacy Rule

Some of the changes OCR is proposing include:

These proposed changes include a 15-day timeframe for responding to requests for access; a proposal to permit patients to access, copy and photograph their protected health information at the time of their appointments; and a proposed requirement that covered providers develop fee schedules for providing copies of protected health information. Covered entities with websites would be required to post such schedules on their websites.


Management Security

Ohio Medical Center Pays OCR $65K for HIPAA Right of Access Failure

From Health IT Security:

OCR reached a $65,000 settlement with the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, after failing to respond to a patient’s request for access to her medical records, as required by HIPAA.

Source: Ohio Medical Center Pays OCR $65K for HIPAA Right of Access Failure

Many dentists and dental team members are not aware that HIPAA rules are not just about privacy and security, They also require us to provide records upon request. A dentist could face a HIPAA violation if he/she simply looses the records due to ransomware or a catastrophic computer failure.

Hat tip to Danielle Mckinley.

Future Tech Hardware Management

Enterprise software, devices to drive 2021 IT spending to $4.1T

From  VentureBeat:

The source of funding changes “from an overhead expense that is maintained, monitored and sometimes cut, to the thing that drives revenue,” Lovelock said in the press release.

Source: Enterprise software, devices to drive 2021 IT spending to $4.1T | VentureBeat

The linked article is more for investors than tech buyers. Nevertheless it makes a point I have been pushing for years. Technology used properly should not be an expense it should be a revenue driver. It should reduce overhead.

Many dentists do not see this. Instead technology becomes an ever increasing and expensive burden. The key to making technology pay is to use it. Stop doing things the way you did before technology and adopt a digital, paperless workflow.


  • Use paper charts
  • Call to confirm
  • Mail paper statements
  • Hand out a clipboard
  • Send impressions to a lab

Use the digital technology you already have and employ the e-services you are most likely already paying for.

Digital Marketing Internet Management Mobile Social Media


Reviews, Payments, and Patient Messaging Software for Dentists

“Not only do we get quality leads, but it doesn’t take our staff time on the phone to get the appointment scheduled.”

Source: Reviews, Payments, and Patient Messaging Software for Dentists | Podium

In 2021 monitoring your online presence and communicating with patients via text is not an option it is a business necessity.

You could assign and train staff members to do all of this and then attempt to manage and evaluate how they are doing, or you can simply hire experts to do it for you. Outsourcing certain business processes has been trending for years. Now with improved technology and the Covid pandemic pushing people to more online activity e-services are becoming the preferred method of doing business. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which are better results at lower costs.

Podium is a service that provides dentists with a system to generate online reviews, see when reviews are posted, communicate instantly via text, send electronic statements and more. The system can be embedded in an existing web page and integrates with the major practice management systems including Dentrix.

Dental Speaker Internet Management

The Patient First Manifesto: The New Way To Build The Practice Of Your Dreams

A must-read for anyone that cares for (and about) patients, this book describes the rules to building a successful practice that have fundamentally changed. While caregivers have maintained our vigilant focus on delivering high quality care, the world around us has transformed. The sea change of convenience and immediacy that has overtaken our lives has also led to a tremendous gap between what professionals and patients believe to be quality care. This has propagated the tragic environment where almost everyone hates going to the dentist.

By Dr. Bryan Laskin

Corona Pandemic Future Tech Internet Management

Is the 9-to-5 office routine dead? Here’s what workers want

From Fortune:

Taken together, these survey questions help paint a picture of how workers have evolved—and how the workplace must evolve, too.Here’s what we found. The numbers to know 63%… of knowledge workers prefer a hybrid model. Another 20% prefer fully remote, and 17% want to always work from the office.

Source: Is the 9-to-5 office routine dead? Here’s what workers want | Fortune

These findings apply to dentistry.

Do NOT be in a big hurry to get back to normal; defined as the way we did things prior to February 2020.

The pandemic and shutdown showed us we can do many of the management tasks in a dental office remotely using technology. There are three different systems that we can use.

Do tasks that used to be done in the office using the office website. For example take payments and collect forms.

Use an e-service to do tasks that people had to do. For example send reminders and statements.

Work from home. For example run and evaluate month end reports.

Some tasks can simply be eliminated. For example you do not need to pull and replace paper chats if all charts are electronic.

Health Care Politics Management

Tax Day


Delayed but still coming. Inevitable just like death,

Management Paperless

Clinician EHR Workload, Cognitive Efforts Double After EHR Adoption

“What we found surprised us a little,” Karen Dunn Lopez, the director of the Center for Nursing Classification and Clinical Effectiveness at the University of Iowa, said in a statement. “After two and a half years of continuous use, clinicians’ cognitive workload remained very high, and they still found the new EHR system more difficult to use than the prior paper- and computer-based hybrid system.”

Source: Clinician EHR Workload, Cognitive Efforts Double After EHR Adoption

This is sad.

I have had some limited experience using medical EHR software when I did some sleep dentistry and I found it very challenging. Much harder to use than dental software. It did not have to be this way.

Medical EHR systems were not designed by physicians. They were not designed with patient care in mind. They were not designed to facilitate workflow. They were designed to satisfy a “meaningful use” check list that politicians and  bureaucrats  thought was important.


Corona Pandemic Management Telemedicine

Planning a Return to the Office

Do you have a plan for office work of the future?

Policies about the mix of remote and in-office work have ramifications beyond short term cost and efficiency. Because of what we’ve gone through over the past year, we are about to enter a new era in the evolution of organizations. Decisions that CEOs make over the next few months will set the tone for how work will be done in the future, impacting the relationships employees have formed and their emotional connection with the company. They should be made carefully.

Source: A CEO’s Guide to Planning a Return to the Office

The pandemic has shown us that a great many of the tasks we used to do in the office can be done as well or better remotely. That is either as work from home or outsourced to an online e-service.

Don’t be in a big hurry to get things back to the way they were in February of 2020. Now is a perfect opportunity to redesign the workflow of the office to outsource some work, transfer some tasks to your web page and reassign some tasks to remote work from home options.

For example:

Online bill pay instead of a person answering the phone to take a credit card number or opening an envelope and depositing a check.

Month end billing, reports, and accounting can be done by an administrator working from home.

No paper charts to pull and refile at the end of the day if you use fully digital charts.

Billing, and insurance claims can be done from home or outsourced to an e-service.

No paper re-call cards with postage but use text or e-mail to send reminders electronically. This can be set up and monitored remotely as work from home.

There is more, be creative.


Private dental practice operating costs: 7 statistics

From Becker’s: Good to know.

Seven statistics on yearly expenses at dental private practices in 2019 based on data from the American Dental Association and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Average annual gross billings
Average gross billings per owner dentist (general practitioner): $742,490
Average gross billings per owner dentist (specialty): $1,059,890

Source: Private dental practice operating costs: 7 statistics

Digital Marketing Internet Management Mobile Paperless

Can your website do this?

From a Sesame Communications promotion:

Online Appointment Booking: New and existing patients can quickly book appointments on your website that sync with your Dentrix PMS
Virtual Waiting Room + Tap-to-Text: Deliver a safe and effective virtual waiting room experience for patients and staff
• Custom Design, Branding & Copywriting: Help your practice’s website stand out from competitors
Virtual Consultation: Provide a basic, free consultation, before the first in-person visit with a prospective patient occurs
SSL Certificate: Secure communication between your practice’s website and your patient’s internet browser
Responsive Design: Your website will provide a great user experience across all device types including desktop, mobile, and tablet
Live Backgrounds: Immediately capture the attention of visitors to your site with a beautiful, moving, site background

Your practice web site should not be a once in a lifetime experience just for new patients. A good dental website includes support for existing patients. In addition to the appointment booking and tap to text features shown above your website should also allow patients to fill out interactive forms (not just a pdf) check the time of future appointments and pay their bill.

e-Services Management

eAssist Revisited

From a busy Texas dental practice:

Hi Dr. Emmott,

I wanted to share with you how much eAssist has helped us.  We signed up in November with their Insurance Billing service.  I had a handful of claims that had been appealed numerous times.  They were 16 to 9 month old.  They took them over and got them all paid.  It has been wonderful not having to review claims every day and getting all the necessary documentation attached.  It is allowing us to actually do dentistry instead of dealing with insurance companies.

We then signed up with the Insurance Verification service in January.  Both of these have been awesome.  Especially since we will have out front desk girl out on maternity leave.

Dentrix eAssist

e-Services Management

Dentrix eAssist

…together, eAssist and Dentrix take these headaches off your plate by adding a team of insurance claim and collections experts to your Dentrix platform. The result is faster payments, steadier cash flow, and a lower uncollectable balance,

Source: Dentrix eAssist | 2020Q3

Another e-service. This one allows you to outsource your insurance claim creation and submission to a dedicated team of experts. That means you do not need to hire and pay an insurance administrator.

It is only possible to use this service if you have complete digital records which can be accessed over the Internet by the eAssist team.

Using this kind of service and reducing costly team members and reducing submission errors is how you get technology to pay for itself.


Saving $ with Technology

Many dentists see technology as a money pit that costs more every year and never pays for itself, never has a positive ROI.

Often the problem is that the dentist invests in technology and yet continues to pay for the old way of doing things. Here is an obvious example. The dentist has a nice web site and still pays for a phone book ad. If you are paying for an online reminder system stop printing and mailing postcards. If you have digital records stop paying for someone to pull and replace paper charts every day. Use integrated online forms and stop paying someone to hand over a clipboard and hand enter all the data. Use online bill pay and stop paying someone to answer the phone to take credit card numbers or worse yet to open the mail and deposit paper checks.

Internet Management Mobile Software

5 Reasons You Should Be Sending Electronic Billing Statements

From Dentrix Magazine:

Most people have their phones with them all of the time, and they are constantly checking email and buying things online. Since patients are already doing that, why not send them their billing statement in a way you know they’ll see it and allow them to pay their balance online right then?

With electronic billing statements, patients can see their statement wherever they are and whenever it’s convenient for them, and the same thing is true of online payments. When patients can pay their bill right from the email message they receive, they don’t have to find time to write out a check and mail it or call the office during office hours to make a payment over the phone. They can pay whenever it’s convenient for them, which means you’ll get the payment faster than you would have if you were waiting on their check or their call.

Source: 5 Reasons You Should Be Sending Electronic Billing Statements – Dentrix Magazine

This one reason alone should be enough for you to start using electronic billing and online bill pay. Do you really expect people to write and then mail you a paper check? How 1980s. It baffles me how few dentists are using online bill pay…it is a no brainer.

Follow the link for the other four reasons to be sending e-statements. Then just do it.

Management Mobile

Two Way Conversational Texting

This is a direct pull from a Curve ad. However it is worth showing for two reasons. Most of your patients (64%) prefer text messages. Did you know that? Are you providing that? Most patient texting systems are one way only. Curve now has two way texting. I like that a lot.

Management Software

4 Tips for 2021

From  Dentrix Enterprise Blog:

1. UPDATE TO THE ADA 2021 CDT CODESStart the new year right by making sure your practice is using the latest 2021 ADA code changes. Keeping up with these changes can lead to quicker reimbursements and a more accurate list of current dental codes.

Source: 4 Tips to Help You Get Ready for 2021 | Dentrix Enterprise Blog

Enterprise is the version of Dentrix optimized for DSOs and other multilocation practices.

Health Care Politics Internet Management

Association moves to develop unified system to verify coverage, obtain cost estimates in real-time

From the ADA:

As a result, the ADA Council on Dental Benefit Programs is acting upon a directive from the 2020 House of Delegates to assess the development of a simplified system to verify coverage and obtain patient cost estimates in real-time before treatment begins.

Source: Association moves to develop unified system to verify coverage, obtain cost estimates in real-time

This is a nice start (better late than never) but what I really want to see is real time payments. When you complete treatment the claim is submitted electronically, adjudicated and the funds electronically transferred to the dentist’s account that instant. The technology is available.

I wonder why it has not been implemented already?

Future Tech Internet Management

Lynk raises $24 million to bring knowledge-as-a-service platform to more industries

From VentureBeat:

Lynk, a “knowledge-as-a-service” platform that connects domain-specific experts with businesses, has raised $24 million to fuel expansion in the U.S.While there are myriad platforms and tools that unlock insights from vast swathes of data, Lynk offers an AI-powered engine that indexes “knowledge domains” and vetted experts to find answers to questions businesses are asking.

Source: Lynk raises $24 million to bring knowledge-as-a-service platform to more industries | VentureBeat

This is a very interesting concept. I can see many dental applications. Dentists can ask business and or clinical questions. Such as what is the average overhead expense in a US dental office. Or what precautions should be taken with a patient taking the drug XYZ?

Patients may also wish to ask dental questions. In this case the dentist  could be signed up as the expert.