Last updated by at .

Teledentistry: How and Why to Do It Now

The conventional wisdom in dentistry has been that we have to physically see the patient. But during this crisis, virtually all practices are only seeing emergencies. And what we’re finding is that a significant percentage of dental emergency patients can be treated with teledentistry. (For a video on this topic, go to: https://youtu.be/_amZ7qjfUxc )

Treating Dental Emergencies with Teledentistry

Let me stress this first. It is your civic duty as well as your professional one to see emergency patients during this crisis. I’ll give you three key reasons why:

  1. Your patient won’t get their dental problem solved in the ER;
  2. The ER’s are already overwhelmed, and don’t need dental emergencies on top of it;
  3. Your patient could possibly leave the ER with the coronavirus, with an immune system that is already compromised because of their dental problem.

The ER is not where you want your own patients to be going. You have sterilization procedures to protect yourself, but now you have the ability to do teledentistry, triage those patients and be compensated for it.

There are a number of options out there for teledentistry, and the one I’ve found with the most comprehensive solution is offered by PatientPop. It is a cloud-based system that works directly with your PMS, streamlining the process.

Here’s how PatientPop Telehealth works:

  1. The patient contacts the office or uses the practice website to make an online tele-appointment;
  2. The dentist or team member can update the patient history or, if it is a new patient, get that history input right then, as well as their insurance information;
  3. The dentist uses HD video to see and diagnose the patient, with a side chat to share images and interact;
  4. If the patient needs a prescription, it can be done right there in the app;
  5. You can collect the payment right there within the app;
  6. You can do electronic charting of all the information, sending it straight in to your PMS.

We now have teledentistry codes, D9995 and D9996. You can charge between $75 and $150 for a consultation that may only take five or ten minutes. And then only bring in the patients into the office that need immediate treatment. You can also determine during the telehealth call if the patient is a COVID-19 risk to the practice, and take extra precautions.

You can use your patient communication software such as RevenueWell or PatientPop’s own system to notify all your patients that you are available for emergencies and can do teledentistry. This is powerful. Your patients will feel cared for, and you can keep them out of the emergency room, which is not where they would want to go now anyway.

Treating emergencies during this crisis is also a chance to attract new patients. At this time, 1-800-DENTIST is fielding tens of thousands of emergency calls a day, and have created a temporary membership that is emergencies only. These are people who don’t have a dentist. Take care of them, and turn them into long term patients. For more information about 1-800-DENTIST’s emergency program, go to www.Futuredontics.com.

PatientPop’s program is extremely affordable, and can pay for itself with just a few patient calls. It is also very easy to learn and install. You can be up and running in half an hour. I encourage you to take a demo of PatientPop Telehealth, for the sake of your revenue, your patients, and the medical industry that is so overwhelmed right now.

Full disclosure, I am an advisor to PatientPop. But I only advise companies with services or products that I think bring real value to my friends in the dental industry. I also am an advisor for PatientPrism for the same reason. And I no longer have any financial interest in 1-800-DENTIST.

Thank you for all you do in health care. You can make a huge difference on the impact of this crisis.

Resources

To learn more about PatientPop Telehealth, visit https://fredjoyal.com/patientpop/

Coaching: Fortune Management: https://www.fortunemgmt.com

How Good Is Your Packaging?

In the retail business, everyone pretty much agrees that Apple is king. And one of the first things you notice when you buy an Apple product is the beautiful, brilliantly designed packaging for every single product. In fact, I know some people who collect the boxes just because they are so impressive they can’t bring themselves to throw them out.

There are plenty of businesses owners and product manufacturers who would say, “That’s nice for Apple, but I can’t afford that.” And that makes perfect sense if you don’t want to be considered the best, and just want to be the cheapest or an average product.

What’s this got to do with dentistry? Everything. Your “packaging” is your entire office: your reception area, your scrubs, your operatories, your bathroom, your signage, your parking lot, your website and your social media pages. All of it tells patients how they should rank your value against other things they spend money on.

The fact is that Apple products, from a technical standpoint, are seldom the absolute best in the market. There are better phones, bluetooth headphones, tablets, laptops and computers out there. But there aren’t any that look better or come in a more appealing box. On top of that, Apple gets more money for their products, even though they are not the best. And they also never discount their products, when everyone else in the marketplace does, often on the first day of release. (And they’re also the second most valuable company in the world.)

Don’t go to the trouble to create a great clinical practice and then do an average job of packaging it.

Please don’t misconstrue this as telling you that you don’t have to be a good dentist clinically if you have a great-looking office. That’s hardly the point. What I’m saying is, don’t go to all the trouble to create a superior product, i.e., your clinical dentistry, and then do an average job of packaging it.

By all means, be a great practitioner, get loads of CE, and use all the latest technology that gives your patients the highest quality treatment possible. But don’t ignore the box it all comes in. Renovate your reception, get nice designer scrubs with your logo on them, and make the entire office pristine and well designed, from lighting to the wall colors. And make every aspect of your digital presence the highest quality.

And remember also that your team is your packaging: their smiles, their attitude, their helpfulness, caring and integrity, that’s all your packaging too. It all matters. It matters in case acceptance, loyalty, and getting your patients to refer you. And just like Apple, you won’t have to offer discounts to attract patients.

So pay attention to all of it, and maybe someday you’ll even have people lined up outside your office, just like an Apple store!

Getting Your Dental Team on the Same Page

One of the things I try to emphasize in dental marketing is that a dental practice is too small a group of people to have even one person who’s not pulling in the same direction as the rest of the team.

The challenge starts with hiring, but it doesn’t end there. At the same time, if you hire wrong–either the person doesn’t fit the culture or doesn’t have a great attitude, then there isn’t any fixing that. Treatment plan: extraction.

But if there is a team member who isn’t participating fully and supporting the culture, then the need becomes how to grow the employee. This most often means teaching them the importance of the proper attitude, the need to effectively “sell” dentistry for the patient’s benefit, and the need to be positive and supportive of the team. And they also have to understand the importance of the practice culture and core values.

How does that happen? With good coaching it can definitely be achieved. I have also discovered that a significant number of the dentists who’ve read my books have started a study club with the team, where they all read the book a chapter at a time and then discuss it together, and apply the changes that they agree on, both to themselves and to the marketing of the practice.

This can be highly effective, but only if the team reads. Which a lot of people don’t anymore. They watch videos. So I decided to create the material so that practices can get everyone literally and figuratively on the same page. To that end, I just completed a video course entitled, “Creating the Remarkable Dental Practice.”

This course is an eight-week course, with four 20-minute videos in each weekly module, so that the team can watch them together and then talk about what they’ve learned and how they want to apply it to the practice. The course spans everything from the ideal practice mindset, to hiring and training, social media strategy and finally how to effectively advertise and promote your practice.

If you want to succeed in the years to come, you need a remarkable team creating a remarkable patient experience. My goal is to help you create that with as many tools as I can provide.

The course is $997, but to my faithful blog subscribers I’m offering a 20% discount. Just use the coupon code FREDBLOG when ordering. I think it will transform your practice, and if it doesn’t, it comes with a money-back guarantee. So jump on it, as the discount ends when the whim strikes me!

Here’s a sample video from the course. It’s on practice culture.

To purchase the course, click here!

Have We Lost Our Ability to Savor?

As we roll deeper into the 21st century and face the beginning of yet another new year, I wonder sometimes what this rampant ADD we all seem to be fully engaged in will add up to in terms of life satisfaction.

We seem to relentlessly pursue endeavors in anticipation of the next endeavor, or the one after that, instead of enjoying the one we’re doing, or we doing things that are enjoyable three at a time, instead of letting ourselves relax and just participate in a moment without multiple distractions.

This behavior is not new. It all started back when I was young, with TV dinners. Suddenly you couldn’t just sit and eat a meal. You had to be watching a show at the same time.  So don’t blame the cell phone. It happened way before that.  But now, if you try to have dinner with your family without anyone checking Snapchat or Twitch forty times during the meal, then the irritation/anxiety/bad attitude index goes through the roof.

And if I see one more dad sitting looking at his cell phone while his son or daughter sits next to them playing by themselves, I’m going to scream.  “This kid will be in college before you know it,” I want to shout.  Never mind that, in fact. Within three years the kid will have his own smart phone and you will cease to exist.

And I’m not saying all this technology is bad. I love it. It’s made it possible for me to be in contact with people I love much more easily, and answer any question without having to use my memory, and be reminded of the thousand things I’ve scheduled in my life. But texts interrupt us, notifications distract us, email inundates us, and the idea of watching a TV show while playing a game on your iPad and checking Facebook every ten minutes seems as antiquated as riding a horse to work.

And let’s also dispel the myth of multi-tasking. It’s been absolutely demonstrated with brainwave studies that we are simply switching back and forth between the tasks, not multi-tasking. Which means we are losing our ability to focus for more than a few seconds.  In a single generation we’ve gone from reading War and Peace to not being able to finish reading a Tweet because it takes too long.

And I’m just as bad. I drive in a hurry even when I’m not going anywhere. I panic if halfway through my workout the podcast seems to be a load of nonsense. I look at my Apple Watch the second it buzzes with a message. (Although half the time it’s just telling me to stand up.)  Is all this bringing me joy?  Honestly, no.

So where am I going with this rant?  I have no hope or even intention of rolling back the atomic clock on technology.  What I am suggesting is that we re-learn how to savor. This mad pursuit of multiple activities has suppressed our ability to savor what can be delicious single moments in life.

When I was in college we all used to sit and listen to an entire album (that’s a vinyl LP, for you young ‘uns) and then have to flip it over to hear the other side.  And that was all we did.  And those songs still play in my head now.  It was wonderful.

We skied without listening to headphones, and we read books from cover to cover, sometimes in one sitting.  We sat and had a few drinks without six televisions in our eyeline.  We played Trivial Pursuit and actually had to use our brains instead of our phones.

So all I’m suggesting is that for 2019, maybe take some part of your day and just do one single thing sometime during the course of your day, and savor it.

Sit and just drink your half-caff almond latte.  Enjoy it, the flavor, the warmth. Without checking your email.

  • Listen to an entire song, maybe even an entire album, without doing anything else.
  • Chat with a dear friend, phones on silent, tucked away.
  • Take a walk without listening to a playlist or a podcast. Just enjoy the air, the sky and nature, or the bustling world around you.
  • Cook a meal from scratch together, and eat it, enjoying every bite, devoid of electronic distraction.
  • Listen to an old person tell you about their life. Ask them questions. (I have a thousand questions I wish I could ask my dad.  Sadly, he’s long gone.)
  • Meditate. For ten minutes even. (If you have no idea how, go to calm.com. It’s easy.  And good for just about everything.)
  • Or just take fifteen seconds and look up at the clouds. Or the stars.  Or down at a flower. Or watch your kids play.

Savor.

Just a little bit, for a few moments in the day.

And maybe we’ll discover that happiness isn’t so hard to find after all.

It’s Time to Elevate Dentistry!

Let’s face it; the majority of the population doesn’t value dentistry anywhere near as much as they should. And they don’t value it anywhere near as much as other things of considerably less value that they spend money on gladly.

Now couple that with the fact that there is no single place where people could find out anything they wanted to know about oral health, and then find a dentist and even book an appointment right there online.

Which is why Dentistry.com was created. Imagine a website with all the benefits of WebMD, ZocDoc and Yelp, rolled into one, and none of the negatives. That’s what Dentistry.com is–a website dedicated exclusively to our profession, the ultimate resource for the dental consumer.

Dentistry.com is the new, free online platform from Dentsply Sirona. The goal for the site is simple and powerful: to improve the state of the nation’s dental health by increasing the number of new patients who go to the dentist and accept treatment.

It’s time we elevate dentistry to its proper place in healthcare. And no one else is in a position to do it–not the societies, not the search engines, and not the review sites, because they don’t have the resources and they don’t have a comprehensive goal in mind.

Consumer Education Is Essential for Dentistry

We all know that dental health is integral to overall health, but the rest of the population doesn’t. We don’t go six months without finding some new disease that is linked to periodontal disease. And we’re the only ones who aren’t surprised.

Understanding the value of dentistry and then easily finding an appropriate dentist will do something very simple and profound: more people will go to the dentist, more often, and will accept more treatment.

Dentsply Sirona wants more people to understand the critical role good oral health plays in their overall wellbeing, which is why Dentistry.com was designed as the ultimate consumer site for all things dental. And they also understand that consumers want things fast and easy, and they want it on their smartphone. And they want it in one place. Which is why Dentistry.com features:

  • An active community of dentists sharing advice with patients
  • Authoritative information and articles from dental professionals
  • The most detailed directory of dental practices – anywhere
  • Advanced online dentist search and booking tools

Best of all, it costs nothing to join Dentistry.com. As a new member of this online community, you’ll receive a free profile that helps you to attract more new patients online, improve your website’s SEO, and receive online appointment requests.

Boost Your Website’s Search Results

I’ll explain how that all works. First of all, being part of Dentistry.com boosts the SEO for your own site because it is a directory, and Google likes to index that information and boost results accordingly. (Sounds technical, but trust me.) And Dentistry.com will also appeal to Google because of the rich, detailed content about dentistry, along with advice directly from top professionals. And this is the latest online tool, written in the most efficient language (Google likes that too!) and will eventually have the most information about dentists that can be found anywhere.

I said “eventually” because that last part requires your participation. It costs you nothing to be listed, and there is substantial benefit to do so. But this is how we make it the ultimate destination, by thousands of dentists participating.

It’s time to give the people what they want: an easy way to research dentistry and find a dentist, and then book an appointment. Hey, it’s 2018 already–let’s join the future. And the result will be more patients going more often, with a better understanding of the value of dentistry, which will lead to easier and greater case acceptance.

So claim your practice now. (Did I mention it’s free?) It will only take five minutes. Just click here: Claim My Practice.

Let’s band together and elevate dentistry. It’s time!

Want to learn more about Dentistry.com?

Dentistry.com is hosting a free webinar on November 16th where you can get an inside look into the consumer research that led to the creation of “the new patient destination for dentistry.” Register now.