Dentistâ€™s Money Digest sent teams of reporters to cover the Yankee Dental Congress, held Jan. 25-29, and the Chicago Midwinter Meeting, held Feb. 23-25. Each conference contained valuable information for business-minded dentists on managing and marketing dental practices. Here are the top five lessons that we learned.
Chicago Midwinter Meeting attendees begin to arrive on Thursday, Feb. 23. Image source: Joe Hannan
Dentist’s Money Digest sent teams of reporters to cover the Yankee Dental Congress, held Jan. 25-29, and the Chicago Midwinter Meeting, held Feb. 23-25. Each conference contained valuable information for business-minded dentists on managing and marketing dental practices. Here are the top five lessons that we learned.
Social media is more than just Facebook. The biggest social media blunder that I see dentists making is they think of social media as Facebook,” said Larry Emmott, D.D.S. and president of Emmott On Technology. Emmott sat down with Dentist’s Money Digest at the Chicago Midwinter Meeting. “Facebook certainly matters—I am in awe of Facebook and the number of users—but the fact is people don’t go looking to Facebook to find a dentist. Very seldom if people look on the internet does your Facebook presence make any difference whatsoever.” What’s more important, according to Emmott? “Claiming your Google business site, claiming your Yelp site, that’s far more significant than whether you have a Facebook presence or not.”
Your website is the face of your practice. In her continuing education session at the Yankee Dental Congress, Alicia Owens, a Dentrix profitability coach, discussed how an updated website can help a patient discover your practice, but it should also let patients know what procedures you offer. A good place to start is by creating a patient resources section that gives your patients accurate information about the procedures they will be undergoing. This may save some WebMD-induced anxiety. A patient’s next step from the website will be calling your practice. You need to have all team members in your practice well-versed in phone procedure and etiquette — not just the front desk.
Are practice leaders born, or can they be trained? “Leadership being an ability that either a dentist or anybody else is born with is a bit of a misnomer,” said Amy Morgan, CEO and owner of the Pride Institute. Morgan sat down for an interview with Dentist’s Money Digest at the Chicago Midwinter meeting. “Certainly, there are personality characteristics that lend themselves to charismatic communication or better influencing,” she said. “The fact of the matter is, no matter what your personality style is, one can and should aspire to higher-level leadership, because all leadership means is getting in front of somebody. Being willing and courageous enough to get in front of a business, a team, an issue, and with authenticity and genuine and understanding.”
Taking the spoon from practice pot stirrers. The dynamics of each practice may be unique, but employee problems often stem from a common root. “Usually the dentist hasn’t set clear standards as the practice grows, especially when problem employees have good technical skills or are good with patients,” Judy Kay Mausolf, a practice consultant, told Dentist’s Money Digest at the Chicago Midwinter Meeting. “Dentists may be reluctant to address problems or may not realize how damaging it is to allow employees to treat patients better than their coworkers.” What should a dentist do? “If toxic behavior is no longer allowed, it will stop,” she said.
Is your practice HIPAA compliant? According to Danielle Sheer, vice president and general counsel at Carbonite, an automated data storage company, the three most common HIPAA compliance errors doctors and dentists are making are 1. Using a flash driver or external hard drive to back up data. 2. Using public software, such as Google calendars or Google Docs. 3. Using a program that syncs data rather than backing it up.
— Reporting by Sarah Anwar, Darcy Lewis and Joe Hannan