Dr. Miguel Ortiz is a well-known prosthodontist, lecturer and photographer in the dental world. He created a book to complement the courses he teaches regarding dental photography. In the age of social media, dental photography plays a crucial role if dental practitioners want to expand their practice. What makes this textbook valuable is the knowledge Dr. Ortiz brings with his experience as a previous lab technician, dental clinician and having established a well-known social media presence.
“Lit” is broken down into simplified analogies with visual representations to better explain the concepts in the book. The author organizes the first section of the book into five concepts associated with photography that can be adjusted to produce the photos desired: exposure, aperture, shutter speed, depth of field and white balance.
By Robert McDermott, President and CEO, iCoreConnect
Cybersecurity is about more than just keeping your patients’ data safe. It’s about securing your practice and its future while building and maintaining patient trust. Data breaches can be costly, not just financially but also to your reputation. Those impacts can be far reaching and long lasting with significant consequences for your practice. Protecting your patient data is about the survival of your business.
One of the most important, and perhaps obvious, reasons cybersecurity is essential for your dental practice is HIPAA compliance. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires that insurers as well as medical and dental practices and providers put measures in place to ensure the safety and security of personal and private information as it relates to healthcare data.
Common Cybersecurity Dangers in Your Dental Practice
Understanding what cybersecurity threats exist is fundamental in being able to protect your practice and patient data. Two of the bigger threats include:
Fake emails and fake websites are designed to fool individuals into providing data to what they believe is a trusted source, such as a business or person with whom they are familiar. With the recent rise of “spearphishing,” cybercriminals have begun targeting specific individuals by name, title and other personal details by pulling from social media accounts and other online sources.
Perhaps the most dangerous threat to healthcare right now is ransomware. Ransomware is designed to lock your systems or encrypt your data, which prevents your organization from accessing and using it until a ransom is paid.
Ransomware, and the groups that utilize it, usually enter through end user access. This may include phishing attacks to get login credentials or by taking advantage of virtual work and bring your own device (BYOD) policies. In this way, they gain access to your system with the ultimate goal of controlling it.
5 Tips for Improving Cybersecurity in Your Dental Practice
Given the threats that currently exist and their ability to evolve quickly, understanding how you can take control of your cybersecurity stance is essential.
1. Train your team
Cybercriminals capitalize on human action, so training your team is among the most important cybersecurity steps you can take. Often, your team is the front line of defense in recognizing problems, from a slow response to web applications, complaints from patients regarding issues with the website, or recognizing malicious attempts to access data or login credentials.
2. Use encrypted email
Protected Health Information should not travel in or out of your general email inbox (Gmail, Yahoo!, etc.). Nearly all data trusted to your organization should be encrypted. HIPAA encrypted email can protect your accounts from unsolicited emails, which means malicious messages will never make it to your inboxes.
3. Limit Cybercrime Access Points
The safest HIPAA-compliant email meets all five required HIPAA Safeguards, transmits across a private encrypted network and encrypts email in transit and ‘at rest’ in your inbox.
4. Be in control of your inbox
Any HIPAA-compliant email that requires you to initiate first email communication to those outside your network is the most secure way to know you will be receiving email from a trusted source.
5. Work with partners who provide and clearly prioritize strong security
As with any business partner, you want to do your due diligence. Consider their reliability and security, their expertise, and do your research. A failure on their part to secure data is, ultimately, a failure on your part.
There are a lot of measures you can take to ensure the safety and security of your dental practice and the sensitive data contained within. While no measure is foolproof, implementing risk mitigation efforts is required not just by law, but through your commitment to your patients, your team, and your practice.
FDA endorses iCoreExchange HIPAA-compliant email. iCoreExchange not only meets or exceeds every compliance and security requirement, it also allows you to attach as many large files as you want to any single email. Speed up your workflow, protect patients and your practice. Check out this convenient and compliant service at iCoreConnect.com or call 888.810.7706. FDA members receive a substantial discount on iCoreExchange.
Generally, I am not a fan of an infomercial and a great deal of this book revolves around how to use a proprietary device, the Smile Light MDP, with your own cell phone to make dental photographs.
That knee-jerk reaction out of the way, it is possible there is no device similar to the Smile Light MDP available and the book does a fair-handed job of comparing dental photography using a conventional digital camera and all of its attendant gear to making those photographs with your cell phone, the MDP device and a few other pieces of kit, the mirrors and retractors needed for either type means of capturing the images.
It is crucial to get a test result for a pathogen quickly, lest someone continue in their daily lives infecting others. Delays in testing have undoubtedly exacerbated the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately, the most accurate COVID-19 test often takes 24 hours or longer to return results from a lab.
At-home test kits offer results in minutes but are far less accurate.
However, researchers at the University of Florida (UF) have helped to develop a COVID-19 testing device that can detect coronavirus infection in as little as 30 seconds. The testing device is just as sensitive and accurate as a PCR or polymerase chain reaction test, the gold standard of testing. UF researchers are now working with scientists at National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University in Taiwan.
Researchers say the device could transform public health officials’ ability to quickly detect and respond to the coronavirus or the next pandemic.
UF has entered into a licensing agreement with a New Jersey company, Houndstoothe Analytics. They hope to ultimately manufacture and sell the device, not just to medical professionals but also to consumers.
According to a recent peer-reviewed study published by UF researchers, the device boasts a 90 percent accuracy rating and comparable sensitivity to that of a PCR test.
The device is not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Researchers say they must first ensure that test results are not abstracted by cross-contamination. This analysis is ongoing as researchers work to identify other pathogens that might be found in the mouth and saliva that could precipitate contagion, such as other coronaviruses, staph infections, the flu, pneumonia and 20 others.
The hand-held apparatus is powered by a 9-volt battery and uses an inexpensive test strip, similar to those used in blood glucose meters. Coronavirus antibodies are attached to a gold-plated film at the tip of the device. The test strip is placed on the tongue to collect a tiny sample of saliva. The test strip is then inserted into a reader connected to a circuit board that houses the “brains” of the device.
If someone is infected, the coronavirus in the saliva binds with the antibodies and begins to dart around as they are prodded by two electrical pulses produced by a unique transistor. A higher concentration of coronavirus changes the electrical conductance of the sample which alters the voltage of the electrical pulses.
The voltage signal is amplified a million times and converted to a numerical value, which is essentially the sample’s electrochemical fingerprint. That value indicates a positive or negative result. A low value indicates a higher proportion of the virus detected within the sample. Researchers say the device’s ability to quantify viral and antibody load makes it especially useful for clinical purposes.
Esquivel-Upshaw confirms that the product can be constructed for less than $50. In contrast, PCR test equipment can cost thousands.
The research team also is studying its ability to detect specific proteins that could be used to diagnose other illnesses, including cancer, a heart attack and immune health.
Ren notes that he finds inspiration for his work in the recent death of his wife which was unrelated to COVID-19. [SL1] He connects his grief to the mourning of the rest of the world amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Almost a million people have died of COVID” in the United States, Ren said. “Those are so many tragedies. Old people. Young people. You name it. I said, ‘No, that’s it.’ That is too much.”
He told of several institutions working on devices that use a field effect transistor (FET) like that found in the COVID-19 testing device his team is developing. Even so, those devices are made for one-time use. The sample is applied directly to the FET, so the transistor is no longer usable and must be discarded.
Ren states that the expendable nature of those devices makes them expensive and impractical for mass testing.
The UF device is unique in its structure due to the separation of the transistor from the sample, like blood glucose meters that use test strips to collect a drop of blood after a lancet pierces a finger. This innovation sets the device apart from the rest in both affordability and ease of use.
Ren proposes that the device could be a crucial advancement in testing for venues with large crowds, such as concerts, sporting events or classrooms. Researchers say the unit would also potentially provide access to inexpensive and accurate testing in rural areas and developing nations.
Researchers also discussed the limitless opportunities for personal usage of the device such as parties, events, and other gatherings.
“Yes or no. You’re infected or not infected. You get the answer right away,” said Ren.