The FDA’s New Fluoridation Website is Your Go-to Source for the Facts!

By Dr. Johnny Johnson, American Fluoridation Society President

Quick! Answer the following questions within 30 seconds:

1. The patient in your chair goes into cardiac arrest. What is the first phone call you make?
2. What is the concentration of your preferred local anesthetic?
3. Is your community water fluoridated?
4. What is the recommended level of fluoride for community water fluoridation (CWF)?

I bet that the first two questions took you a split second to answer. The third question may have been just as quick. The fourth? Maybe quick, maybe not.

How can you be 100 percent sure that you are correct in your answers? Well, the Florida Dental Association (FDA) would like to introduce you to our new and outstanding fluoridation website: www.floridafluoridation.org!

As dentists, we are expected to be the experts in water fluoridation — and we should be. The proper level of fluoride in drinking water is critical in knocking out at least 25 percent of cavities that adults and children will ever get. It also reduces the severity of those cavities.

The FDA’s fluoridation website is the best website that I have seen anywhere in the U.S. — or in the world for that matter! I know because I have worked with many of you in protecting, restarting and/or initiating CWF in your communities. And we have been an awesome force in ensuring that all of our residents — rich or poor, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, level of education or access to dental care — continue to receive this safe and effective public health benefit.

There are many great resources for information on CWF. However, when it comes to concise information that is user-friendly and state-based, the FDA’s website is primo!  The information is easy to find, concise and presented for both professionals and the public to use.

I challenge you to do these three things:

1. Immediately — right now! — find out what the fluoride level is in your community’s water.1,2,3,4
2. Pull up the FDA’s water fluoridation website.
3. Hang up a poster on CWF in your office — please!

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. CWF is the best bang for the buck for everyone in our state to benefit from the cavity reductions without a single behavioral change.

If you have any questions, challenges or needs, the FDA and I are here to help you. No question is dumb; the only dumb question is the one not asked. We are here to serve you. Call on us. Thank you for fighting the GREAT fight.

Dr. Johnson is a pediatric dentist in Palm Harbor, Fla. and the president of the American Fluoridation Society. He can be reached at drjohnnyjohnson@gmail.com.

References:

1 My Water’s Fluoride (annual water quality report)
2 Dr. Johnny Johnson
3 Florida Department of Health
4 American Dental Association, American Fluoridation Society, Campaign for Dental Health

Could Your Practice’s Website Reveal Your HIPAA Non-compliance?

By Dr. Danika Brinda, CEO, Planet HIPAA

Did you know that your practice’s website can reveal to the world that you are out of compliance with HIPAA?

A quick look around your website could reveal to a HIPAA auditor that your practice is struggling with HIPAA compliance. Wondering what I am referring to? It’s the Notice of Privacy Practices! The regulations state that your practice must ensure that the most current version of your Notice of Privacy Practices is posted on the practice’s website (if one exists). Here is the specific language from the regulations:

CFR 164.520(c)(3)(i) – A covered entity that maintains a website that provides information about the covered entity’s customer services or benefits must prominently post its notice (of privacy practices) on their website and make the notice available electronically through their website.

Go ahead, give it a try. Head on out to your website (or another practice’s). Try and find the Notice of Privacy Practices. Were you successful or did you find something that is called Privacy Policy? If you look through the Privacy Policy, most of the time the language is something specific to the privacy policy of the website and not the Notice of Privacy Practices. Keep searching for the Notice of Privacy Practices. If you are unsuccessful at finding it, the basic elements of the regulations are not met. If you found the Notice of Privacy Practices – great work! You are compliant, right? NOT NECESSARILY!

Even with your Notice of Privacy Practices posted on your website, you must make sure that the document is your most current version and matches the one available in your office. You also must make sure it meets all the requirements that were defined in the 2013 HIPAA Privacy Regulations and the 2013 HIPAA Omnibus Rule. If any of the following three statements are true, your website revealed that you are out of compliance with HIPAA:

  1. Your Notice of Privacy Practices was not posted on your website.
  2. Your Notice of Privacy Practices was dated prior to Sept. 23, 2013.
  3. The Notice of Privacy Practices on your website isn’t the most up-to-date copy.

If you think the auditors will not be looking on your website to make sure your Notice of Privacy Practices is posted, think again. In the OCR 2016 HIPAA Desk Audit Guidance on Selected Protocol Elements, it states the covered entity must “upload the URL for the entity’s website and the URL for the posting of the entity’s notice.” In fact, the instructions for the HIPAA auditors state that they must:

“Determine whether the entity maintains a website. If so, observe the website to determine if the Notice of Privacy Practices is prominently displayed and available. An example of prominent posting of the notice would include a direct link from homepage with a clear description that the link is to the HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practices.”

Not only does it have to be posted on your website, but it must be in a location that is easy to find with an easy description!

The Notice of Privacy Practice is not a difficult area to comply with for the HIPAA regulations; however, it is a common area of non-compliance. To be compliant with this regulation, the following four items should be established:

  • Notice of Privacy Practices
  • Notice of Privacy Practices Policy and Procedure
  • Acknowledge Form of the Notice of Privacy Practices
  • Making the notice available on the practice’s website

The specific elements that need to be defined in the Notice of Privacy Practices are specifically defined in the regulations. More information can be found here.

 

Dr. Danika Brinda is the CEO of Planet HIPAA and has more than 12 years of experience in health care privacy and security practices. She also is a nationally recognized speaker on a variety of health care privacy and security topics, and specializes in helping dental organizations implement a HIPAA-compliance program.

This article was first published on Planet HIPAA on Sept. 5, 2016.

Signs it’s Time to Update Your Website

By Melody Gandy-Bohr, Officite

Your website is your first impression in the minds of many modern patients, and you may never get another opportunity to show them the excellence of your practice. You only have a tiny window of time to convince them to stay — half of online users spend less than 15 seconds on a website. An old, outdated site can cause users to navigate away before they even get a chance to look at your services. Don’t risk losing potential patients. Instead, keep an eye out for these signs that it’s time for updated functionality and a new look.

Your Website Isn’t Responsive

According to Google, more searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries, including the U.S. Mobile search is dominating the internet, and if your website isn’t properly optimized, you are losing out on a large portion of your target audience. A website that doesn’t render well on a mobile device will cause a bad user experience for visitors and damage your practice’s SEO goals. If you haven’t already, upgrade your site to a mobile-responsive design to encourage site visitors to stick around.

It Takes Forever to Load

A slow-loading website can be annoying, especially to a generation accustomed to the instant gratification that the internet provides. This will greatly increase your bounce rate and create a negative user experience. However, your site speed could also be affecting your website ranking. Among the many factors that define its ranking algorithm, Google also takes site speed into consideration. Granted, site speed is just one small aspect of Google’s algorithm, but it is something that can be easily fixed with an updated website.

Your Analytics Are Terrible

The numbers don’t lie; if your website data is showing that visitors are leaving your website without engaging, that’s a clear sign an update is needed. Usually, this means that your outdated content or aesthetics aren’t meeting your user’s needs. A website that isn’t converting visitors into patients is not doing its job. Take a look at your website analytics and consider an upgrade to improve conversion rates.

You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Updated

There’s no shame in being a little neglectful of your website. As a practice owner, it can be challenging to find time in your busy day to spend on your online marketing strategy. If it’s been a few years since you’ve touched your website, it’s long overdo for an update. Website design trends and SEO techniques change often, which can leave your website far behind the competition. Your practice has probably changed as well. Whether you have new staff members, services or an additional location, you’ll no doubt have plenty to add if you want to keep your patients up to speed.

It’s important to remember that your website is an online representation of your practice. An updated, mobile-responsive website can go a long way toward improving your online reputation and reaching your marketing goals. If any of these points applies to your practice, an update could make a huge difference to your bottom line.


Interested in learning how Officite can help you bring your digital marketing up to speed? Contact us at 888.749.3778 for more information!

 

 

Information Overload? The FDA Can Help with That!

By Drew Eason, FDA Executive Director

We all feel a bit overwhelmed these days. Information comes to us from so many sources: email, television, phone calls, texts, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat and so on. I recently decided to sell my fairly new Apple Watch, as it was one more thing that buzzed and rang and did other things to get my attention — it was too much!

With this information overload, it is no wonder we sometimes miss the information sent to us that actually is important or helpful. A frequent phone call we get at the Florida Dental Association (FDA) office from members is: “Why didn’t the FDA let members know about X?” And more times than not, we’ve shared the information with members on multiple platforms: Today’s FDA, News Bites, Facebook, etc. But that information overload gets in the way, and we completely understand and sympathize.

Members shouldn’t be embarrassed about missing something — we all do. Instead, if there is something a member needs or has a question on, he or she can simply pick up the phone and call the FDA. That’s why we’re here: to help you succeed. Rather than spending your valuable time researching something or getting frustrated online trying to find an answer, call the FDA. There is a good chance we have what you are looking for. If not, it might be something other members need and we’ll work to get the information or direct you to the best place for it. It’s that easy: Dial 800.877.9922!

Now, we all have days where we just don’t want to talk to an actual person. We understand! So we’ve created a “chat” function on our website — just go to the member section and you’ll see the button. Staff will be on hand 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to answer your questions via chat if that’s what you prefer.

Now you can go back to responding to emails, Facebook messages, LinkedIn requests, etc.!