Scary Good Web Design Tips from Officite

By Kevin Rach

Beware, dear reader, and steel your nerves before continuing further in this article. The stories contained herein are the unfortunate tales of dentists and patients attempting to connect with each other through mismanaged and long-neglected practice websites. Let this be a cautionary tale, and take heed, lest a similar gruesome fate befall your own practice …

“It Came From 2005!”
It took almost half a minute, but when the dentist’s website finally shambled out from the darkness of the loading screen, the patient gasped. It was … hideous.

The unsightly configuration of mismatched and outdated design elements shuffled forward on two poorly constructed footers like an HTML Frankenstein’s monster. “Welcome to my website,” it croaked, its cobwebbed mouth opened wide, revealing teeth in much need of a good dentist.

The patient nearly gagged as the unresponsive mass lurched forward, oversized images dragging behind its lopsided gait. It was almost enough to make her pity the aberration, but there was no time. She had to escape, to find a dentist with a modern Web presence. After all, if this is what the website looked like, there was no telling what outdated horrors lay within the practice itself.

“In Cyberspace, No One Can Hear You Tweet.”
Dr. Igor had nothing but good intentions when he set out on his new experiment. The goal? Using social media to promote his practice and start generating referrals. He set up a Facebook page and a Twitter handle, and started regularly posting. All might have gone well had he not made two crucial mistakes — failing to integrate social media buttons on the main website, and never encouraging a patient to “like” his practice in person.

Dr. Igor has not been seen by a patient online since 2011.

Legend has it that on some clear nights, if you turn up your speakers and listen very hard, you can just barely hear the whimper of his social media posts mumbling about the importance of semiannual exams.

There is still time, dear reader. The horrors described here need never haunt your own practice. With the help of a company like the FDA’s official Web presence provider, Officite, your practice will be safe and sound with cutting-edge responsive mobile design, integrated social media and search engine optimization — the tools your practice needs to survive.

Visit www.officite.com/dental, or call 855.208.9124.

 

Dental Patients with Special Needs

FDA President Dr. Ralph Attanasi and Today’s FDA have partnered to bring you a special video to correspond with his column, “@ralph,” in each issue. The Sept/Oct issue focuses on special needs, and in the video below, Dr. Attanasi provides tips for preparing and caring for dental patients with special needs. We encourage our members to share your experiences with us by sending your story to communications@floridadental.org for potential future posts to Beyond the Bite.

The Special Needs Dental Patient from Florida Dental Association on Vimeo.

Code of Ethics Spurs Public’s Decision in Choosing Dentists, Survey Says

By David Burger, Senior Editor at the American Dental Association

ADA member dentists are unique in that they have something that other dentists don’t: a Code of Ethics.

Patients like that, according to the results of a new study commissioned by the Association’s Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs. Nearly 70 percent of patients are more likely to choose an ADA member dentist knowing that those dentists follow a Code of Ethics, the study showed. The survey also showed that nearly 75 percent of patients said that simply knowing that a dentist was a member of the ADA would influence whom they selected as a dentist.

The ADA has long believed that the ADA’s “Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct” elevated dentists’ reputation in the community, but didn’t have proof, said Pennsylvania dentist Dr. Linda K. Himmelberger, chair of CEBJA. “We were hoping to find it was a differentiator for the public,” Dr. Himmelberger said. “That is what the survey pointed out.”

The May survey was conducted among a Census-balanced, nationally representative sample of 1,000 people, with a 3 percent margin of error. Respondents were asked to read a description of the ADA Code before responding to a final question.

The survey tested whether public knowledge of the ADA Code and its fundamental purpose of putting the interests of patients first would resonate with the public and might result in channeling patients to ADA member dentists. Members of the ADA voluntarily agree to abide by the ADA Code as a condition of membership in the Association.

“CEBJA wanted to know if the ADA Code would help us with ADA’s membership goals,” said Oklahoma dentist Dr. Doug Auld, vice chairman of CEBJA.

The findings included:

  • Sixty-seven percent of respondents knew if their dentists were members of the ADA.
  • Two in five consumers believed that ADA dentists hold themselves to a higher standard than other dentists. After learning about the Code, the number increased to 53 percent.
  • Patients aged 35-64 were more likely to be influenced by the Code when choosing a dentist, while people in the 18-24 age range were considerably less influenced by the Code.
  • If people believe they are already going to an ADA dentist, the Code will likely influence them to look even more strongly for another ADA member the next time they are in need of a dentist.

Some of the findings pleasantly surprised Dr. Himmelberger and Dr. Auld.

“What impressed me was that 69 percent of patients, knowing that we had a Code, were more likely to go to a member dentist,” Dr. Auld. “I didn’t think it would be that high. I was surprised.”

“The public does feel very strongly about their dentists being members of the ADA,” Dr. Himmelberger said. “Seventy-five percent is a big number.”

Dr. Himmelberger said that member dentists should promote the findings and share them. “There are ways they can work the Code and the fact that they are ADA members into their daily interactions with their patients to increase the patient’s awareness of the Code and how it guides the way their dentist treats them,” she said.

She recommended that dentists should print out the ADA Code and have copies of it in the waiting room. Dr. Auld said that members also should have the ADA Code posted conspicuously in the office.

They also recommended that members should either post the Code on their websites or post an existing video about the Code, available at ADA.org/en/about-the-ada/principles-of-ethics-code-of-professional-conduct, on their sites.

Printed copies of the Code are available upon request by contacting the coordinator of CEBJA, Earl Sewell, at 312.440.2499 or sewelle@ada.org.

The Code can be viewed at ADA.org.

Burger D. Code of Ethics spurs public’s decision in choosing dentists, survey says.  ADA News. Posted July 15, 2015 at http://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2015-archive/july/code-of-ethics-spurs-publics-decision-in-choosing-dentists-survey-says?nav=news. Copyright @ 2015 American Dental Association.  Reproduced with permission.