2018 Florida Mission of Mercy

By DentalPC

What happens when you need a dental cleaning, you’re experiencing tooth pain or worse? Most of our readers own dental practices or they are staff members who assist in a dental practice, which should make the entire process of going to the dentist very simple.

For most people who do not work in the world of dentistry, typically you’ll make a dental appointment and see your dentist as soon as possible, but what if it wasn’t that simple for others? Thankfully, DentalPC partners with life-changing foundations like the Florida Dental Association Foundation’s Florida Mission of Mercy (FLA-MOM) to help make this process a little easier for some of our Floridians.

What is the FLA-MOM?

The FLA-MOM is a two-day clinic which provides free dental care to the under-served and under-insured in Florida – those that would otherwise go without dental care. The FLA-MOM is a first-come, first-served event with a goal of treating 2,000 patients in two days. Every year, the FLA-MOM event is held in a different location throughout the state.

Services provided include cleanings, fillings, extractions, pediatric dentistry and limited root canal therapy.

How is DentalPC Involved?

DentalPC had the honor of sponsoring the FLA-MOM as the Presenting Benefactor for the fourth consecutive year. Clay Archer (CEO) and his team of knowledgeable technicians traveled to Fort Myers for this years big event. It was a busy couple of days in Fort Myers at the Lee Civic Center last weekend! The FLA-MOM provided 11,899 procedures to 1,906 patients with a value of more than $1.7 million!

 

Take a Walk Down Memory Lane With Us:

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Behind the Scenes: Jacob and David working hard to get all of the workstations set up!
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Day 2 in full effect … 200 veterans are about to walk in for their pre-screening.
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Veterans pre-screened, meetings done, we are locked and loaded to start seeing 2,000 patients and provide high quality dental care to those in need. It all starts bright and early at 5 a.m. and won’t stop until a little after noon on Saturday!
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Our CTO, Marty Cortines and Project Lead, Jacob!
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Of course, we have a little fun along the way! Thanks for all your hard work, Clay (CEO)!
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#DPCteam
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Last day, patients coming in.
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And just like that, it ends … 1900 patients in 2 days.

Thank you to all the volunteers who selflessly dedicated their time and skills to the 2018 FLA-MOM! We could not have done this without your help and support!

We’ll see you in Orlando for the next FLA-MOM on March 22-23, 2019.

Reprinted with permission. This article first appeared on DentalPC’s blog and can be found at http://www.dentalpc.com/2018/03/2018-florida-mission-of-mercy/.

ADA Website Accessibility Compliance: How to Protect Your Practice

By Officite

The focus of “ADA compliant” websites has become a hot topic of discussion lately. You’ve likely heard of the issue by now, but perhaps you’re not entirely sure what it means for your practice. Is it really true that a few simple mistakes can land you in legal hot water? In this short guide, we’ll explain the basics of how the ADA pertains to websites so that you can take the appropriate steps to provide the best care to your patients, and to protect your practice from unnecessary litigation.

This is by no means a comprehensive guide, nor is it meant to provide legal advice. If you find yourself facing an ADA-related claim, you should consult an attorney. Nevertheless, by the time you’ve finished reading this, we hope to reduce some of the fear and misinformation swirling around the issue. First, let’s cover the basics.

What is the ADA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, sometimes AwDA) is a federal law passed in 1990 that aims to protect the rights of disabled people to ensure they are not discriminated against due to their disability. This is the same law that requires real-world public locations (referred to by the ADA as “places of public accommodation”) to be accessible to disabled patrons by offering accommodations such as wheelchair ramps and handicapped parking. The law is well-intentioned, and largely effective at improving the lives of disabled people. Unfortunately, however, the law did not account for the growing dependence of the internet, and did not provide specific language to cover any differences or similarities between physical locations and a website.

What do the Recent ADA Lawsuits Claim?

Until recently, many of these lawsuits had been in relation to actual physical locations. But over the past year or so, some dentists have received letters from lawyers claiming that their websites do not comply with The Americans with Disabilities Act, and thus have not provided the necessary accommodations for their clients. These letters often threaten legal action unless the practice agrees to pay an amount of money to settle the dispute outside of court. In order to prevent a potentially long and costly legal battle, many of these dentists have agreed to the settlement.

What Does It Mean to Be “ADA Compliant”?

If you take only one thing away from this guide, it should be this: as of today, there is no legal definition for an “ADA compliant” website. The current ADA regulations, which are enforced by the Department of Justice (DOJ), do not specifically mention websites and their accessibility requirements. The DOJ has stated that official regulations for website accessibility will not be released until at least Spring 2018. Until that point, all we have to work with are suggested guidelines, not hard-and-fast requirements.

Although there is no specific language (as of the date of this publication) within The Americans with Disabilities Act regarding website requirements, there are arguments that can be made that the language of the law insinuates websites as a place of public accommodation. Because of this lack of specificity, different state courts have different views, which can range from:

  • Websites are not required to be accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Only websites that have a connection to an actual brick and mortar location must be accessible to people with disabilities.
  • All websites must be accessible to people with disabilities.

Immediate Steps to Take

If you are a current client of Officite, then your website meets the current suggested ADA accessibility guidelines. In addition, Officite will keep all of its clients’ websites updated to meet these guidelines without any action required by its clients.

If your website is not hosted by Officite, you should take a moment to familiarize yourself with the basics of website accessibility. The DOJ has suggested the WCAG 2.0’s ‘Level AA Success Criteria’ as the best accessibility standards to follow. Again, these are suggested guidelines; they are not currently laws. Nevertheless, this checklist is a good place to start. If you can check every box of the Level AA Success Criteria, you are in the best position to defend your website from any “non-compliant” complaints you may receive.

Next, it’s a good idea to run your current website through an automatic evaluation tool that will help to reveal some of the most common potential accessibility problems.

Further Complications

Even if you have checked your website against the suggested ADA website accessibility guidelines and run the automatic evaluation tool, if you or your office staff add or modify content on your website, regardless of whether it is written or visual, it is difficult to guarantee that these changes fall within the suggested ADA website accessibility guidelines. If you do make changes to your website, it is best to use a website hosting company that meets the suggested ADA website accessibility guidelines and have their customer service team make the changes for you.

Additional Information

For health care practices that do not currently host their websites with Officite, Officite provides a complimentary ADA accessibility review to help gauge where your website stands in relation to the currently suggested ADA accessibility guidelines. To get this free evaluation, please call 888-700-3971 between the hours of 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Central Time, M-F or visit www.OfficiteFreeADAReview.com to schedule an appointment.

As the leader in website hosting and web presence solutions for healthcare practices, it is Officite’s goal to help all health care practices prosper and remain equipped for success in the future. Please feel free to share this FAQ document in its entirety. You also may direct additional questions to Officite’s team of Web Presence Advisors who can be reached at 888-700-3971.

 

This article was originally posted on Officite’s blog on July 19, 2017.

Why Electronic Documentation Can be Such a Pain

By Juanita Benedict, DPT, CEAS II

I get it. I understand why electronic medical records are necessary. Documenting in this format is supposed to decrease medical errors and improve coordination of health care. I even prefer electronic documentation in most circumstances. Honestly, who wants to sit and hand write 30 detailed notes at the end of the day? It’s a great concept, except … don’t we already spend too much time in front of a screen? Even before the implementation of the electronic record requirements, a study from the Council for Research Excellence in 2009 reported in the New York Times claimed that the average American spends more than eight hours per day in front of a screen! With more of our personal and business interactions being performed in front of the computer or mobile device, how much has that time increased almost seven years later?

Despite the benefits of electronic documenting for overall improved coordination of health and documentation compliance, the fact is that extended screen time is simply not healthy. Here are three reasons why:

1. More prolonged sitting. After sitting all or most of the day, the last thing your body needs is more sitting. However, it is unlikely that you have equipped your office with one of those cool treadmill desks. Sedentary activities promote cardiovascular disease, increase the risk of obesity and consequential health problems associated with it, decrease aerobic capacity and much more. Of course, there is a higher incidence of musculoskeletal pain in those who are more sedentary because the body is simply getting weaker.

2. More poor posturing. Proper posturing is just as important while using a computer as it is when working on patients to decrease risk of developing musculoskeletal dysfunction. Just as proper sitting postures often are lacking when delivering dental care, computer operating postures often leave much to be desired. If you are already experiencing neck/shoulder/back/wrist pain, your computer positioning may be a contributing factor that you have not considered. This is another area where those pesky muscle imbalances wreak havoc.

3. More visual stress. Eye strain is a problem for dental professionals. According to the American Optometric Association, extended time on computers can lead to a collection of symptoms that has been named “computer vision syndrome.” Symptoms include headaches, blurred vision, and even neck and shoulder pain. Since eye strain is already common in dentistry due to the demands of accommodation and such, adding more activities that promote poor eye health is not ideal.

As it becomes more necessary to increase your screen time at work, it becomes even more necessary to change your lifestyle habits. Here are just a few tips on how to counteract some of the consequences of extended computer use:

Unplug: Spend time away from computers, phones, tablets and TV screens! You may be amazed at how difficult this may be at first. However, after a while, this will seem like a refreshing oasis of time. Reconnect with those things you once loved.

Move: Any way you want. Dance. Walk. Swim. Bike. Go to the gym. Play with your kids. Help a neighbor move. Clean the house! It doesn’t matter what you do — just get going. This act alone has tremendous emotional and physical health benefits.

Eat well: With an increase of sedentary activities, there is a decrease in calories burned and increase in fat deposited throughout the body. If you are not training to run a marathon, make sure you are not eating as though you are. Stick to a healthy diet with a lot of fiber and water. Peristalsis tends to slow as we become more sedentary as well, which can lead to bloating and other very uncomfortable things!

Educate yourself: Knowing your risk factors for developing pain and compromising your health is necessary so that you can learn how to overcome them. Use quality and reputable resources to make changes in your daily practice. OSHA has provided a free guide to setting up a proper workstation environment to improve posturing. Other resources provide information on how to assess your computer stations and help you to configure a station that makes long hours of documentation, business transactions, emailing, and even reading blogs more comfortable and safe for you.

It appears electronic documentation is here to stay. So, it is of utmost importance that you learn how to protect your health from the devastating consequences that will result from hours of screen time.

As always: Be healthy and practice safely!


Juanita Benedict is a physical therapist in Florida who works specifically with dental professionals to reduce their pain while practicing as well as extend their careers. For more information, go to www.healthydentistrysolutions.com or contact her at 407.801.3324.

 

From Phone to Checkout

By Sarah Woods, Dental Marketing Consultant

Due to advances in technology, dental marketing has become a crucial element in the success of a dental practice. It is very easy to get overwhelmed and focused on the marketing, causing the fundamentals of a successful dental practice to get lost. If the fundamentals of a positive patient experience are not there, the marketing investment is wasted. Here are just a couple of small steps to help you and your staff get back to the basics.

Smile!
When I was 19, I worked in a large dental practice in Virginia. My only role in the practice was to answer the 25-line phone system and check patients in. On my first day, I was given a mirror to hang in front of me. I was told that it was there to make sure I was smiling when I answered the phone. Every time I answered the phone, I watched myself in the mirror to make sure that I was smiling while I spoke. It worked so well and was especially helpful on days that I maybe didn’t automatically feel cheerful. Smiling really comes through the phone and people are much more receptive to a cheerful voice!

Personal Connection
Creating a connection and developing a relationship with patients is the most important aspect of treatment acceptance. Patients want to feel safe and secure in their decision to trust their dentist, and this occurs only if a connection and relationship is built. The simplest and easiest first step in creating this connection is to find some commonality between you and the patient. Building this bridge can be as easy as discussing children, a hobby, marriage or a favorite place. Learning this information beforehand also is an easy way to break the ice. Ask staff members to take the time to learn as much about the patient as they can, and record this information in documentation and disclose it to you in daily huddles.


Ms. Woods is a dental marketing consultant who works exclusively with dentists to develop strategies to increase production and profits. She has provided marketing in large and small practices all over the country, and has extensive experience that provides her a unique perspective with the practical knowledge necessary to successfully implement strategies. She can be reached at scwoods79@gmail.com or 856.701.9135.