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What World Backup Day Means To Me

Posted March 27, 2017 by Ryan S

A Day in the Life of an IT guy.

It’s Tuesday, 8:22am, and I just got a call from a panicked office manager. She’s having problems getting into her system and things are not working right. Nobody in the office can get into their software to start their day. Unfortunately, as an IT technician, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen this happen. A virus attack, hard drive failure, or even something as simple as accidental deletion of a file can quickly create chaos for a business. My first question…Do you have a backup?

The next part of our conversation can go one of three ways. 1) There is no backup. 2) There is a backup. But, it wasn’t working properly or backing up the right stuff. 3) There is a backup and it’s good, it’s recent, and we’re on our way to restoring the data and getting them up and running. What path would you be headed down?

Backups can mean the difference between picking up where you left off or starting completely over from scratch. Backups should be one of the most important decisions a dental practice owner makes. They can be done multiple ways. It may be as simple as plugging in an external hard drive and manually copying the files you want. Or, it could be a fully automated, encrypted, secure backup to an offsite storage location.

What type of backup is right for me?backup

The answer to that question all depends on the type of business you’re in, the amount of data backed up, and how quickly you need that data back if it’s taken away. More often than not, dental software and digital imaging relies on hundreds or thousands of files and folders and even multiple databases. Your day to day operation depends on all of them to be there and working. Considering anything less than a fully automated offsite backup solution is a gamble you don’t want to take.

Putting your data at risk each day at the cost of a cup of Starbucks isn’t worth it. It is far too easy to accidentally open an email and get hit with a ransomware virus, for a hard drive to reach its end-of-life, or for any number of unforeseen things to happen. Data that is held hostage or even damaged can leave you with a business that is brought to a screeching halt. If you have a good backup and a reliable service partner who makes it a priority to get you through a crisis, you can recover with relatively little pain and interruption.

Let’s get back to where my call started on Tuesday morning. Fortunately for her and the practice, we headed down path #3. They were doing a secure offsite backup. I was able to clean the virus from the computer, reload the operating system and programs, and get the data restore underway. Soon they were back to their business of taking care of patients.

If I can leave you with one piece of advice on this World Backup Day, consider your data. Consider its value, the role it plays in your everyday, how hard it works for you from scheduling to clinical notes, planned treatments and taking x-rays. Electronic dental records are amazing and I don’t know of anyone who wants to go back to paper chart days. But those records need to be protected and a reliable, secure, offsite backup is the first step in doing so.

Posted in: Dental Practice Management Software, Dental Software, Dental Technology, Electronic Dental Records, Leave a comment/ No Comments »
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Pennsylvania’s Recent e-Prescribing Legislation: What You Need to Know

Posted March 21, 2017 by Jennifer G

Video Courtesy of Penn Live

Pennsylvania experienced an astounding 3,264 opioid overdose deaths in 2015, a 20.1% increase from 2014. With the rising, devastating numbers in tow, Pennsylvania has decided to take further action and follow suit with New York and Maine.

On February 6, 2017,  Pennsylvania State Senator Richard Alloway and Pennsylvania State Representative Tedd Nesbit announced the introduction of legislation that will require all opioid prescriptions such as OxyContin®, Percocet®, and Norco® to be electronically prescribed (e-Prescribed) in Pennsylvania.

This legislation was initiated shortly after Pennsylvania introduced a more robust Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and is meant to help reduce opioid drug diversion, decrease opioid overdose deaths, and increase overall patient safety.

“In 2017, it just plain makes sense to prescribe the most addictive, but necessary, medication through e-Prescribing.” – Penn Live

Paper prescriptions which are the alternative to e-Prescriptions leave room for translation errors by the pharmacy, but also opens the door for patients to alter, lose, steal, or sell handwritten prescriptions.

In addition to increased patient safety, opioid e-Prescribing will:

  • Combat the rising issue of prescription fraud within a dental practice, including misuse of a dentist’s DEA number, forged signatures, and stolen prescription pads by patients or an Insider Threat. Get your copy of the Insider Threat eBook here.
  • Add to patient convenience by reducing wait times in pharmacies.
  • Ensure that any drug-drug and drug-allergy interactions based on a patient’s medication history are found and reported to the dentist before the prescription order is completed.
  • Increase patient medication pick-up adherence. Between 28% and 31% of all paper prescriptions either never make it to the pharmacy or are not picked up at all.

To put it simply, opioid e-Prescribing is one of the most effective solutions that is being rightfully viewed as an optimal tool by the state of Pennsylvania to combat the ever increasing opioid crisis.

For the protection of patients, the General Assembly is being urged to pass this vital legislation before June 30, 2017. Click here to read the proposed bill.

Get more information about ePrescribing and schedule a demo today!

Sources: OpenPR; Penn Live; PA State Legislation; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Pennsylvania Department of Health

Posted in: Dental Technology, Electronic Dental Records, XLDent Patient Experience, Leave a comment/ No Comments »
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Data Integrity and Reliability, does my dental software fit in?

Posted March 15, 2017 by Danielle H

dataIf you’re like most dentists, you probably haven’t given a lot of thought into whether your practice management software fits the bill when it comes to data integrity. What does that even mean? We need a program that helps us run our practices efficiently and adheres to the best in security standards. The ability to store, process and retrieve data with accuracy and consistency isn’t something you necessarily see, but it is something you’ll experience every day. Today’s blog takes a closer look at a few of the ways XLDent stands out from the crowd.

Database you can count on.

The XLDent practice management software uses a MySQL database engine that ensures performance, scalability and data protection. Many of us take performance and speed for granted when it comes to dental software. The MySQL database helps to ensure that, even as your practice grows, you’ll never experience time lags when accessing your patient information. To protect your data, MySQL offers powerful security and a smooth database backup and recovery process.

Multi Location – No problem.

XLDent offers a scalable solution, meaning you can take your practice from one location to many—all on a single database. As your practice grows, your software should grow with you. That means fast performance and access at all locations and software tools to help you manage your business effectively, from anywhere.

Security features you can feel confident in.

In today’s world, every practice management software should be offering access control tools and tracking information to help you maintain control of your database. XLDent’s security groups help you limit access to areas of the program that would not be needed for an individual to complete their job functions. And, when you’re not sure how or why something happened, the security log helps you take control of the situation and get back on the right track.

Strength in partnerships.

You don’t have to walk down the aisle of any dental exhibit hall or read the online forums to know there are a bazillion new dental software programs and add-ons out there. But who’s vetting these guys and protecting the dentist’s database? When you choose XLDent, you can feel confident in the integration partnerships we have available. Even though we love working with newbies, we don’t let everyone. We choose partners carefully and always keep our client’s best interest in mind. A trusted development environment and support we can be confident will serve you best are just a couple of the traits XLDent needs in a valued partner. Looking for something new and exciting, we’d love to have a conversation about it!

As you’re thinking about this article and wondering if your software makes the cut, do yourself a favor and think about the big picture. Your practice success depends on it!

XLDent has been in business since 1971, focusing on the high technology needs of dental practices. For more information about how XLDent can take your practice to the next level, contact us today.

Posted in: Dental Practice Management Software, Dental Software, Dental Technology, Electronic Dental Records, Leave a comment/ No Comments »
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4 Things You Should Know About Risk Management

Posted March 7, 2017 by Alexa S.

Preventive care is something that you stress to your patients every day. Establishing a preventive risk management plan, reducing risky behaviors, and regular maintenance are crucial to running a successful and prepared practice. We’ll explore a few ideas today that will help you reduce or even eliminate potential vulnerabilities in the long run.

To start, determine a point person in your practice to oversee risk-management issues, recognize potential problems early and be proactive in investigating and implementing preventive measures. The point person should be responsible for reviewing office policies on a routine basis and ensuring that all team members are adhering to the established policies. For practices that do not have documentation, the risk management point person should work to identify areas of risk and begin creating policies to mitigate them. This may include patient dismissal, chairside documentation, complex treatment plan or insurance billing procedures.

A key element to a well-rounded risk management plan is patient satisfaction. Patients who repeatedly feel their concerns are not being heard may soon become unhappy, and are more likely to file a complaint against your practice. Patients who like their dentist and office team are less likely to get to the point of a malpractice suit; this is why it is essential for you and all staff members to provide quality care to every patient. Little things that you may not consider to be a big deal can cause a normally happy patient to become dissatisfied. For example, you have a patient who has to wait 30 minutes for an appointment, doesn’t get an apology, and feels rushed through their visit. The result is a higher potential for the patient to feel discouraged and even disrespected. Every member of your team plays a role in maintaining a positive experience for patients. A good relationship with a patient can often prevent a small issue from becoming a risk nightmare.

Are you positive that all of your patients have reasonable expectations surrounding their treatment outcome before you provide care? If not, now is the time to reassess your treatment presentation and education processes. It is important to make sure you clearly communicate and that your patients fully understand procedures and their anticipated outcome prior to providing treatment. This should be done verbally, but also make sure that you retain complete, accurate, and unaltered records for each patient. After completing thorough examinations, it is important to document your findings in as much detail as possible. Be prepared in the event you encounter a lawsuit by getting in the habit of relying on a system designed for narrative progress notes. The clinical narrative will help you create a comprehensive picture of the care provided as well as the patient consent to treatment.

Finally, if you aren’t already doing a regular team huddle – start one! Why? Team huddles work! Being able to communicate face-to-face with your team makes these meetings more personal and likely to garner more attention. By having team huddles, you open the door to your team to express any areas of concern or processes they do not understand. Use the huddle to focus on key practice issues, and educate and align your team on the specifics surrounding managing risk.risk management

Assessing and addressing legal liabilities in areas of treatment, documentation and relationships is a necessary part of risk management. Reviewing all areas of your dental practice will help you provide the best possible patient care while reducing uncertainties. If you haven’t reviewed your risk management plan recently, take a look at 9 Strategies for Managing Risk and get started today.

Posted in: Dental Practice Management Software, Dental Software, Dental Technology, Electronic Dental Records, Leave a comment/ No Comments »
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Risk Management and Your Patients

Posted February 14, 2017 by Danielle H

Girl Screaming

One of the biggest fears a dentist has in his or her career is being confronted with a lawsuit or going before the dental board. Statistics say a dentist will likely face 3 to 5 law suits or dental board cases in their lifetime. How can you prepare for or prevent a malpractice lawsuit? Today’s post will look at 4 ways to minimize the risk of malpractice lawsuits against your practice.

 

Communication

Maintaining open communication with your patients is one of the most important aspects to managing malpractice risk. Inform patients of your office policies regarding after-hours care, prescription refills and expectations for conduct in the practice. Patients who request to speak with the doctor outside of their scheduled appointments should be told when to expect a response from the dentist. The dentist should always follow up with any patient who is expressing dissatisfaction rather than defer to a staff member.

Get it in writing

Even though everyone knows that proper documentation is the best defense in a malpractice lawsuit, many practices continue to fall short. Document your facts, impressions, clinical judgement and treatment objectively. Refrain from using words that contain bias towards patients or previous providers in your documentation. Also, be sure to note when patients report both positive or negative comments.

No chairside manner

Patients who like their providers are far less likely to file a lawsuit. It is the entire team’s job to provide a great patient experience. Basic things like greeting every patient you come in contact with should be the expectation. Your clinical team members bear an even greater responsibility to ask questions and listen to the patient. Patient needs or concerns should be shared with everyone on your team to ensure everyone is on the same page. If a patient has treatment concerns, minimizing or dismissing those concerns will likely lead to dissatisfaction. Taking the time now to explain procedures and complications thoroughly will reduce an opportunity for disappointment later.

No formal discharge process

There may come a time when a patient becomes a problem for your practice and termination of the doctor/patient relationship must occur. A formal discharge process should be followed to ensure there is no additional liability for the dentist. Outline a process for your practice that helps your team follow the same steps every time. All communications (phone and written) with the patient should be documented. Written termination should include an end date and make it clear that the patient will not be seen by the dentist after that date has passed.

Every practice faces challenges when it comes to managing patients and minimizing risk. Keep in mind that taking steps to listen and communicate properly, identifying dissatisfaction, having adequate documentation, and understanding the legal consequences involved are just some of the important factors in managing risk with your patients.

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