DCSIMG
Header Logo Band

Tried it — Didn’t Like It

Dr LarryToday is a guest post from one of a pair of married dentists, Dr. Larry Dougherty and Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty.

Tried it — Didn’t Like It

by Dr. Larry Dougherty:

Owning a dental practice is rewarding. Understatement alert: it can also be stressful. This isn’t unique to dentistry; it’s just part of owning a small business. If only there was a perfect cookbook on how to handle every situation, it would be so easy.

There’s no cookbook — we learn as much as we can, we measure and analyze, and we try to course-correct after mistakes. What worked in year one might not continue to work in years two and three.

Here are a few things we used to do – maybe they will work for you, but they didn’t work for us:

  • Stay open late The evening slots were booked weeks in      advance, but the no-show rate was terrible compared to our normal hours.      And our after-hours patients were more interested in emergency/patch up      treatment, not in becoming regular patients to our practice. We also didn’t      enjoy being in the office so late and our productivity declined.
  • Maintain Multiple Vendors When our practice was small, it didn’t seem      like a bad idea to comparison shop between numerous suppliers of the same      products. As we grew, we didn’t have time for all of that. Worse, managing      inventory became confusing. 
  • Micro-manage the Office At first we didn’t have an office manager or a bookkeeper. I tried to do it all myself and realized I was in way over my head. Sure, I’m smart enough to get up to speed, but is that the best use of my time and skills? It made sense in the beginning to do it myself, but the busier we became, the more it made sense to hire professionals and maintain oversight.

***
Dr. Larry Dougherty and Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty are the owners of Rolling Oaks Dental in San Antonio, TX.

Hands-On Attachment and Implant Dentistry Course at the New Dentist Conference

conference logoRecently we blogged about an innovative online CE course where you can follow a full-mouth restoration from the initial exam to final placement of prosthesis.

If that course interests you, consider enrolling in Treatment Planning: Implants and Attachments on Saturday, July 19 as part of the ADA 28th New Dentist Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. The course is in two parts that may be taken individually or together.

Part one is a morning lecture taking place at the Conference’s host hotel. Part two is a hands-on workshop taking place across town at the UMKC School of Dentistry. An additional $75 fee applies to those enrolling in the hands-on course.

The ADA 28th New Dentist Conference takes place in Kansas City, Missouri July 17-19, 2014 at Sheraton Kansas City, Crown Center. The conference offers up to 14 hours of continuing education, including this hands-on course. Courses do sell out; to ensure your spot, register today.

Follow Bob and Earn CE

follow Bob logo

Robert “Bob” Hartman is 62 years old and in need of a full-mouth restoration.

Bob will have an immediate maxillary and mandibular dentures placed, with extractions of all of his teeth, appropriate bone reduction and placement of prosthesis.

Bob’s case will be part of a CE online series where ADA members are able follow his treatment—from diagnosis to surgery — through courses posted on ADA CE Online (here’s a link to that first course.)

ADA News has the full story, including background information on Bob. We were especially interested in what this means for continuing education:

“We’ve done a lot of live patient courses at the ADA Annual Meeting since 2007 and many online courses featuring live-patient video,” said Richard Schuch, ADA director of Continuing Education and Industry Relations. “But we’ve never taken a look at a patient from beginning to end and let our members follow that patient. We’ve wanted to do this for a long time.”

Each step in the process is being filmed—from Bob’s initial examination and diagnosis and taking appropriate recordings of his mouth to surgery and placement of implants and prosthesis. In all, the process is expected to take about 18 months, culminating in a three-hour Education in the Round course at ADA 2015 — America’s Dental Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Very Sad News

All of us were saddened to learn of the passing of ADA student member Jiwon Lee. Lee was 29 years old, a fourth-year dental student at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, and the immediate past-president of the American Student Dental Association (ASDA.)

ASDA posted a statement on their website – here’s a link to the full PDF.

We send our deepest sympathies to her family, friends and loved ones.

 

Independent Contractor or Employee — What Happens with Patient Records?

Dentist Employment Agreement GuideWe’ve blogged before about the difference between classification as an independent contractor vs. as an employee. The difference in classifications has a number of ramifications, including taxes, decisions about how work is to be performed, and other considerations.

The ADA has a new publication — Dentist Employment Agreements: A Guide to Key Legal Provisions that goes into detail about the distinction between the two classifications, and raises a number of issues that could require clarification, including patient records:

Upon termination of the relationship, who will retain patient records? Where will the patient records be stored and how long will they be kept in the event of malpractice litigation? Are there any provisions to access the patient records? Can the dentist make a copy of certain patient records? Generally an employee does not own patient records, where an independent contractor may develop his or her own patient pool and possess ownership rights of patients’ records unless otherwise stipulated in the agreement. If the independent contractor does not possess ownership rights of patients’ records, it is advisable that the independent contractor secure the contractual right to photocopy the records of treated patients to defend in case of a malpractice suit, peer review or dental board action.

Dentist Employment Agreements is not a substitute for a lawyer, but can help you know what questions to ask and discussions to have with your legal advisor. The publication is available from the ADA Center for Professional Success, a member-only resource, exclusively for ADA members. And while you are there, check out the other resources including Be a Great Boss, Checklist for Terminating an Employee and Using Flexible Benefit Plans in your Practice

Saying “No” Without Ruining the Relationship

mentoringLet’s face it, the word no can stop a conversation dead in its tracks. But it’s important to have a strategy for sticking to your no without jeopardizing the relationship.

According to William Ury, Ph.D., co-founder of Harvard University’s Program on Negotiation and author of The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes, an approach he calls Yes! No. Yes? can be a helpful formula. Here’s how Lindsay Levine describes it on the Fast Company blog:

The First “Yes”: Let’s say a client wants to go with a lower-priced alternative, which you know will produce a substandard result. The first Yes! is the core value, need, or principle you’re trying to protect. For example, protecting the quality of the brand.

The “No” is a respectful no, saying, “To maintain our quality standards, we cannot go with the lower priced/lower quality item.”

The “Yes?” acknowledges the ongoing relationship, and sounds like, “Let’s work together to create something that works within your budget but doesn’t adversely affect the quality of the product.”

This formula might be useful for a number of scenarios, including describing treatment planning options.

Do you have a winning approach for holding your ground without jeopardizing the relationship? Leave your suggestion in the comments.

What does “ADA CERP approved provider” mean?

ADA CERP logoWe’re deep in planning for the ADA 28th New Dentist Conference taking place in Kansas City, Missouri July 17-19, 2014 at Sheraton Kansas City, Crown Center (registration is open now). The conference offers up to 14 hours of continuing education, and the American Dental Association is an ADA CERP approved provider. Which means what exactly?

In short, it’s a sign of quality. ADA CERP reviews and approves providers of CE that meet standards for quality continuing dental education. Providers are evaluated in 14 aspects of CE program quality. Only providers that can meet ADA CERP standards and procedures are granted approval and are authorized to use the ADA CERP logo and recognition statement. Providers are held accountable for maintaining those same high standards through periodic reevaluation.

CE credits earned by attending CERP approved providers’ courses are accepted by all state licensing boards (subject to any additional requirements or restrictions each individual board may have). The Academy of General Dentistry also accepts credits from CERP approved providers towards its fellowship and mastership awards.

You can find more information about ADA CERP here. And if you want to earn up to 14 hours of CE at the ADA 28th New Dentist Conference, register today (popular courses do sell out!)

Practice Ownership — Buy or Build?

Dr LarryJust over 88% of dentists are practice owners, either as solo practitioners or partners. For almost every dentist, ownership becomes a consideration at some point in his or her career.

Does it make more sense to buy an existing practice or start from scratch? ADA New Dentist Now has been asking new dentists what choice they made and why.

Today is a guest post from one of a pair of married dentists, Dr. Larry Dougherty and Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty.

We Built by Dr. Larry Dougherty:

My wife and I chose to do a startup rather than buy an existing practice. Here’s why:

Our Vision: I wanted to start a practice that was built on the vision we had for a dental practice, not shape someone else’s vision into what we wanted.

MBA on the Fly: Supplies, insurance, managing staff – I knew next to nothing about the business side of dentistry even after working several years as an associate. We knew we wanted to develop business systems, not inherit the systems of another dentist, and the slow rhythm of a startup’s early days were an ideal time to understand everything at a deep level.

Pick Your Unknowns: We got advice about what numbers to look for when assessing practices, but I didn’t know what any of that all really meant. Plus, I’d heard enough horror stories of dentists not getting what they expected from practice purchases. Psychologically, you need to decide for yourself: which set of complete unknowns am I more comfortable with?

I’d Do it all Again. Our colleagues that purchased practices probably made more money than we did during those first years of ownership. On the other hand we learned lessons that will serve us well in the long run. There’s a lot of pride that comes with building something from scratch, and that experience can’t be purchased.

***
Dr. Larry Dougherty and Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty are the owners of Rolling Oaks Dental in San Antonio, TX.

Can I wear a short-sleeve lab jacket when it’s hot?

ADA Professional Product ReviewThe ADA Professional Product Review is like no other dental product publication because it bases evaluations on comparative testing in the ADA Laboratory, in clinical settings with dental schools and through other collaborations. It’s content you can use, free from outside influence, and it’s available to members online.

Check out the April 2014 issue (PDF link) where you’ll not only find the answer to the headline question (plus find out what OSHA has to say about scrubs) but you’ll also find in-depth information about:

  • Surface Disinfectants: What dentists and their staff need to know
  • Disease Transmission Through Dental Unit Water: An Update
  • A Laboratory Evaluation of Electric Handpiece Temperature and the Associated Risk of Burns
  • Dental Electronic Health Records Systems

Bonus: if you have a question about appropriate dental practice attire or anything else dental science-related, send it to science@ada.org and perhaps your question will appear in a future issue of ADA Professional Product Review.

They gave me an employment contract — now what?

signing a documentThe ADA has a new publication — Dentist Employment Agreements: A Guide to Key Legal Provisions. It’s not a substitute for a lawyer, but can help you know what questions to ask and discussions to have with your legal advisor. Some of the topics covered include:

  • The differences between employees and independent contractors
  • Salary, commission, bonuses and benefits
  • What’s a non-compete clause? And how is it different from non-solicitation?
  • Using mediation and/or arbitration to resolve disputes
  • Points to consider when hiring a lawyer to review an employment agreement

Dentist Employment Agreements is available from the ADA Center for Professional Success, a member-only resource, exclusively for ADA members. And while you are there, check out the other resources including Be a Great Boss, Checklist for Terminating an Employee and Using Flexible Benefit Plans in your Practice