Tag: dental practice management

Social Media for Dentists: Keep It Legal, Keep It Ethical

As a professional in the dental community exploring the opportunities and insights presented by social media, you must understand that social media usage carries risks, too. Not that you haven’t always honored legal and ethical considerations for marketing your practice, but the need for transparency is even greater with social media. When we design websites and develop social media marketing strategies, we focus on five critical areas.

If You Can’t Say Something Nice…

Bad reviews happen to even the gentlest, friendliest, most brilliant dentists. Sometimes the complaint is valid, sometimes it’s nothing short of outrageous. Heck, sometimes it’s not even a review of your office—just ask any Dr. John Smith, DDS. If you respond to negative reviews, keep two things in mind. One, everyone will see your response. Everyone. Whether a negative claim is true or not is not immediately relevant.

A combative, insulting, accusatory response can derail your reputation online and offline.

Patients are generally lenient when reading others’ reviews. Most are rational enough to differentiate between a legitimate complaint and a nitpicker. You can acknowledge positive or negative reviews, but be mindful of potential HIPAA violations. Keep it general and empathetic, no names or treatment specifics. A touch of gratitude doesn’t hurt, either.

Don’t Forget the Permission Slips

When we design websites and blogs, our clients often request that we use photographs of their actual patients. Compare to a stock photo, it’s hard to deny the impact of a real-life “before and after” shot, and it’s an awesome way to show off your handiwork. Even so, using patients’ info or images without their consent can land you in serious trouble. Informed consent goes hand in hand with HIPAA and applies to full names, x-rays, photographs, and videos

Oh No, He Did NOT Just Post That

Doing business in the fishbowl of social media essentially means that everyone sees everything in real-time. An online lapse in judgment goes a long way, especially in the age of the screenshot. It’s okay to adopt an online “persona” for your practice, something to create a distinctive voice that speaks directly to your target market. It’s not okay if that persona is the type to share bikini and beer pong pics and suggestive or profane language. Leave religion and politics out of it, too.

A Little Privacy, Please

Some social media websites—I’m looking at you, Facebook—insist on implementing confusing new features and requirements that affect the way you share content and with whom you share it. Social media is dynamic, and you must be, too. The MDPM team works hard to keep abreast of privacy changes and how they affect your professional social media strategy, but it’s up to you to ensure that your separate, personal profile respects these guidelines as well.

It Takes a Village

You might very well be the most social media-savvy dentist in the land, but it counts for nothing if the receptionist is abusing social media in the name of your practice. Creating a clear, comprehensive social media policy protects your patients, your practice, and your privacy. Your policy should include considerations for HIPAA, blogging, personal social media use, and a list of each employee’s responsibility as it relates to social media and online reputation management. Periodically update your policy to reflect regulatory guidelines and/or new social media formats, and have each staff member sign an acknowledgement of the policy.

Be social. Be smart. CEO Jill Nastasia works closely with dental clients to bring their unique vision and voice online. She’s something of a social media ninja and wouldn’t dream of posting bikini and beer pong pics. Questions about social media, blogging, or SEO for dentists? Call Jill at 972-781-8861, or email her here.

Busy or Profitable? Your Choice.

Today, veteran dental management consultant Mayer Levitt of Jodena Consulting shares insight on increasing profitability in the dental practice. Subscribe to the Jodena Consulting blog by clicking this link.

My most recent blog post listed four ways to increase revenue in a dental practice. In retrospect, I would like to add a fifth. It is an important strategy that relates specifically to the topic of efficiency in the doctor’s appointment schedule for a busy dental practice.

The most important management system in a dental practice is scheduling, because the only thing we have to sell is our time. Yet over the years, I have observed that many practices are terribly inefficient in the way the doctor is scheduled to deliver treatment, wasting upwards of two hours every day. I didn’t say they weren’t busy–I said they weren’t efficient. There is a huge difference between being busy and being profitable.

I believe that when an effective scheduling system is introduced into a practice:

  • the stress level of every one can be significantly reduced.
  • the appointment backlog can be cut in half.
  • the need for an associate is often eliminated.
  • production is increased dramatically without raising fees or altering the mix of the practice.
  • every hour in the practice becomes a productive hour no matter what procedures are being performed. Read More

Rule #1: Everyone’s time is important, not just yours!

No Time to Say Hello, Goodbye, I’m Late, I’m Late, I’m Late!!!

Do you ever feel like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland?

We all have busy schedules, and sometimes we wake up early, go to bed late, and fill every free minute with work. It’s all part of investing yourself in your business. Today, communication is “easier” than ever; we have smart phones with email and texting; we have instant messenger; and we have social networking. While these tools make communicating more convenient, they can be a mixed blessing. If it’s easy for your patients, colleagues, contractors, employees, family, and friends to get in touch with you, you’re going to have a lot of people expecting your response.

When it comes to customer service, empathy for the client or patient is imperative. While your time is invaluable to you, theirs is also to them. Here are a few tips to help you stay on top of communication and keep everyone feeling special, without sacrificing all of your precious time:

On your website, don’t include your personal phone number or email address.
Funnel calls through your office line. Hire an after-hours service so that a human handles calls when you are not in the office, or you can invest in an office cell phone and pay employees an on-call wage for answering calls after hours. If a caller has an emergency, the person answering the phone can use their best judgement for offering your cell phone number. As for emails, funnel them through a main office account. I recommend you set up a Google email account for the office, since Google never fails. Domain-based email can be a real headache. Read More

The 3 Dimensions: Dental Practice Mission Statement, Vision Statement, and Team Commitment

Think, for a moment, of your business having three dimensions: you and the company are one; the client is one; and your employees are one. All dimensions must be in focus. For each dimension, you need a goal or purpose. You and your employees work together with the goal of serving the client. Your practice mission and vision sheds light on this purpose – the purpose of serving the client. But you, as an employer, must also serve and manage your employees if the mission and vision are to be carried out. So, in addition to a mission and vision, you need a commitment to your employees.

Now let’s delve into definitions and samples.

A business’ mission statement should define the intent of the company.

  • Ask yourself, from your patient’s perspective, what does your practice do?
  • Use words that embody the emotion, integrity, and expertise that goes into your product.
  • Keep it simple and short.

The MDPM mission is…

To provide dental industry professionals with a creative, consistent, and highly visible online marketing presence.

A vision statement sheds light on what will happen when the mission is carried out.

  • Ask yourself, what’s the purpose of your mission? What’s the intended result?
  • Use words, again, that convey emotion and excellence.
  • And, again, keep it simple and short.

The MDPM vision statement is…

To increase our clients’ profits through effective online visibility. To extend superior customer service with responsive solutions that address each customer’s unique needs. Every client should be proud to say that MDPM is their marketing company.

At MDPM, our first priority is serving our clients to the best of our ability, but in order to fulfill our mission and achieve our vision, we must keep our employees happy, focused, and driven. It’s just a natural extension, to Jill and me, that after creating a mission and vision statement to address what we want to achieve for our customers, we create an employee commitment. Some experts refer to internal and external clients – internal being your employees. Both types of clients must be satisfied if your business is to thrive and succeed.

The MDPM employee commitment is…

To create an environment and provide opportunities that inspire wholistic development of the individual. Every employee should feel appreciated, welcome, and genuinely happy at work.

As mentioned in previous posts, Jill and I went on a retreat this weekend to do some important big-picture stuff. Though we’re a marketing firm, like a dental office, we needed to establish our mission and vision. Here at the MDPM blog, we get a ton of visitors looking at mission and vision statement advice, so I decided to share our experience with you. Let me also say, my advice to dentists, and the advice I apply to MDPM, is based on years of interviewing, writing for, and reading literature from the dental practice management leaders. I don’t begin to claim the advice as my own; it is my interpretation of the information I’ve been privy to from leaders in the industry.

If you want to discuss your mission, vision, and employee commitment, or if you have questions about how to attract patients who will appreciate your mission and vision, call MDPM today at 972-781-8861, or email us.