2017 Winter Conference – Technology: Balancing Profit, Lifestyle & Patient Care

By Dr. Doug Depew

The 2017 AAO Winter Conference is quickly approaching. Our theme of this year’s meeting Technology: Balancing Profit, Lifestyle and Patient Care.  It promises to be a meeting filled with information for both newer and established practices to help make those tough decisions on what technology is important to use in our practices and when we may wish to invest in it.

The meeting will begin with keynote speaker Jack Shaw.   Mr. Shaw is a world- renowned technology futurist who will be discussing how cutting edge and disrupting technologies will change the way we do business and run our practices in the coming years.

IT guru Steve McEvoy will be answering some of those pesky questions we all have about computer hardware, effective and cost-efficient data backup, and security.   In the ever changing world of computers, what you hear at this meeting will certainly be different than what Mr. McEvoy would have talked about even a couple of years ago.

On Friday afternoon we’ll have a lively discussion by Drs. Greg Jorgensen and Neil Kravitz regarding building our practices through social media, websites, and Internet marketing. Their success in these areas has been paramount in growing their thriving practices.

Saturday morning will begin with Dr. Aaron Molen sharing his experience and thoughts on bringing emerging technology into our practices to help create more efficient and more comfortable patient care.

We’re excited to have Drs. Ed Lin and Christian Groth discussing how to integrate some of the latest technology hardware into our orthodontic practices. This includes workflows for using CBCT, Scanners and 3D Printing.

The conference will conclude with Chris Bentson and Charles Loretto with a discussion on how technology can affect the value and profitability in our practices. This should help answer the question about at what stage of practice a doctor might consider investing in advanced technology.

The location for the meeting is at the gorgeous Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The dates are February 10-11, 2017. The schedule is organized in a way to allow some time for afternoon recreation.

There will be plenty of time allotted for attendees to ask questions of the speakers to be sure all bases are covered.   To learn more and to register, visit https://www.aaoinfo.org/meetings/2017-winter-conference-technology-balancing-profit-lifestyle-patient-care

Google My Business

By Dr. Doug Depew

unnamedGoogle my Business is another way Google has made it easy for us to let prospective patients know about the level of care we offer. It complements your website by giving your practice an identity and presence on Google. If you previously used Google Places for Business or Google+ Pages Dashboard, you may not have noticed it, but your account has already been automatically upgraded to Google My Business. The information you provide about your practice in Google My Business will appear on Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+ to those searching for an orthodontist.   And if you had multiple Google+ Pages they will all show up on the Google My Business Dashboard as long as they are associated with the same email address.

The Google My Business Dashboard makes it easy to manage multiple locations from one central webpage. All you have to do it go to https://www.google.com/business/ and sign in using your email address and password associated with your previous Google+ Pages. From your Dashboard, you will be able to do a number of things.

For each of your locations, you can add, edit, and verify your practice information. This includes your practice name, phone number, website, and hours.   When you do so, it will automatically update as well in Google Search and Google Maps. For each of your locations, you can easily add pictures of yourselves, your logo, the exterior of your office, the interior of your office, and any other photos you feel will help others learn about your practice. When people search Google, they can learn a lot about you before even going to your website. From your Dashboard, you can also post directly to your Google+ Pages.

In the Reviews section, you can see all the reviews patients have posted about your practice. The best part of this is that you can respond to those reviews. Experts in this arena recommended that we respond to at least three reviews a week. This can be to thank patients for especially kind compliments, but more importantly, we should promptly respond to any reviews that are less than stellar. Since negative reviews may inaccurately reflect the level of care you give, it’s important to attempt to set the record straight. In doing so it’s important to thank the reviewer for their feedback and respond in a way that is generic without referring directly to that patient’s experience in your office and their treatment details. Author Helen Overland stated “Respond to reviews, don’t let them sit. If someone sat outside your store telling people about your bad service, you would address it, right? So don’t let people sit outside your virtual door on Google Maps telling people about your bad service without addressing it. Addressing complaints is just good business.” And Google My Business makes it easy to do so.

In the section called Insights, you can learn how people are finding out about you, from what type of device they are viewing your profile, their demographics, and much more insightful information that may help in your marketing efforts. You can also see viewer activity trends such as how many people call your office from your Google profile, how many click to your website, and how many are asking for directions to your office.

Google Analytics
No longer do you have to log in separately to Google Analytics to see viewing trends on your practice website. This is now right there within Google My Business.   Google Analytics will tell you a lot of useful information such as how many new viewers, how they found your website, viewer demographics, length of their visit, and page views. Having this information on hand can help you in tweaking your website for the most effective and useful visits for prospective patients.

Adwords Express
Like many things Google, Google My Business is free to use. If you choose to make Google ads however, that’s a paid function. These are the ads that show up on the top or right side of a Google search. And Google My Business allows you to manage your Ads from your Dashboard since they should be under the same email.

Virtual Tour
From your Google My Business Dashboard, you are able to learn about how to incorporate a Virtual 3D tour of your office onto your Google listing. These can also be placed directly onto your practice website.

Going Mobile
By downloading the Google My Business app, you can perform most of these functions right from your mobile phone.

I have personally found Google My Business to be a great tool in my efforts to monitor and improve our practice’s online presence. It has consolidated many functions into one place, saving time and energy. I encourage you to look into it and see how it can help you.


So You Got a Bad Online Review

By Dr. Greg Jorgensen
Rio Rancho, NM – www.gregjorgensen.com


If it hasn’t happened to you, it will. You are going to get a bad online review. You can’t please everyone no matter how hard you try. Even if you have 99% of your patients who are delighted with what you and your team do, you are bound to have someone who thinks you are too expensive, too busy, or whose treatment is taking too long. Unfortunately happy patients rarely go online to report their experience on their own. Upset patients always seem to find time. At the 2014 Annual Session in New Orleans I will be addressing the topic of managing your online reputation. There are four basic steps in my approach.

First, identify the sites in your locale that have reviews for orthodontic practices. There are dozens of review sites online, but there are a few main ones that will show up if you do a search for orthodontists in your community. You should Google yourself and your colleagues and see where reviews already exist. Once you have identified these main sites, verify or claim your page so that you are in charge of it. Not only does this allow you to edit the information about you and your practice, it also gives you the ability to respond to bad reviews when they appear.

Second, a good offense is the best defense. Although happy patients rarely write reviews on their own, they can be encouraged to do so. When you identify a raving fan, ask them to put their praise in the form of an online review. In addition to personal invitations by you and your staff, there are also companies that specialize in asking your patients to review you. You want to make sure that you have good reviews in place BEFORE bad ones show up. Nothing looks more suspicious than a bad review followed by four good ones within a week.  Consistently appearing good reviews helps dilute the effect of a bad ones that occasionally show up.

Third, monitor review sites looking for new reviews, both good and bad. You can do this manually or hire a service to do this. Another benefit of claiming your business as mentioned previously is that some email you when a new review appears. Google Alerts are emails that Google sends you when it detects that your name or practice has been referenced on the web. These alerts are free and provide another way for you to know if someone is talking about you.

Lastly, respond to all reviews about you both good and bad. If you get a bad one, try to identify who wrote it. Attempt to correct whatever caused the bad review and see if the author will remove it. When you respond, be humble, informative, and kind. Potential patients will judge you not only for what the bad review says, but also how you respond to it. If the review is true, use it as a teaching moment in your next morning huddle.

Online reputation management is a necessary activity for all practices. Join me in New Orleans as I share more information on this constantly evolving aspect of our online world. See you there!

Do You Need Cyber Liability Insurance?

By Dr. Greg Jorgensen
Rio Rancho, NM – www.gregjorgensen.com

I recently watched the AAOIC’s Annual Risk Management DVD and took the quiz so that I could save 10% on my insurance premium. One of the new topics mentioned was cyber liability insurance. I had never heard of it. What is it and do you really need it?

According to InsureNewMedia, a company specializing in insurance solutions for technology, software, and Internet businesses, (http://www.insurenewmedia.com/pages/cyberliability.asp), if you have a website you are legally considered a publisher and are liable for all things associated with it. These include infringements of intellectual property, virus transmission, and email liabilities of all types.

Do you have legal rights to all of the pictures used on your website? How about the content found thereon? The InsureNewMedia story cited an example of a 1999 lawsuit in which a website was successfully sued for improperly displaying a sport celebrity’s name and photograph. The settlement for “fair market value” was $750,000. The legal area of cyber liability is in its infancy and there is no telling what will be included in future lawsuits.

In her article “6 Reasons You Should Have Cyber Liability Insurance,” (http://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/6-reasons-you-should-have-cyber-liability-insurance.html) Minda Zetlin explains another common liability that faces small businesses: the breach of the data on our servers. Cyber liability insurance may cover the costs of notifying patients, income lost by the interruption of your business due to a malicious hack, the hiring of a PR firm to repair damage to your reputation, and even fines imposed for HIPAA violations. Zetlin also states that we are legally liable for patient data that is hosted “in the cloud.”

The AAO Insurance Company’s general liability policy excludes issues related to the Internet. If you want to be covered, you will need to invest in a separate cyber liability policy. For more information, call the AAOIC at (800) 622-0344.

Getting to Know You

Speaking with orthodontists and orthodontic staff, one of the most common questions I receive is:  “We’ve set our office up on Facebook, but we have no idea what to do next.  What exactly should we be posting?”

More and more, one of the simplest and most effective means of “getting yourself out there” is with video footage shot by you and your staff.  With the rise and spread of inexpensive digital video recorders, there’s just no reason to not start shooting video of you and your practice today.

In a previous post, we covered exactly how to get started using a simple video camera for educational purposes, and how videos can easily be created without a major investment in equipment or software.   If you’ve not looked at this article, now is a great time to familiarize yourself with the concept.

Once you’re up to speed, the next natural step is to figure out just what sorts of videos to record.  In my experience, you will want to begin with something short and simple:  “Meet Your Orthodontist.”

The purpose for shooting this “Getting to Know You” video first is two-fold.  First off, it’s an easy one to shoot and edit.  You’re simply setting up a camera on yourself and speaking from the heart (for two to three minutes) about who you are and why you love being an orthodontist.  Secondly, this single, short piece of video goes to the heart of why you should be involved with video and social media in the first place: Putting a real human face out there for your practice.

By putting yourself out front and explaining who you are, you put yourself ahead of competitors who choose not to participate in social media, or who have chosen not to use video.  It also has the added bonus of making you a familiar face before they ever walk through your doors.  This is an intangible that should not be easily dismissed.

Once you’ve completed this important first video introducing yourself, it is time to think about other ways you can welcome newcomers to your office via video. A brief “Office Tour” video is a wonderful way to do this, followed up later by a “Meet the Staff” video.  From there, a good approach is move on to another series of short videos, each based on a single frequent question you commonly receive from concerned patients.  By briefly answering these sorts of questions in a warm and personal manner, you’re doing something very positive for your practice, at almost no cost whatsoever.

Finally, to supplement your videos, you can then use pieces created by the AAO, including professionally produced tutorials and testimonials.  These are available in the Practice Marketing Solutions area of the AAO Member web site at www.aaomembers.org

The real key here is to simply get started.  Why not make 2013 be the year where you finally reach out via video? Begin by simply telling the world and your potential patients just who you are. If you have any questions about how to get started shooting video for your practice, please contact me.   I am always happy to assist.

Using a Simple Video Camera for Staff and Patient Education

By Dr. Ron Jacobson

Photo courtesy of Dr. Ron Jacobson

Video media can be an extremely powerful and easy-to-use communication tool for patient education, staff training, and marketing applications. In a busy practice, finding time to train new members is always a challenge. And let’s face it, sometimes staff members need to see a procedure several times before it sticks.  When we recently hired our newest staff member, I asked her to use a simple Flip video camera to film our more seasoned assistants as they demonstrated sterilization, lab techniques, and other clinical procedures. We then edited this footage into a series of short training videos and saved them on our server for viewing from any workstation in the office. This can be an efficient way to create custom training films that contain tips on everything from proper camera settings for clinical photography to avoiding bubbles in impressions and model pour ups. 

One of the most beneficial uses of video technology in our practice has been helping patients prepare for their orthognathic surgery.   Many patients are so apprehensive about the procedure and the post-operative healing that they opt out before the date actually arrives.  We recently started filming our patients one week post-surgery and then at regular intervals during the healing process until their braces were removed.  We ask them about the level of pain they experienced and the amount of time it took before they were able to return to school (work).  We ask them to describe their swelling and numbness and their diet early in the healing process.   We also ask them the most important question, “Knowing what you know now, would you go through it again?” Our patients have been eager to share their experiences and are frank in their discussions.  These unscripted, heart-felt interviews are truly inspiring and much more helpful than a doctor’s description of what to expect post-surgically.

Videos can easily be created without a major investment in equipment or software.  Although they do take some planning and time, especially early on, the investment is well worth the effort.

Here are some tips for shooting your own videos:

  1. Invest in a small tripod or desk stand – your videos will be of much higher quality if you can prevent movement.
  2. If you are producing a video for patient education, you may want to invest in a high quality video camera with an external microphone.  A camera-mounted directional microphone will improve the audio quality dramatically. For staff training videos, Flip cameras and smart phones will suffice.
  3. The photographer must remain quiet during filming, especially if using a Flip camera or smart phone.  Remember that you are much closer to the microphone than your subjects. If you make comments while interviewing, you will find that you will be much louder than your subject and the video will be much more difficult to edit. If you need the interviewer’s questions to be heard in the final product, position the camera equal distance from both parties, even if it is focused on only one of you. 
  4. While professional lighting is preferred for marketing and practice website videos, natural lighting is usually sufficient for staff and patient education.  Just film in a brightly lit room and make sure there is enough light on your subject’s face.   
  5. Make sure to have your interviewee or one of their parents sign a photo/video release form giving you permission to use the video you just shot.  It also doesn’t hurt to ask the subject you are videotaping if they consent to you using this footage while you are recording. 

Tips for editing your videos include:

  1. Mac Software:  iMovie ($14.99) provides all of the editing, storage and organizational tools that you will need in an easy to use interface.  Final Cut Pro ($299) is a more powerful version of the software with more themes and special effects.
  2. Windows Software:  Windows Live Movie Maker is a free download from the Microsoft website. Abode Premier Elements ($99) is easy to use and more powerful.
  3. If you are new to the video production, watching online tutorials is a quick way to get up to speed.  They don’t take very long and you will be amazed by how simple and user friendly editing software has become.  
  4. Organize your video clips as you copy them from the camera.  Labeling and grouping them together into events will speed up your review and edit process later on.
  5. Back up your data!  Digital media is not safe until is it stored in at least three locations

Google Alerts: Are They Talking About Me?

Author: Dr. Greg Jogensen

googlealertsToday’s Internet is a vast network of uncensored, uncontrollable information. Anything goes! You can find anything online. You can say anything online. Whether or not you choose to participate, your practice is already online. People are talking about you. Would you like to know what they’re saying?Search engines are constantly sweeping the web trying to index any information they can find so that it can be accessed when someone is looking. Even if you don’t have a formal website, online directories are automatically including your practice in their database using information from public records, phone listings, memberships, and so on. Not only do they create listings for you without your permission or input, many ask viewers to rate you. These ratings are rarely verified (meaning anyone can write them including your competitors) and are very difficult to get rid of once they are posted.

How can you know when someone is “talking” about you online? Google is the biggest and most widely used search engine available online today. Seven out of ten Internet searches are conducted using Google. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could ask Google to notify you every time someone mentions you or your business online? Google will do that for you, and they’ll do it for free. Their service is called Google Alerts.

Google Alerts are emails automatically sent to you when there are new Google results for any search word that you choose. In other words, if you want to be notified every time someone online mentions Apple Orthodontics, you could create a Google Alert for the phase “Apple Orthodontics,” indicate where you want Google to look (i.e. blogs, news feeds, etc.), how often you want to be notified, the volume of alerts you want to receive, and to which email address you want the results sent. Then imagine that your practice then has a candy buy-back and the local newspaper mentions Apple Orthodontics in a story. When Google sees that reference, it will immediately send you an email with a link to the story in which you are mentioned. Nice!

It goes without saying that every orthodontist should have Google Alerts set up for his own name and the name of his business. You may also want to set up alerts for your colleagues too (just to see what they’re up to J ). Some other great uses of Google Alerts are monitoring developing news stories, keeping current on specific products or technologies, or keeping tabs on your favorite sports team. The ability to have Google keeps its eye on the web for you is amazing… besides being easy and free!

To set up your first Google Alert, just search for “Google Alerts” in where else… Google!