Welcome back to my Internet Column for Dental Economics! For the past year, I have been hard at work trying to get the word out concerning digital diagnosis and how this new technology can help improve your practice and the work you perform for your patients. I hope that you have learned something from my efforts and that you are well on your way to incorporating some of these outstanding technologies into your dental practices.
Now, it is time for me to return to the world of cyberspace. Each month, I will try to show you how the Internet can be used to benefit your professional and personal lives. I will give you lists of sites to visit and hope that many of them find their way into your "Favorites" folder in your browser software. As I do in all of my "Internet for Dentists Presentations," I would like to first apologize to your staffs and to your families. You might start spending way too much time online, checking out all of the fun and useful information that I will be writing about.
The uses for the Internet are limitless. It can save you time and money. Once you begin to use it, you will never want to do without it!
15 ways to improve your practice using the Internet
- Ordering supplies - Many companies have Internet specials that can save you money. Most have their complete catalogues listed on their Web sites and it can be accessed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- Gathering MSDS sheets - Download them and print them out.
- Obtaining information from dental manufacturers - Do your research ahead of your shopping.
- Finding instructions on how to use various materials or equipment - Frequently, you can find answers to your questions in a simple and quick manner.
- Using email as a communication tool with patients - This is a tool that can be used for immediate communication with your patients. You can answer questions from patients or send out information to them at your convenience.
- Sending out treatment plans to patients
- Sending out recare appointment notifications
- Sending out statements, announcements, and newsletters
- Taking continuing-education courses - It's expensive to close your office and travel to another city to attend courses. Now, with Internet courses, you can do your continuing education in your free time and save the information for future review.
- Doing research - Learn how to use Internet search engines to speed up research. An extensive amount of information on almost any subject is out there once you know how to find it.
- Downloading software or software updates
- Marketing your practice - The Internet can provide you with both Internal and external marketing tools. Send virtual flowers or greeting cards to patients or share information you have found on the 'Net that also might interest them.
- Communicating with fellow dentists or laboratory technicians - Communication is a key component of everything we do as dentists. We should use email as a tool to better-communicate with our colleagues and lab technicians.
- Using Internet-based, practice-management software
- Setting up a Web site for your practice - Establishing a Web presence allows you to feature your practice in a location for existing and perspective patients to visit it and see what you have to offer.
Jeffrey B. Dallin, DDS, FACD, FICD, practices general dentistry in St. Louis. He also is the editor of St. Louis Dentistry Magazine and spokesman and critical-issue-response-team chairman for the Greater St. Louis Dental Society. His address on the Internet is www.dfdasmiles.com. Contact him by email at email@example.com, by phone at (314) 567-5612, or by fax (314) 567-9047.