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Happy World Oral Health Day

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Happy World Oral Health Day

[By Staff Reporters]

Today is March 20th – World Oral Health Day (WOHD), a day in which dentists and organizations worldwide are promoting oral health.

***

dental

***

According to the FDI WOHD website, 90% of the world’s population will suffer from oral diseases in their lifetime, and many of them can be avoided with increased governmental, health association and society support and funding for prevention, detection and treatment programs.

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The Benefits of Dentistry Unhurried

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And Medicine, too?

[By Kellus Pruitt DDS]

1-darrellpruittThe hidden truth about managed care dentistry: Unhurried dentistry is generally of higher quality than hurried dentistry; anyone up to challenging this economic law?

Dental Handiwork

Dental care includes intricate handwork performed to exacting tolerances in sensitive mouths of nervous patients. When dentists compete on discounts (fast dentistry) instead of quality (slow dentistry), fear of bankruptcy fuels the race to the bottom with clueless, vulnerable patients.

 “‘Slow medicine’ strikes a chord – Nearly 500 people — doctors, nurses and ordinary people with an interest in health care — attended a forum Thursday to hear Dr. Victoria Sweet, a physician and author, talk about how ‘slow medicine’ could improve the quality of life of patients. Sweet is Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at University of California, San Francisco.”

Melinda Morales for the Visalia Times-Delta

[Visalia, California – October 16, 2014]

http://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/local/2014/10/17/slow-medicine-strikes-chord/17400861/

Morales writes: “When Sweet told the audience she had once wondered to herself, ‘If I could do one thing to improve the quality of health care, what would it be?’ and then followed it up with her solution, ‘I would put time back into the hands of physicians,’ the audience burst into applause.”

***

Insightful or clueless dentist?

***

Enjoy the Teeth

Dentistry is far more enjoyable for all concerned when it is not rushed in order to squeeze out a profit from unsustainable pay offered by unaccountable, conniving discount dentistry brokers … like CIGNA.

“Cigna to launch rating system that ADA calls scientifically flawed – Cigna will launch in 2015 what it calls a cost-effectiveness designation program that rates in-network dentists based on cost and utilization patterns. These ratings will appear as stars within Cigna’s provider directory. According to Cigna, dentists who receive a three-star rating have a fee schedule that results in greater potential cost savings within their geographical area.”

Kelly Soderlund

[ADA News, October 13, 2014]

http://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2014-archive/october/cigna-launches-rating-system-that-ada-calls-scientifically-flawed

Good reporting, ADA News

This isn’t the first time CIGNA has been busted for selling intentionally misinformed, captive patients discount healthcare with no quality control – depriving Americans of the opportunity to choose providers which most patients prefer. Seven years ago, CIGNA and other insurers were reprimanded for employing Ingenix, UnitedHealth Group’s wholly-owned ranking algorithm designed to drive clients from out-of-network providers to cheaper in-network providers:

“Attorney General Cuomo Announces Agreement With Cigna Creating A New National Model For Doctor Ranking Programs – NEW YORK, NY (October 29, 2007) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced an agreement with one of the nation’s largest health insurers, CIGNA HealthCare (NYSE: CI), as part of his industry-wide investigation into doctor ranking programs. Under the agreement, CIGNA will enhance its doctor ranking program, fully disclosing to consumers and physicians all aspects of its ranking system. Additionally, CIGNA will retain an oversight monitor known as a Ratings Examiner (‘Rx’) who will oversee compliance with all aspects of the agreement and will report to the Attorney General every six months.”

Eric T. Schneiderman

[Office of Current NY State Attorney General]

http://www.ag.ny.gov/press-release/attorney-general-cuomo-announces-agreement-cigna-creating-new-national-model-doctor

See also, “UnitedHealth Group Shenanigans – Ingenix’s Lack of Independence”

Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA

[Medical Executive-Post, January 16, 2009]

https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2009/01/16/unitedhealth-group-shenanigans/

As you can see, history reveals that Cuomo fruitlessly reminded CIGNA that price is only one variable in “cost-effectiveness.” As dentists and their patients know, correcting careless mistakes is always more costly than doing the job right the first time with the best materials for reasonable pay.

***

slow down

***

CIGNA Speaks

Cigna spokeswoman Karen Eldred tells ADA News,

“Cigna remains committed to introducing enhancements to the mycigna.com’s dental network directory that provide customers with cost [but not quality] transparency and insights when using their dental benefits.”

If anyone in the ADA is allowed to consider non-member dentists’ advice, I would recommend publicly confronting CIGNA with an easy to document comparison of the popularity of CIGNA’s one, two and three star, cost-effective dentists with competitors using doctoroogle.com – arguably the most transparent dentist-rating site in the nation.

http://texas.doctoroogle.com/

Anyone who is interested in performing the simple, consumer-friendly study is almost certain to discover a direct correlation between the amount of time dentists can afford to invest in their work and their preference by patients in the community.

More:

Assessment

Have you ever experienced a cost-effective injection of local anesthetic?

Hurried Care?

Conclusion

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On Practice-Based Research Networks

In Dentistry – if only it were that easy

By D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

I like the concept of a Practice-Based Research Network for teasing out latent miracles from dentalcare data, but I’m afraid any hope of networking success is limited by insurmountable cost and safety concerns of EDRs that few in the dental industry are yet willing to recognize.

Dr. Schleyer 

Titus Schleyer, DMD, PhD, Associate Professor and Director, Center for Dental Informatics, University of Pittsburgh published “The feasibility of an electronic dental practice-based research network” a few days ago.

“The long-term goal of our research is to use data from EDRs to improve patient care and its outcomes. The objective of this project is to develop a generalizable method for extracting EDR data for practice-based clinical research, using Dentrix as the test system.

In our first specific aim, we will determine the utilization of clinical data elements useful for research by practitioners by mining the electronic dental records of 100 Dentrix users and generating summary statistics about patient documentation patterns by data field.

The second specific aim will develop a technical Infrastructure for extracting data from Dentrix and integrating them with manually collected research data. The main outcome of this project will be the electronic Dental Practice-Based Research Network (ePBRN), a generalizable method for extracting clinical data from EDRs and reusing them for practice-based research. This project is a first step in making the increasing amount of electronic clinical data available for improving research, clinical care and patient outcomes.”

-Abstract: September 30, 2011

http://halley.exp.sis.pitt.edu/comet/presentColloquium.do?col_id=2348

I agree with Dr. Schleyer. However, until dentists perceive value in EDRs instead of liabilities, the dreams that he and I share about real-time, evidence-based research on an internet platform will be nothing more than just a cool-sounding fantasy of a handful of geeky dentists hoping to get a better peek at an obscure healthcare niche.

On Transparency 

Transparency in dentistry, rather than NPI numbers, has a better chance of revealing cost-effective solutions for painful and even life-threatening health problems. In addition, nothing is holding down the cost of HIPAA compliance, and data breaches from healthcare facilities – including dental offices – are only becoming more common.

Assessment 

Sidestep liability. De-identify now. If a dentist’s EDR system is breached, yet it contains no Protected Health Information [PHI], who cares?

Conclusion

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USN&WR – Meet the ADA President

Dr. Raymond Gist

By Kellus Pruitt DDS

I just found a US News Health article by Angela Haupt titled, “The Era of Electronic Medical Records.”

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/most-connected-hospitals/articles/2011/07/18/most-connected-hospitals?PageNr=1 

Even though dentistry wasn’t mentioned even once, I took liberties with the comment I posted. Besides, dentistry is never mentioned anywhere in the healthcare press, and that’s just not healthy. That is the point I hope I got across to Angela Haupt when I suggested she become Dr. Gist’s 7th Facebook friend.

 

Dear US News and World Report:

Last year, President Barack Obama promised that digitizing America’s health records will go beyond just improving care. He said transforming from paper to digital is a “panacea for the economy.” Somehow, illness became a renewable national resource.

I’m pretty sure neither the President nor US News have a clue about the business of dentistry.

Defying your common, misinformed bias for EHRs over paper records, here is a bite of reality from a dentist who actually treats patients: Other than me, the nation’s other 170,000 dentists are stone-silent about adoption of electronic dental records. Don’t you find that odd? What’s more, stakeholders inside and outside the American Dental Association, including even software vendors, avoid public discussions of EDRs. Dr. Oz’s Sharecare.com won’t even touch the topic. Why?…  a reporter might ask.

Do you trust that the widely-respected ADA always represents first and foremost the safety of dental care for both dentists and their patients? Let me fix that for you: ADA President Dr. Raymond Gist recently opened a Facebook, and two days ago, I was fortunate enough to be his second fan and the first to post a comment.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Raymond-F-Gist/165275266868843

I took advantage of an unprecedented opportunity to speak directly to a vetted ADA official and asked the President, “Are electronic dental records more or less dangerous for dentists and patients than paper records?” I’m disappointed that Dr. Gist still has not responded. Why did he even bother opening a Facebook, one might ask.

Here’s what I think:

Because of the cost and safety issues with digital records that I warned each ADA President about since 2006, EDRs, and especially HIPAA, have become so difficult to defend in a free-market that nobody even tries any more. I think a handful of ADA leaders expected pigs to fly much sooner than this.

Assessment 

Want to do some real reporting, US News? Become Dr. Raymond F. Gist’s 7th Facebook fan and ask him on behalf of your publisher if EDRs are safer than paper dental records. Sure. It’s unconventional, and as far as journalism goes, it’s kind of kinky to post a question on someone’s Facebook. Nevertheless, it could be fun to watch a USN&WR reporter be treated with the same level of respect ADA officials offer dues-paying members.

Conclusion

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Dentistry’s Low Hanging Fruit – Podcast on “What We Fix First”

An Internet Radio Interview with a ME-P “Mover and Shaker”

By Ann Miller RN MHA and The Whole Tooth

As announced last week, we are privileged to have Dr. Darrell Pruitt share his topic is “Dentistry’s Low Hanging Fruit – What We Fix First”.

About Dr. Pruitt

If you know Dr. Pruitt thru this ME-P, or elsewhere, then you know that he doesn’t hold anything back! Like always, join your hosts Hogan Allen & Richard Train, along with occasional clinical guest hosts, for “The Whole Tooth”. The show airs every Tuesday at 8 P.M. EST, with a weekly conversation with not only the “who’s who” in dentistry, but many other experts who you ‘should’ get to know.

About The Whole Tooth

“The Whole Tooth” is the premier internet radio show for dental practices which discusses how you can make more money, save more money and improve processes for everyone in your dental office. Topics include: clinical dentistry, what’s “hot” in hygiene, practice management, internet strategies, finance and more.

Assessment

“The Whole Tooth” is a fun half hour filled with great information and can fit into any schedule. If you miss a show, feel free to download the archive, or catch us on iTunes for FREE!

Podcast link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thewholetooth/2011/06/01/dentistrys-low-hanging-fruit-what-we-fix-1st-wdr-pruitt

Conclusion

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Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

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The Absurdity of “Meaningful Use” Requirements in Dentistry

Let’s End the Silence

By D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

Hey, Doc. How can your silence possibly serve your patients’ best interests?

For my colleagues in the audience who have quietly examined the critical and timely issues I’ve repeatedly offered for discussion – adults with post-graduate degrees who might have briefly considered publicly responding  to what I write, but who still cannot take ownership of an opinion – what on Earth is holding you back? Whatever it is, I say there are only lame, self-serving excuses for dentists to continue to betray patients’ trust. So how does that make you feel, Doc? A little angry maybe? Indignant? Let’s work on that professional nerve a little more. Maybe I’ll get a rise out of you yet.

Where Have You Been? 

As a healthcare provider whose trusting patients depend on you to protect their interests from stakeholders who cannot be held accountable – where have you been? Do you really believe dentists’ stoicism upholds and promotes the ideals of the healing profession? What about the Hippocratic Oath? How?

Or, is your shyness perhaps the manifestation of a character weakness revealing little confidence in your own personal ethics? You can’t blame me if that pisses you off. As long as you are silent, it’s impossible for me to tell a thing about you. So please, feel free to describe how my observations make you feel. You could easily change my opinion by merely speaking up to defend your silence … which promises to be an interesting argument.

ADA Members 

Or, maybe, as an ADA member, or more so a vetted official, professional silliness isn’t your choice at all. Perhaps you are torn between supporting common sense and honesty in your community and a professional dedication to the ADA’s committee-approved slogan “Speaking with one voice.” What looks to me like a cheap PR hack’s piece of art – purchased by either a clueless or nasty-cynical ADA official – is intended to not only keep members in their place as policy, but to also give state and national politicians the impression that all dentists unquestioningly unite behind any and all ADA ideas – sight unseen. (Public discussion of policy with membership is never permitted, even though it’s just dentistry). Elsewhere in the world, that would be called tyranny. It’s also easy to see that “one voice” is a generous exaggeration of our current dental leaders’ influence in Washington.

Stage 2 Meaningful Use

If anonymous leaders who secretly manage a silent profession insulated from the community were the least bit effective at protecting dental patients’ welfare, dentists who actually provide dentistry for the poor wouldn’t be faced with absurd and overwhelming Stage 2 Meaningful Use documentation requirements that will be enforced by CMS in 2012:

  • Record Smoking Status for Patients 13 Years Old or Older
  • Generate Lists of Patients by Specific Condition
  • Check Insurance Eligibility Electronically from Public and Private Payers
  • Submit Claims Electronically to Public and Private Payers
  • Provide Patients with Timely Electronic Access to their Patient Information
  • Computerized provider order entry (CPOE)
  • eRX
  • Record Demographics
  • Record and Chart Vital Sign
  • Patient Reminder
  • Electronic Copies
  • Clinical Summaries
  • Advising Smokers to Quit

Rising Above Politics

As healthcare professionals, our patients depend on us to rise above political correctness and petty, cheap slogans. Indeed, how good is it for healthcare when doctors evade unpopular issues? Can anyone in the audience explain how our patients are better served by PR hacks than dialogue? Anyone?

Assessment

Face it. The absurdity of Meaningful Use [MU] requirements in dentistry proves that our non-responsive leadership is incapable of protecting our dental patients. From now on, only you and I can do that on our own as individuals. But to make a difference, you must be heard.

Conclusion

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Challenging a Naive eDR Advocate

An Open Letter to Dr. Margaret Scarlett

By D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS

For the last few weeks, I’ve been challenging a naive EDR advocate. They are becoming increasingly hard to find. Here is what I posted today on her blog.

Dear Dr. Margaret Scarlett

This open conversation on your Medscape Connect blog not only alerts the nation to the possibility of imminent failure of interoperability in post-computerized dentistry, but it also features dialogue introducing potential solutions around otherwise insurmountable problems the industry is encountering.

http://boards.medscape.com/forums?128@884.9VVBadZEUsj@.2a077212!comment=1

Courageous 

A forum such as yours that invites frank discussion about the faults of EDRs is almost unprecedented and entirely politically-incorrect. But then, that is why it is incredibly meaningful. Thank you for your courage, Dr. Scarlett.

Collegial

Let’s keep it collegial but challenging.

First of all, in your April 21st response, you justifiably expressed concern that EHR/fax hybrids might increase danger of data breaches over the incredible risk that already exists in digitalized healthcare. I assume that now that you know more about cloud-based companies such as Sfax, you agree that your security concern is unfounded. Fax, telephone and the US Mail will always be more secure than the internet – an often-forgotten fact. Any arguments?

A large part of your response concerned interoperability and aggregation problems that will be easily solved by the Health Information Exchanges (HIE) and EHR/fax companies. Why would their product not be seamless like any other digital transmission? From our perspective as dentists, your concern is a non-issue. Anything that can be printed on paper can come up on a computer screen and vice versa. Fortunately for our patients, you and I don’t have to worry ourselves about the technological magic of common office equipment.

I just have to say that when I read about your concern for “dependence on ink supplies, phone connections, or the availability of personnel to handle pieces of papers without any mistakes,” I noticed you didn’t say anything about saving the forests and paper cuts. Quite frankly, I think even you recognize that these lame arguments against a new idea are disingenuous stretches. Who’s to say there will be fewer keystroke errors on digital records than paper? See what I mean?

Lastly, in your April 21st response, you seem to suggest that unless the vast majority of dentists spend tens of thousands of dollars to purchase EDRs which will raise the cost of the care they provide, huge pools of data stored in HIEs that you claim somehow “assure patient-centered care,” will not be available to dentistry. You’ve got to be kidding. How many years away is that science? Let me repeat: Dental patients are fortunate that EDRs are going nowhere because of dentists’ solid business reasons in the land of the free. Until EDR advocates base sales claims on evidence rather than hearsay, they are only entertaining themselves with the fantasy.

Assessment 

I only wish the anonymous EHR experts in the ADA who are quietly influencing lawmakers would step out and introduce themselves to the community they serve. Can you think of any possible reason that the ADA can’t answer a few questions about what they have been doing on our behalf. Or should that not concern dentists?

Conclusion

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