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11 Steps to Protect Your Patients’ Information and Get Compliant with HIPAA (Before it’s Too Late)

Cyber security threats are continually evolving and they pose a very real and significant threat to dental practices. Ransomware is malicious software that takes over a victim’s hard drive when they click on an infected advertisement, email, attachment, or website and encrypts the contents of a device – and any other connected electronics – which the hacker then demands bitcoin or cryptocurrency payments to unlock. With an adequate data backup, you may be able to recover from a ransomware situation, but you will still have a mess to deal with. The HHS-Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is the federal agency...

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Safe Water Guidelines

Safe water to drink, bathe, cook and wash our clothing in is something most of us take for granted. Using clean water in your dental practice can be taken for granted as well! Water safety is an important consideration for dental offices as dental units, due to the small diameter of waterlines, is a perfect environment to grow biofilm. It is important dental offices ensure proper treatment for biofilm and verify the effectiveness of your treatment protocol through periodic water testing. These steps is essential to minimize your chances of causing your patients Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI); it is good...

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The Silver Bullet of HIPAA Compliance for Dentists

There is much to do to comply with all that HIPAA requires. First, consider ‘what’ you have to comply with (Privacy Rule, Security Rule and Breach Notification Rule. The Enforcement Rule prescribes Civil Monetary Penalties and (often) Corrective Action Plans (ongoing government involvement) to remediate violations.   The privacy rule identifies when Protected Health Information (PHI) can be used and disclosed, under what situations use and disclosure requires express authorization. It outlines concepts like the Minimum Necessary principle, which specifies that each member of a Covered Entity’s workforce and Business Associates should only have access to the least amount of...

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The Problem With Using Templated Progress Notes

More practices today are use electronic dental records. There are certainly pros and cons of doing so, which is beyond the scope of this blog post. What is important is that the software used today allows providers to template their notes, which are often necessarily-detailed. The problem with using templates, especially those with pre-populated answers are whether the answers accurately reflect the patient presentation, diagnostic test results (i.e. x-rays), the dentist’s findings/recommendations, and (ultimately) treatments provided. If yes, great! If no, oh no!

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5 Day Employee Wins Unemployment Claim

One recent afternoon I received a call from a dentist (I’ll call him Dr. Bob) who had hired me to give compliance lectures for his group of fellow dentists. I had a tremendous amount of respect for Dr. Bob who always seemed to appreciate my expertise. I often wondered why he never hired me to ‘do my thing’ to help spiffy up his practice. That day Dr. Bob called for this exact reason, but under duress. He didn’t need a cover up, he needed a makeover and I was the man for the job.   The dentist hired an employee...

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