What About Home Sleep Testing?

Beautiful woman lying and sleep on the snowy bedWhen it comes to getting your patients tested for sleep apnea, have you ever considered sleep testing at home? Many patients might find that to be a better option! Working with a sleep doctor can help you in the diagnosis of sleep apnea for your patients, while helping you to take the next step in treatment with oral appliance therapy. If your sleep doctor offers home sleep testing, your patients might be more inclined to seek diagnosis and treatment. Let’s take a look at home sleep testing vs. in office sleep testing.

Keep it in the Office

The first option for diagnosing a patient with sleep apnea is sleep testing through the sleep doctor’s facilities. By having your patients tested through the sleep doctor’s facilities, all the technology needed is available for them. This is the most often utilized way of sleep testing, but many patients are not always up for that. Typically, when testing for sleep apnea with sleep testing, your sleep doctor’s facilities will be a go-to place for your patient’s care—they want to be known for the go-to place for all forms of sleep testing.

At Home Sleep Studies

Recently, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association, Medicare has approved coverage for home sleep studies. As countless people pack an overnight bag have thought, “wouldn’t it be nice if I could just do this at home in my own bed?” Well, it looks like that is an option now.

In March, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services dropped its long standing opposition to home studies. A positive diagnosis for sleep apnea is established if:

  • The apnea-hypoapnea index as measured by the portable device is 15 or more. This means that a person experiences 15 apneas an hour.
  • The AHI is between 5 and 14, and the patient has documented symptoms of:
    • Daytime sleepiness
    • Impaired cognition
    • Mood disorders
    • Hypertension
    • Ischemic heart disease
    • History of stroke

Whether you think sleep studies should be performed in a facility or at home, it is important to contact your local sleep doctor to discuss the best ways for testing your patients for sleep apnea. As experts in sleep apnea, sleep doctors are available to help you during the diagnosis process so you can take the next step in proper treatment for you patients.

Contact Dr. Mayoor Patel to learn more about sleep apnea and the relationship you can have with your sleep doctor. If you have worked with a sleep doctor before, what sleep study was preferred? Share your answers with us by leaving a comment!

The Dentist and Writer: A Perfect Match for Success

handshakeIt’s a team you might have never thought was possible: the dentist and the writer. While these professions are on two separate ends of the spectrum, they actually make quite the duo. Think about marketing. In order to gain new patients and get your name out there you need a marketing plan—a good one at that. With help from a writer, you can create a successful marketing campaign that includes social media management, blogging, and many other options.

Start Blogging

Whether you are beginning a general dentistry practice or a dental sleep medicine practice, start blogging! I understand that you are busy with seeing patients, but hiring a freelance writer can help eliminate the stress of needing to blog weekly. I currently use Sara Berg as my freelance writer—she has been writing for my office for two years now. Work with a writer you can trust and create topics that interest your office and patients. Start with the services you offer and then expand. Think about questions your patients frequently ask and start writing! Weekly blogs can help you reach your patients and develop a trusting relationship because it shows you are an expert in your field.

Be Social

You might already have Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram, but are you using it to your advantage? In addition to your personal social media channels, create ones for your practice. By doing so, your writer can keep your social network up-to-date with important information, while also sharing your blog posts each week. Share important articles, updates on your practice, photos and blog posts so your patients are constantly in-the-know for important information. The number of times you should be posting varies from each network and how often you want your patients to be updated. Try for at least once a week and increase posting with each special message you want to share. A partnership with a freelance writer eliminates the need for you to post every week. The writer will update the social media channels for you with blogs and other informative updates. Share important information with the writer as it comes up.

Market, Market, Market

Marketing is vital for a successful practice—how else will you reach current and new patients? Marketing covers all other areas for your practice. From website content creation to articles, newsletters and emails, a writer can help you create each document. Send monthly newsletters to keep your patients up-to-date because, with a writer, you can more effectively create shareable information. Talk to your writer about information that should be included in a newsletter and you can get to sharing!

Even more important is your website. A website will allow your practice to be easily searchable on the Internet, so include accurate educational information about each of the services you have to offer at your practice. This is also where you will find your blog. Working with a writer will help you to create professional and educational content that your patients, and even other doctors, will want to read.

Become an expert in your field not only at your practice, but throughout the Internet as well. Working with a writer can help you reach your patients and other doctors, as well—it takes the stress off of you and allows you to have creative, up-to-date content for easy access in all areas.

5 Rules for Growing Sleep Service Offerings

Happy business team applauding togetherYou’ve already gone through the steps of choosing to provide dental sleep medicine services in your office—now what? To thrive in a new healthcare environment, dental sleep medicine organizations must improve and expand what they offer because just offering these services is not enough. If you are unable to provide sufficient unique value, you could possibly disappear and no one wants that to happen to their dental practice. Let’s take a look at five rules for growing your sleep service offerings.

  1. What is Your Goal?

By creating a goal, you can ensure you are on the right path to success. To do this you might want to write down different traits of how you would like things to work out with your dental sleep medicine practice. Don’t forget to ask your staff members to do the same, and then share the results. By looking at overall goals you can create a vision for your office that becomes successful with the help of your team members.

  1. Look Toward the Future

If you asked hockey legend Wayne Gretzky about his success on the ice he says, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has already been.” When you rely on data and what others say works with dental sleep medicine, you are missing the right opportunities. If you are to benchmark your practice you are only setting your sights on yesterday’s success—not the future.

  1. Ensure a Steady Flow of Patients

As with any business, you want to ensure you have a steady flow of patients. There are two possible sources for patients: current patients at your practice, and patients not yet in your practice. Because of this, two systems must be created: one to identify existing patients who would benefit from dental sleep medicine, and one to identify and attract new patients into the system. For a growth perspective, targeting your existing patients is the best place to begin. Once they are your patient, you want to keep them. New patients can be gained through a working relationship with the local Sleep MD.

  1. Properly Communicate Your Message

One of the biggest mistakes of offering new services is underestimating the importance of how you are wording the information. It is important to integrate new behaviors, and when you are talking about something new in your office, words matter a lot. The ways in which your service is described can be a huge determinant of whether your program skyrockets or falls flat on its face. Everyone in your dental office should have a solid understanding of what the service is, who can benefit, how it works, and why it is important.

  1. Maximize Operational Efficiency

Updating the services you offer requires careful planning. Although, successful  growth of your dental office demands flexibility and the ability to adapt and adjust as you gather information for your planning. You will need to consider the following:

  • Billing
  • Revenues
  • Staffing
  • Equipment
  • Expenses

Include each member of your dental team in the implementation of the new services and assign different tasks to keep everyone involved.

Contact Dr. Mayoor Patel to learn more about what you need to do to successfully implement dental sleep medicine into your dental office.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

slider3-bg1As a dentist it might be difficult to stand out among your competition. With dental offices popping up in your community, how do you stay ahead of the rest? It’s simple and we’ve mentioned it before: offer Dental Sleep Medicine in your practice. By offering Dental Sleep Medicine and remaining up-to-date with important information you can stay ahead of the curve and stand out among other dentists in your community. Let’s take a look at how you can accomplish this.

Attend Lectures and Courses     

One of the main and most important ways you can begin to integrate dental sleep medicine into your practice is through continuing education. By attending lectures and courses, you can gain a better understanding of dental sleep medicine, how to incorporate it into your practice and the best ways to inform your patients. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to the services you offer your patients. And, the best part is your entire staff can attend courses together for a well-rounded dental team. Dr. Mayoor Patel and Nierman Practice Management currently offer an array of lectures throughout 2015 to help you better understand dental sleep medicine and how to incorporate it into your practice.

Create a Working Relationship with a Sleep MD

Once you have completed continuing education for you and your team, you will want to introduce yourself to your local sleep MD. By creating a working relationship, you are opening up the doorway to new patients and a collaborative effort between both parties. In order to provide oral appliance therapy for the treatment of sleep apnea, your patient will need a referral and a proper diagnosis. This is where a Sleep MD comes into the picture. Through your working relationship, you can send patients to this doctor for diagnosis, just as this doctor may send patients to you for oral appliance therapy. Keep the door open for collaborative efforts between your office and other doctors that can help in the treatment of sleep apnea for your patients.

Stay ahead of the curve by offering Dental Sleep Medicine in your office—your patients will thank you. Contact Dr. Mayoor Patel for more information on how to provide these improved services and to sign up for upcoming lectures.