Wednesday, October 26, 2011

For the Record

Happy Wednesday to all of you. Hope you are having a good week.

I am having a crazy week. The final drafts are coming in on the Tri-fold packaging for the DVD speaker’s packet. I am getting nervous. So nervous, in fact, that I am starting to doubt myself. I am starting to think that now I don't even like the title. The title was supposed to be the hook. But I started to wonder if it is going to turn people off. ARGH!!!

I have recently finished the DVD. This is my speaker packet in video. I thought it would be a great idea to send this people so they would be impressed with my tech-savviness. Well, it is good, but it is not great. The idea is great. I think the material is great. But there are some limitations to the program on the Mac.

You can't put a document on the DVD, so you to turn a document into a JPG file. You have to make the document a picture and then put it into your DVD. All that transferring of data makes the image a bit fuzzy. You can read it, but it is not perfect. So am I going to spend all this time and money for it to be just pretty good? I am doubting myself.

I went to burn the final draft of the DVD and it wouldn't burn, so I made an appointment at the Genius bar at the Apple Store. On Monday, I spent an hour and a half there and they still didn't fix it. They told me that I was going to have to bring in the disc that came with the computer so they can reboot all the programs.

I went in the next day and then proceeded to wait THREE HOURS at the bar for them to figure it out. They finally did just redo my whole project and got the thing burned and had no idea why it wasn't working. By the way, the guy that helped me was 23 years old. So, I have a DVD and the graphics are on the final draft; I’m getting close.

Topic de jour
I want to talk to you about your health history form. Not about people's health, but there "status." This is a sensitive topic for some people, but I can assure you I am being serious about it. Let me back up.

We are an office built around relationships. The more we know about people, the better. We have always contemplated putting something on the health history for married, single, divorced or life partner. But we are a dental office - why would we need to know something like that? Because it is always easier to talk to people when more you know more about them.

My assistant went to the gastroenterologist this week, and they had everything on their form: single, married, divorced, widowed and life partner. And farther down on the health history, they asked if she was sexually active (she is 55 and her husband is 72... sexually active is kind of relative, don't you think?).

I know it is not that important, but to us it kind of is. Imagine for a second that you ask a woman about her husband. It is a normal question because she brings in her kids. If we knew she was widowed, we might be a little more sensitive.

Or there is woman who is super bubbly and has a great personality. She totally loves the practice and you really like her. You might ask her if there is anyone special in her or life or if she has a boyfriend. You are not looking to embarrass her or create a firestorm.

And it doesn't have to be a woman. There are plenty of men whose feelings we could hurt if we asked them a question that might embarrass them. My assistant once asked a regular looking guy if he had any kids, and he scoffed at her. We came to find out that he was gay but didn't tell us. I think he told us later, but then it was on his time, not ours.

I know what you are thinking. “It is none of your business. Just fix their teeth.” That is what I am thinking this as I am typing it. But, our office is built around being friendly, knowing people and talking to people. And knowing about their family and who they are is very important. I just want to love on people (and fix their teeth). If you just lost your wife, if you are divorced, if you are homosexual, it doesn't matter. I just want to be able to identify with you in a way that is right for you.

What do you think? Do you have these questions on you health history? Have you stuck your foot in your mouth before asking a gay person a straight question (like we have here)?

I go back and forth. My assistant thinks we should have it on the form, but I just don't know.

Hope your week is going well.


Bruce Cassis said...

Good article John but you lost me on the speaker's packet. What's up with that?

gatordmd said...


The Speaker's packet thing is what I have been working on for the last couple of months. I am going to start a lecture series and the speakers packet is what you sent out to dental meeting planners to let them know that you exist.

It has things like your bio, your lecture synopsis, any articles you have written, and contact information.

Hope that helps,

Anonymous said...

You're visiting "Enemy Territory" again with your self talk. Sometimes "really good" is a safer place than "perfect".
If you are a friendly talkative practice then forget about all the extra stuff on the history form, let the patients self disclose at their own rates.
Also 55yos and 72 yos can have extremely active sex lives, as you may discover when you get there, but really you don't have to know about the details for most people. However you do need to be aware that the increase in male oral cancers may be due to HPV virus acquired from oral sex.

Anonymous said...

Good question: I think MD's are much more in need of that information, although if oral HPV, HIV, etc. is involved, treatment can be affected.

Otherwise, I prefer to let the patient share that information on their terms. Anyway, homosexual people sometimes have kids (I don't want to know how but that is another topic).

Anonymous said...

I don't think it really matters either way. Plus if they really don't want you to know they won't put the correct info any way.

Cosmetic Dentist Chicago said...

I don't think getting uber personal on history forms is completely necessary. Like its been said here, whatever else is necessary you can just ask your patients.


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