Monthly Archives: May 2015

Medical Tourism Coming to an Island Near You Dominican Republic Attracting More than Sun-Seeking Sojourners

by Implantadmin Posted on May 18, 2015

With the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane season less than two weeks away, it might seem like an odd time to discuss Dominican Republic tourism. June, after all, is among the island’s wettest months and it’s the time of year where cold-winter beach destinations across North America and Europe are in their glory.

But for government organizations, private tourism groups, and a litany of restaurateurs and hoteliers, there’s no such thing as an off season. There’s only preparation for next season. And when it comes to promoting a very special type of international travel — medical tourism — the Dominican Republic is moving full steam ahead.

Thanks to continued positive travel and hospitality indicators — tourism revenue contributes nearly 8 percent to the country’s total GDP and 5.1 million tourists visited the DR in 2014, a nearly 10 percent jump from the year before — medical tourism is poised to take root just as it has in other countries with robust tourism economies. Earlier this month it was announced that Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) and Asociacion Dominicana de Turismo de la Salud (ATDS) are partnering with the Medical Tourism Association®, a global nonprofit, in an effort to promote Dominican Republic medical tourism. Included in those efforts are making patients feel comfortable and safe, while ensuring that the facilities in which they are treated are fully accredited and up to global standards, and that patients are aware of that accreditation.

The joint partnership is the latest effort by the country to transform its hospitality economy. Earlier this year the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance, the Dominican Medical Association and the Association of Hotels and Tourism (ASONAHORES) hashed out a plan to promote medical tourism as an economic revenue generator. While hard numbers are difficult to confirm due to the relatively new nature of the industry, the global market size is estimated at $38.5 billion to $55 billion, based on 11 million cross-border patients annually. In the US, some 1.4 million Americans traveled abroad for medical care in 2014.

Motivations for the trip range from the need for better care than can be accessed in the travelers’ home country, nonexistent country of origin care, and affordability.

Booster shot of Goodwill
As the founder of Implant Seminars, a leader in continuing dental education, as well as its highly successful Live Patient program in the Dominican Republic, these developments are extremely encouraging. That’s because my Santo Domingo-based dental training and surgical facility is attracting dentists from around the world to receive the training they need and the confidence they require in order to place dental implants. In effect, our efforts are already bringing international doctors to the country’s hotel, restaurants, shopping districts and beaches.

But it’s more that that.

The three-floor building is fully equipped with the latest diagnostic and imaging machines and includes 26 dental chairs. Thanks to donations from around the world, the facility operates entirely free of charge for patients who need the services most. To date, thousands of patients have been given the gift of a new, healthy mouth. And in the last several months new specialized courses have also been added to facilitate doctor and patient needs. Courses include: Extractions, Implant Prosthetics and Soft Tissue Management. With their enhanced smiles patients can more readily access the country’s new hospitality and tourism jobs. But they could also serve as important brand ambassadors, marketing through word-of-mouth, that the Dominican Republic is an ideal place to receive dental care, whether you’re a citizen or not.

It’s also interesting to note that of the top eight medical treatments travelers visit other countries for, cosmetic surgery and dentistry, including general, restorative and cosmetic lead the list, according to Patients Beyond Borders. Such insights prove that once again, dentistry is at the forefront of science and art. And efforts like Implant Seminars’ Live Patient program are aiding dual aspects of the Dominican Republic’s tourism economy — helping equip an eager workforce, while being a vehicle to promote international dental education for doctors, and by extension, in-country treatment.

Doing so may well entice additional US and international patients to visit for reasons far beyond a day at the beach. And considering that preventative oral maintenance doesn’t wait for the annual hurricane season to come and go, patients may well book shoulder season trips if their medical needs warrant and weather conditions permit. If countries like Costa Rica, India, Israel, Mexico and the United States (among others) are banking on the economic benefits of medical tourism, why shouldn’t the Dominican Republic?

I for one fully support these efforts and I praise the Dominican Republic government for spearheading these important developments. Implant Seminars and its Live Patient program will remain committed to its mission and continue helping transform a workforce —and a nation’s people — one mouth at a time.

Why the Encouraging April Jobs Report is a Giant ‘I told you so’ for Dentists And how to use the data to your hiring advantage

by Implantadmin Posted on May 11, 2015

Like a collection of drug-resistant bacteria living in a continent-sized Petri dish, every few months, it seems, the American public needs a booster shot of emotional reassurance that, yes, the economy really is turning a corner.

Yet a few weeks ago the winds of doubt were again blowing at gale force strength thanks to a March jobs report that was, frankly, miserable. Politically correct phrases like “missed the mark” or “failed to impress” don’t do the report justice. And a recent downward revision in the number of jobs created — 85,000 — made March the single worst month for jobs growth since January 2011. Though many economists cautioned March was only a winter blues blip, more data was needed to squelch newfound worry.

Then there was April — a no-fools rebuke.

According to the Labor Department, the US economy added 223,000 jobs last month, which was a touch better than economists interviewed by CNN had predicted. Better still, the unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent, the lowest since May 2008. Encouragingly, professional and business services were particularly healthy with 62,000 jobs created and another 45,000 added in health care.

Dental Professionals in a Smiling Mood
But to someone in the dental profession, much of this good news comes as a giant “I told you so.” For years now, dentists, dental assistants, office staff and hygienists, have been quietly earning their keep, even as the national economy languished in first gear. For millions of Americans craving a more reliable, longer lasting “back in business” feeling than finicky monthly jobs reports provide, our profession ranks as among the most robust.

Dentistry succeeds on many levels. In fact, the labor department estimates a 25 percent growth rate from 2012-2022 for dental assistants alone. And in its annual listing of 100 Best Jobs, U.S. News & World Report ranked dental assistants number 67.

Actual dentists, believe it or not, came in at number 1. Number one! And of the top five jobs, four were in the medical profession, including dental hygienists. On average dentists enjoy one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and are projected to have a 2012-2022 growth rate of 16 percent. Add to that high income, (median income is $146,340) training that’s a mix of practical and technical skills, manageable stress levels, and an agreeable work-life balance that permits an hours flexibility rare in other medical disciplines, and it’s easy to see why it’s such a great field.

The trouble is, not enough people know this good news. Many, I suspect, are turned off by the prospect of a lengthy and expensive education and the need to take out loans. Perhaps they even harbor a latent fear of going to the dentist, preventing them from becoming what they fear.

More so than even the traditional reasons noted above, dentistry’s better days are now and its best days lie ahead. Technology is one of the key drivers of that success. From billing and patient management software that’s finally heralding the paperless office (the paperless office was predicted to arrive around 1995 — in 1975) to the latest digital imaging and in-office prosthetic milling technologies, dentists and dental professionals can do more in less time than they ever dreamed possible. And new challenges and new cases mean new opportunities for exciting surgery, especially when it comes to implants. Thanks to reduced costs and high success rates, dental implants are increasingly common and the procedure is an ideal skill set to add to your practice.

The Golden Age of Dentistry is Here

The energy you and your fellow dentists feel will immediately be transferred to the practice itself.  This is an aspect of effective modern dentistry I address in my marketing and communications book, “Implant Excellence Five Steps to Dental Implant Practice Growth,”  a 300-page hardcover now in its second addition. It’s essential that you market your dental practice as a place that’s inviting to work, that rewards hard work, and cultivates a sense that your practice “is going places” and that there’s room for individual growth. Take the time to provide training to your staff, communicate your needs clearly, and strive to be an advisor, as much as a supervisor.

With a little time and planning, all of this can be achieved. Above all it’s important to remember that external marketing begins with soft, internal marketing first. A happy staff, whose self worth is recognized and appreciated makes for A-list brand ambassadors. Once internal communication has been addressed, you’re ready to expand.

Jobs reports will come and go and jobs themselves will fall into and out of favor. But the health of our teeth aren’t negotiable. Too much neglect and problems mount. Ultimately, patients will come. But a lot more will come through your doors if you bring the right team together, demonstrating to them the value of the profession they’ve chosen.

So if April’s employment numbers have you thinking economic spring, consider this article a reminder that the dental profession outlook is equally bright.