The salesman, a seasoned veteran for a great company, looked at me with astonishment.
I had just asked him a question.
I was doing research prior to purchasing a new, state-of-the-art 3-D scanning device, one that can help diagnose a myriad of issues from TMJ to airway to implant and bone health for the new, New Jersey office.
The question I asked him was, “How does your scanner comply with the ALARA principle?”
He knew what I was asking. With that quizzical look on his face, he replied, “You are the first doctor that has ever asked me that question.”
I gave him the same astonished look in return.
The ALARA principle is an acronym for As Little Radiation As Reasonably Achievable. It’s a principle I taught while directing the New Patient Clinics at Columbia Presbyterian and it’s a principle I and every staff member at MDH lives by.
But the salesman had never been asked that question. How is that possible?
It’s because our healthcare and education systems have failed. They have failed to train people to look at the big picture and the long term effects of certain actions. Just like our culture in general, our healthcare system has sacrificed long term solutions for short term gain.
Insurance companies will pay 100% for x-rays regardless of whether they are justified, often as frequently as every 6 months! You can imagine how that’s being abused by unethical providers.
Radiation is never needed unless the information gained is important to your health in the short or long term. It has to be given great thought and based on a risk assessment.
Such a risk assessment is done every time you come into the office. MDH has no “policy” about x-rays. The policy is that every person is evaluated as the unique and individual person he or she is and the specific risks they have. We constantly evaluate you to determine your risk for decay, gum disease, TMJ problems, breathing/sleep issues, cancer and other oral and related diseases (like reflux and headaches).
Your medical history, diet and other factors are all taken into consideration. It’s one of the reasons we’re incorporating a computerized health history update system.
We know that this new system takes time and we apologize for the inconvenience. We’re doing it, however, to help care for you better in a more personalized, customized and effective manner.
Preventing problems takes time and effort now in order to avoid problems in the future. It’s best accomplished by searching for causes rather than just treating symptoms. Our new system is just another way we’re helping you prevent problems down the road and uncovering causes to provide you with more effective, long-lasting solutions.
The questionnaire, which will be given to you on an IPad-like tablet, takes 15-20 minutes to fill out the first time. Thereafter, it only takes 5 minutes. It’s time that can save you much, much more.
Technology is acceptable only if it has some benefit to YOU. The benefit here is a healthier future.
To everyone’s current and future good health and wellness,
P.S. As a Thank you for completing your Computerized Health Assessment, we’ll give you something else to protect your health, a travel UV toothbrush sanitizer. I use one every day to help reduce bacteria levels in my mouth.
P.P.S. if you’ve already filled out the Assessment, please let us know. We owe you the gift too.