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Leaders in Dentistry: Patti DiGangi

Tonya Lanthier, RDH
Tonya Lanthier, RDH

Posted February 08, 2017


In this edition of Leaders in Dentistry, we had the chance to interview with our friend and DentalPost education partner, Patti DiGangi, RDH. Patti has been busy traveling to conferences, educating the dental industry on some exciting new coding changes. Here’s what she shared with us:

  1. Tell us about your plans for 2017, what dental shows will you be attending?

It’s another full year of amazing opportunities between the meetings at which I present and those that I attend. The year kicks off with Yankee Dental, then onto Chicago Mid-Winter meeting and very important to my work in the coding world, the SNODENT (Systematized Nomenclature for Dentistry the diagnostic coding companion to CDT) than onto the Codes Maintenance Committee. I will also be presenting at both amazing hygiene meeting ADHA in Jacksonville and RDH in Chicago.  I have to joy this year of presenting to state meetings in Mississippi, Arizona, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, and New Hampshire. The end of the year, it looks like Hawaii and England. I end my year by feeding and motivating myself with my business coach Mark LeBlanc “Whatever It Takes in Business” in La Jolla, CA. What about amazing SiroWorld? I definitely hope to have the privilege of presenting there again too!

  1. We’ve heard all about your new book, congratulations! What new information can readers expect to learn from The DentalCodeology: CDT 2017 Shifts?

I coined the word DentalCodeology that means the study of codes. CDT 2017 Shift is not only about what codes have been added or changed, it also helps map a picture of the soon coming future of diagnostic coding. Codes are not only about dental benefit payments, they are also about metrics. Metrics can give us the power to quickly arrive at data-driven decisions that can improve outcomes and performance, drive cost savings, and enhance patient quality of care and satisfaction.

The most exciting change in codes for 2017 is the new D4346 gingival inflammation code. We can finally treat gingivitis after decades of merely dumping gingival inflammation into the same category as health. This new code can potentially close the loop and elevate our standard of care. With increasing research pointing to the connection between oral disease and medical conditions, the timing is perfect. Early recognition ensures earlier intervention and disease prevention.

  1. What changes do you think will come to the dental office in 2017? Do you see any new trends in the dental industry for 2017?

The one thing in life that is guaranteed is change. The trend I see is consumerism. Dental patients are consumers. Dental professionals love and value the relationships we build with tour patients. The truth is these connections don’t hold the same sway as they once did. Empty chair time creates a high cost to dental practices everywhere. Professionals can think patients believe dental care is becoming too expensive, but research shows patient priorities are changing. What worked successfully in the past often doesn’t work today. The new message is that treating early disease is important. It gives all types of patient’s reasons to return, yet this message needs to be tailored to each consumer. Delivering the message individually in a readily available way brings greater success. We need to send the right message to the right person at the right time so that person feels like they are our only patient. Technology and a new D4346 CDT code can give patients more reasons to want to return regularly. The opportunities the new code provides:

  • Reasons for patient to return
  • Improving patient health
  • Increasing professional recognition joining dentistry and medicine
  • Escalating profitability

Sounds like a winning combination for our future.


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