When CDSBC identifies issues or concerns that impact dental practices, we will publish Issue Alerts for registrants that include details about the issue and CDSBC’s position on the topic.
17 April 2015 CDSBC and the British Columbia Dental Association have been notified about an email virus passing between dental offices. Some offices are receiving a high number of emails appearing to come from patients and/or other dental offices on a variety of seemingly relevant topics (i.e. X-rays, appointment cancellations). If you see something similar, do not open the email and most importantly do not open any attachments. If in doubt, call the sender to confirm that the message is genuine. The following information is provided to assist our registrants and their patients protect their computers and files.
There is a virus being passed between dental offices that is transmitted through email. The messages have a dental focus, may seem to be legitimate and contain an attachment. When the recipient attempts to open the attachment, nothing appears to happen, but behind the scenes, the computer is then infected with a virus that starts to send email out to all of the contacts on the infected computer.
Do not open the email or most importantly the attachment in the email or click on any links in the message. Notify the sender of the suspicious nature of the message and advise them that they should immediately contact their IT service provider to scan and clean all of their computers to prevent the virus from spreading further.
Contact your IT service provider to assist with scanning and cleaning your computer systems and ensuring that you have an up-to-date anti-virus program on all computers.
All computers should be running an up-to-date anti-virus program and be regularly scanned for malware.
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Recently, CDSBC has received correspondence from dentists and patients expressing concern about insurance audits and associated confidentiality and liability issues. This includes a number of inquiries from patients whose dentists have asked them to rescind consent given to insurers to review their files.
Dentists have a duty to protect and keep confidential the personal information of their patients. However, dentists are reminded that patients’ personal information
belongs to the patient, and not to the dentist or the practice. Patients are entitled to authorize the release of their personal information, and dentists must respect that authorization. Dentists may not interfere with or hinder the insurer from obtaining patient consent.
If you are presented with a consent form signed by a patient for the release of their personal information, it is not a breach of your duty of confidentiality to release it in accordance with the consent form.
The Registrar has prepared a
memo (PDF) to registrants providing more detailed guidance on this issue.
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A new way of advertising for new patients has emerged recently that involves offering group discounts through a website, usually offering a “deal of the day” (for example, “Groupon”). The savings are group focused: if enough people sign up for the offer, everyone gets the deal.
If there aren’t enough people, no one gets it. For example, a coffee company might offer a deal of “$10 for $20 worth of coffee,” provided that 500 people sign up. The web company collects the payment and passes it on, minus their fee, to the business.
CDSBC has been asked whether it is acceptable for a dentist to use this approach to gain new patients. The simple answer is no. The way the system works is that the company operating the website takes up to 50 per cent of any money that is paid. This effectively means the dentist is paying the company a commission for the referral. Any scheme that includes paying a third party a fee for the referral is explicitly contrary to the
Code of Ethics (PDF), and therefore not permitted.
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