2018 Podiatry Conferences That We’re Attending

Come see us at a podiatry conference!

Here are the podiatry conferences that we’ll attend in 2018. We look forward to seeing old and new faces, and chatting with hard working nurses, doctors and vendors.

 NY18 Podiatric Clinical Conference

When: January 19-21, 2018

Where: NY, NY, Marriott Marquis

33rd NoNonsense Seminar

When: March 9-11, 2018

Where: Independence, OH, Holiday Inn

Midwest Podiatry Conference

When: April 19-22, 2018

Where: Chicago, IL, Hyatt Regency

Ontario Society of Chiropodists OSC 2018

When: May 4-5, 2018

Where: Markham, ON, Canada, Hilton

The 2018 Western Foot and Ankle Conference 

When: June 21-23, 2018

Where: Anaheim, CA, Disneyland Hotel

Canadian Podiatry Conference

When: Oct 18-21, 2018

Where: Toronto, ON, Canada, Delta Hotel by Marriott

Increase Revenue in Your Podiatry Practice with These Products

As we all know, service providers in all industries try to generate extra cash by selling products that complement their offering. For example, hairdressers don’t just give you a haircut – they also recommend shampoos, styling products, and other hair treatments that are good for your hair type. In this way, they provide a better, more holistic service while generating additional revenue sources for themselves.

Makes sense, right? So why is it any different when speaking about podiatrists?

As doctors, podiatrists often shy away from selling products in their practice. “We hear so much about why some podiatrists won’t dispense products,” says Hal Ornstein, DPM. “One of the biggest reasons is the ethics—the perception of the patient looking at the doctor or the practice as trying to be a retail store, like you’re just nickel-and-diming them. It is so untrue.”

Offering an assortment of podiatry-related products and services does not make you greedy in the eyes of your patients. On the contrary – adding specialized products to your offering makes you and your practice more valuable in the eyes of patients. If you think about it, you’re saving patients an extra trip to the local pharmacy, plus the headache of picking a product out of the abundance of confusingly similar packages at the pharmacy. Dr. Lowell Weill of the Weil Foot & Ankle Institute, validates the fact that convenience is highly valued by patients in his post on how to improve patient care while increasing revenue in Podiatry Today.

Patients clearly appreciate having access to products that they would otherwise have to seek out for themselves at stores or online. Additionally, by integrating specialized products such as orthotics and various foot creams into your practice, you can create supplementary revenue from every customer. In fact, the single biggest opportunity for podiatry practice revenue growth is arguably in retail products.

If you’d like to start selling revenue-generating items in your practice, below is a list of providers that you can contact today.

Natural Podiatry Products from MD Private Label

MD Private Label Booth at Frisco Podiatry Conference

We met with Kumy from MD Private Label and loved the beautiful and natural gift packages and podiatry products he showed us. If you want to appeal to the health-conscious patient, the natural ingredients in their products are what you’re looking for.

MD Private Label’s products are made for professional podiatrists and can only be purchased through doctor’s offices like yours. They are not available in drugstores, mass merchants or through online retailers such as Amazon or Ebay, and therefore can become a reliable revenue stream for your practice.

Footwear and Orthotics from Dia-Foot

Dia-Foot Booth at the Frisco Podiatry Conference

We met with Dia-Foot at the conference in Frisco, Texas. They were showcasing their Telic flip flops which were colorful and fashion-forward while still being practical; The Telics’ superior weight distribution and arch support make them super comfortable! Additionally, Dia-Foot sells diabetic inserts and various types of orthotics.

Since patients tend to foster a high level of trust with their podiatrists, they tend to prefer to buy orthotics and orthopedic shoes directly from their doctors to ensure they get a product that is right for them. Dia-Foot products are a great way to serve the needs of your customers and generate additional revenue for your private practice at the same time.

Professional Foot Care Products from Blaine Labs

Blaine Labs Booth at the Frisco Podiatry Conference

Blaine Labs offer a variety of products for fungal care, skin care, wound care, and pain management. Plus, they do private labeling so your customer will see your unique design and your practice’s name on the packaging, as opposed to a generic brand that they may find at the local pharmacy. Supplying their products helps you address the more common, day-to-day concerns of your patients with ease while staying top of mind.

Amazingly Comfortable Socks from Simcan

Simcan socks booth

Simcan is a family run business that has been selling quality socks for over 20 years. Their socks are specially designed to be worn safely by those with diabetes and other health conditions that impact the foot and lower leg. They provide the highest level of comfort and quality possible.

We tried the Simcan LEGfit socks and absolutely loved them. Most diabetic socks that we’ve tried before were either too tight and constrictive at the top, or slid down because they were too loose. The LEGfit are great because they are wide-fitting, apply no pressure, do not slide down, and keep their shape after a wash. To top that off – they are also anti microbial and moisture-wicking. They could be a great product to add to your inventory and offer to any customer seeking superior comfort.

 

Want more?

Other providers include
The Tetra Corporation – which supplies an assortment of products to remedy dry skin, brittle nails, fungal problems, and a host of other podiatry concerns – and Footsteps which sells premium off-the-shelf orthotics and top quality orthopedic soft goods.

Furthermore, as Dr. Weill recommends in his post in Podiatry Today, once you feel confident about your retail offerings – you should try to move into shoes. “Patients are always seeking shoe gear advice and recommendations from their podiatrist,” says Weill.

VASYLI Medical offers an incredible variety of beautiful modern shoes by Vionic, and integrates its podiatrist-designed support into every pair. Vionic is all about gorgeous, comfortable shoes, or as they put it: “Style. It doesn’t have to hurt.”

 

Still not convinced that you should sell products? Try to add services to your practice instead: 

Modern Laser Treatments Powered by BritaMed’s Technology

BritaMed's podiatry laser booth at the CPMA conference

We recently met Sigal and Aaron from BritaMed at the CPMA conference in Toronto. Sigal and Aaron highlighted that many podiatrists resort to adding additional services to their practice when they want to increase revenue. BritaMed’s laser products allow podiatrists to do exactly this.

By incorporating high power laser technology into a podiatry practice, practitioners are able to widen their service offering, improve their image, attract new patients and ultimately – contribute to their bottom line.

BritaMed’s high powered lasers can be used to treat many different types of conditions, such as soft tissue inflammations (e.g. Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendonitis, etc.), toenail fungus infections, Solitary & Mosaic Warts, foot Telangiectasia and dermatology lesions. As such, podiatrists that have chosen to purchase these robust laser devices use them on a daily basis and quickly see returns on their investment.

Purchasing a Podiatry Drill? Here Are the Top Things to Consider

For many podiatrists, the decision to acquire treatment drills for their clinic is based on improving efficiency, modernizing their clinic, controlling dust, and improving overall patient satisfaction.

Here are the top things you should consider and research before you purchase your next podiatry drill. Read this information and speak with colleagues and podiatry drill vendors to ensure you make the best investment and purchase the right drill for your clinic’s needs.

Podiatry Drill Types – Vacuum and Spray

It’s important to take into consideration the advantages and disadvantages of each type of podiatry drill before making a purchase.

A vacuum drill, for example, will evacuate most of the airborne dust and make for relatively easy clean up, as any heavier particles that fall down are easily brushed off. However, vacuum podiatry drills are moderately noisy.

On the other hand, a water spray drill delivers painless treatment as the water mist helps to prevent friction. Many patients are impressed by the efficiency and ease of this type of drill. However, cleanup after a treatment with a spray drill is more intensive

Podiatry Drill Handpieces

A good quality handpiece plays a key role in the efficiency of the podiatry drill. Both vacuum drills and water spray drills reduce treatment time if the handpiece is powerful. In this regard, most all-metal handpieces outperform plastic ones.

It’s also important to ensure the handpiece allows the user to grip it properly – for optimal control and accuracy of the bur.

Additionally, note that twist-type locking chucks improve retention of the bur, are more reliable, and accommodate variation in bur stem diameters more readily.

Ease of Repair

When buying a professional drill, we advise to take into consideration the level of difficulty of repairs.

Be sure to inspect cables and connectors for ruggedness.

Removable front panel switches on the drill’s control unit can be replaced at a lower cost than smooth decal-based front panels.

Drills with detachable handpieces are easier and less costly to repair than those with fixed handpieces. If a handpiece is worn out and the control unit is still functional, the user can just replace the handpiece or have it repaired rather than getting the entire drill fixed.

Drill Durability

Solid vacuum hoses made from silicone rubber can easily outlast fragile ribbed hoses although they are a bit heavier. 

All-metal handpieces are usually more robust to begin with and they can be disassembled with screw threads and re-assembled after repair of internal parts. They also tend to have ball bearings at the tip of the nosecone that offer longer life and less vibration of the bur, which patients like as it minimizes discomfort.  

The power cords of your new podiatry drill should be sturdy and preferably of medical grade.

It’s also important that the drill you purchase can be operated easily and intuitively. Many drills on the market have excessive buttons and controls which often point to more complex and fragile electronics inside the control unit. Simple controls and a rugged heavy duty metal footswitch have proven their value over time.  

Long-term Value

While all drills will initially work and please the user, it’s important to evaluate the drill as a reliable investment for long-term use. The value of a drill is derived from the reliability and increased patient satisfaction as a result of shorter, more accurate, and less traumatic treatments. Good quality drills will last 10 to 15 years.

Vendor Reliability

Be sure to ask the vendor what the turnaround time is for common repairs. This will help you get a sense of the overall quality and dependability of the machine as well as how well the vendor supports their product. Keep in mind that you have a right to ask for a trial period when evaluating a new drill and should be eligible for a refund should you feel dissatisfied with the product.

Specialized Surgery to General Practice: Why Podiatrists Decide to Make the Switch

Thinking of changing the focus of your podiatry practice? The decision to make the switch from a surgical clinic to a general practice (one that provides routine foot care) is not a simple one.

There are many variables to consider before changing the focus of your clinic. To make your decision-making process a little easier, we’ve compiled some insights we’ve gathered over the years.

Here are the top 5 reasons podiatrists decide to convert their specialized surgery clinic into a general practice:

Changing demographics need routine foot care

When you first opened your clinic, you likely chose the location based on a study of what age distribution it needed to serve, but neighborhoods change over time. For example, younger neighborhoods now have a larger component of older constituents with different needs, like routine care of callus and nail ailments.

Appeal to a wider audience with a general practice

Regardless of the location of the podiatry clinic and the surrounding age demographics, routine, non-surgical care is normally needed by a larger number of people. As such, podiatrists can cast a wider net and appeal to a larger patient-base with a general practice than with a specialized surgery clinic.

Surgeries are becoming more difficult to perform

Patients aren’t the only ones who age over time. Doctors, too, often experience a decrease in their stamina as they get older. Many podiatrists who liked performing surgeries when they were younger may discover the same surgical procedures feel more physically demanding as they get older.

The specialized podiatrist’s workday never ends

For podiatrists operating a specialized surgery clinic, many find the workday to be especially strenuous and worry about complications even while at home. Some patients will call their doctor after hours if they are experiencing pain or have questions related to their surgery.

High-risk associated with podiatry surgeries

A surgical practice has higher operating costs, greater risk of complications, higher insurance premiums, and an increased risk of liability. Many podiatrists find that making the transition to a general practice clinic significantly reduces the day-to-day risk and consequently, is less stressful overall.

10 Ways to Improve Patient Experience in Your Podiatry Clinic

With Google, Facebook and Yelp reviews becoming more and more popular, word-of-mouth marketing is as important as ever – meaning that good or bad reviews can significantly impact your business. In order to see patients returning to your clinic and recommending you to others, it’s imperative to create a good patient experience in your podiatry practice.

Below are some clever ways for podiatrists to ensure that patients have a pleasant experience at their clinic.

Our suggestions apply to all types of podiatry clinics. If you are interested in tips targeted at surgical practitioners specifically, read more on how to improve patient care while increasing revenue in Podiatry Today.

Tip 1: Make an online podiatry survey

Create an online survey that you can have patients fill out before their visit. Ask them about their foot problems, whether they have seen a podiatrist in the past, and what brings them to your clinic. This will allow you to be well prepared and ensure greater patient satisfaction.

Tip 2: Make your podiatry clinic easy to navigate

Improve Patient Experience in Your Podiatry Clinic

Ensure you clinic is accessible and easy to navigate. As explained by Micah Solomon, thought leader in customer experience, you should strive to experience your care as your patients do. For example, park in the patient lot to determine the level of ease or difficulty they may experience walking to the front door. Consider how a physically impaired person might be able to navigate the premises. Also, take a tour of your clinic with someone who has not been there previously. While you might feel the experience is seamless and intuitive, you will be surprised at how many things can be improved.

Tip 3: Use a waiting room app

If you notice your patients seem antsy or stressed while waiting for their appointment, consider using a waiting room app. Here are 10 useful and engaging apps that can keep patients busy while they wait, whilst helping your practice run smoothly.

September 2017 update: this month, we participated in the Texas Podiatric Medical Association conference in Frisco. At the conference, we met Peter and Jarrett from Practice EHR. Peter and Jarrett showed us their cloud software for podiatry practices. Although it’s not exactly a waiting room app, this software can improve patient experience and save you valuable time nonetheless.

Practice EHR booth at the Frisco podiatry conference

Practice EHR can help you easily view patient information, manage patient appointments, and access podiatry-specific templates and reports, among other things. We haven’t tried their software ourselves, but if you think that your practice could benefit from a software like this, you can sign up for a free trial of Practice EHR here.

Tip 4: Set up a tea and coffee station

waiting room experience

Set up a tea and coffee station in the waiting room, so patients can treat themselves to a drink while they wait. A warm beverage can be comforting and help alleviate any long wait times. The cost of the station is minimal, and it will elevate the waiting room experience of your clinic.

Tip 5: Put a TV in the treatment room

Putting a TV in the treatment room is an easy way to make time go by faster for your patients. It can help distract them and keep them entertained while you perform the treatment.

Tip 6: Use painless podiatry equipment

Want patients to have a positive experience? Try to minimize any pain or discomfort your patients may experience during the procedure. For instance, in the case of nail and callous treatment, use the Ortho Spray professional podiatry drill. This drill cools the area being treated with a water and alcohol mist, which makes for a more pleasant and less painful procedure.

Tip 7: Use giveaways

You’ve probably received a few small giveaways (toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss) after your appointment with the dentist. As a podiatrist, you can also give a small gift to your patients at the end of the appointment. Contact companies that sell foot care or foot aesthetics products and see if they can provide you with something – for free, or for a nominal fee – to advertise their business. If you are willing to spend a little more and advertise your own practice, here are some ideas for small promotional items that you could brand with your clinic’s name and logo.

Tip 8: Encourage your staff to be polite and empathetic

Make politeness a core value of your practice. If a prospective patient is trying to book an appointment over the phone, a rude receptionist can be extremely off-putting. Keep in mind that while you may have performed a particular treatment countless times, your patient might experience some nervousness so it’s important to be kind and compassionate.

Tip 9: Be upfront about costs

Wherever possible, try to be direct with patients about the cost of a treatment or procedure. Providing an estimate can help set clear expectations for your patients and prevent any surprises. Also, try to make sure you have an easy method of handling insurance claims so the process is simple for your patients.

Tip 10: Acknowledge that the customer is always right

Yes, we know… the customer isn’t always right. Still, even if you take into account all the aforementioned tips, occasional mistakes are inevitable. As Micah Solomon explains, it’s important to be accountable for mistakes (or what the customer perceives as mistakes) as a health care professional. Teach your staff that an apology – rather than defensiveness – is the first step in resolving patient issues.

 

Ultimately, the medical industry is evolving with the rest of the world. Since the entire reputation of podiatry clinics is more readily available online than ever before – people no longer follow doctor referrals blindly. They rely on other patients’ experience to choose their doctor.

This means that the success of your practice is increasingly dependent not just on your professionalism as a podiatry practitioner, but on your ability to create a pleasant and memorable experience for your customers.

The good news is that with minimal investment of time and money – you can change your practice for the better, differentiate your business, and ultimately attract more customers.

Podiatry Burs 101: Everything You Need to Know

As a podiatrist, you’re probably familiar with the importance of creating a positive patient experience. From a well-furnished waiting room, to friendly and polite service, it’s important to ensure patients have a pleasant and seamless visit.

But, even more important is choosing the best tools of the trade so you can provide top quality service, and enable quicker turnaround times in your practice.

In this post, we’ll focus on the podiatry bur, a tool that you most likely employ on a regular basis. The podiatry bur is such a small and seemingly insignificant part of the practice, that its importance is often overlooked. 

What is a podiatry bur… and why should you care about it?

The podiatry bur is a common tool that most podiatrists use on a daily basis. It is a “small, rotating tool used in podiatry to remove layers of keratin (or other materials) from dystrophic toenails”. 

Podiatry Bur Display

There are many different types of burs on the market, and the differences between them arise from their shape (i.e. pear-shaped) and material (stainless steel, carbide, etc.).

A professional, effective bur debrides nail and callus with greater speed and precision. This allows for greater patient throughput and as a result, a more successful and efficient practice.

Podiatry bur quality

Burs come in a variety of price points and quality ranges. Less expensive burs typically are of a lower quality and hence, do not last as long. They also tend to have greater variation in stem thickness which may cause the bur to escape from the handpiece (handpieces with quick-chucks mostly have this problem). On the other hand, high quality burs remain sharp longer and require less pressure on the bur for faster debridement and less friction heat.

So, which podiatry bur should you use? That depends on what you are trying to achieve. Below are some tips on usage of the most popular European Footcare Supply podiatry burs.

Dust control with different podiatry burs

Many podiatrists are concerned about breathing airborne contaminants during nail drilling procedures – and rightfully so; it may increase the risk of a Respiratory Tract infection for the practitioner. Studies have shown that large amounts of dust become airborne during the procedure, and remain present in the air up to 10 hours afterwards.

Diamond burs produce fine dust that is evacuated easily using a good vacuum drill with a nozzle around the bur tip.  

Coarse burs – such as the carbide burs – produce large particles that may escape the air flow. However, since these particles are heavier, they will fall to the floor rather than staying airborne.

Note: Spray drills are effective in binding the dust and particles with water and reducing negative health effects of airborne contaminants. They also cool the patient’s tissue with a mist of distilled water and alcohol to allow for a less painful treatment.

Nail treatment with different podiatry burs

For a light touch-up of the nail plate, a fine diamond bur will treat both the top and front edge of the nail leaving a smooth surface.  One popular bur is the pear shaped 741 or the slightly narrower 745 bur.

To reduce nail in the ingrown sides of the nail a slender diamond bur like the 747 or the slightly coarser 746 bur at moderate speed will grind the nail while affecting the nearby soft tissue very little.  Another bur that can be used perpendicular to the ingrown nail is a ball shaped diamond bur like the 712-23.  These burs give excellent control of the bur tip so that the user can apply pressure to the bur and keep it against the nail plate.

For moderately thick nails, a coarse diamond bur like the 5894 can be used.  The coarser bur grinds much faster and thins the nail plate quickly and in a very controlled manner.

Another coarse diamond is the cylinder shaped 5840-105 or the smaller 5840-060.  These burs allow debriding closer to the nail’s edges and cuticle as well as under the nail.  

For debridement of dystrophic nails such as thickened mycotic nails, the most efficient bur is made of carbide. The medium-coarse 429X has a straight cutting edge that allows consistent reduction of the nail plate, leaving the nail plate equally thick over its surface.  This is important when a laser treatment follows the debridement or when medication is applied to the nail plate.

Once the user is comfortable with the feel of the 429X carbide bur, an even more aggressive bur like the 429 SGX can be employed.  

A Few Notes:

  • When using a carbide bur, keep the speed medium to high and approach the nail gently. This ensures the bur does not bite into the nail and does not bounce.
  • It may be necessary to smooth the nail surface with a fine diamond bur after reduction with a carbide bur.

Callus removal with different podiatry burs

Bulk callus removal at high rate is best accomplished with a disposable sanding cap bur. These sandpaper caps of medium-grit fit onto the rubber head of the bur.  The largest caps we recommend are 10mm and can be used up to medium speed. They do heat up and thus, require a methodical approach: the user must apply 3 strokes in one callused area and then move onto another area of the foot.  The 5mm and 7mm sanding cap burs can be used on IPK’s and callus lesions with great precision avoiding soft healthy tissue around the callus lesions.  

The sanding cap burs are also excellent for callus reduction around open cracks in the callus since they do not exert a pulling force on the skin, such as what occurs when a scalpel is used on callus around an open fissure.  

If the user likes the sanding cap burs with rounded tips but would prefer a longer lasting bur, then the DT4880 and DT5880 Dia-Twister burs can be employed.  

Other coarse diamond burs like the tapered long cylinder 5404-090 and the coarser CD5405 are also very popular since these burs have a large grinding length and a rounded tip that can reduce callus lesions and IPK’s very efficiently.  

The most aggressive carbide bur is what we call the bristle-bur 32119.  This bur has spines of carbide along a ¾” length with a diameter of 6 mm.  It rips the callus out and the user must maintain control of this bur since it will try to pull into the tissue.  This bur will also treat IPK’s and deep lesions.

European Footcare Supply Bur Display

In summary, it’s important to remember that choosing the right podiatry bur for the job is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Each bur has a different purpose, and of course, personal preference also plays a role when it comes to choosing the right tool for the procedure.

If you have any questions or want to discuss which tools would be right for your practice, please fill out our contact form or give us a call at 1-800-881-2243 and we’ll be happy to help!

 

Click here for recommended bur sterilization practices. 

Why Podiatrists Prefer the Ortho Spray Drill

As a small business owner, I am always interested to speak with my customers and learn what tools they like to use in their podiatry clinics.

Understandably, different doctors have different preferences and habits, and that’s why we carry such a wide selection of podiatry burs and hand instruments. Some podiatrists prefer robust, aggressive tools, and others are more concerned with their weight and feel.

However, one thing that I hear repeatedly from many different podiatrists, is that they utterly swear by the Ortho Spray Drill.

I sat with Robert Bliek, the original founder of European Footcare Supply, who has collected countless reviews from experienced podiatrists over the years. I asked him to tell me more about the Ortho Spray drill and explain why many of our customers prefer it over countless other drills.

Here is what Robert had to say:

Pain-free

The main reason that users like the Ortho Spray drill is that it’s painless. It has an internal reservoir of water and alcohol and it sprays the area that’s being treated, which cools the bur and the patient tissue. Patients are impressed with the quick and pain-free treatment that can be achieved with this drill, says Robert.

Quiet

In comparison with many other drills, particularly vacuum ones, this podiatry drill is virtually noise-free. It doesn’t startle nervous patients and… doesn’t result in a headache for the treating podiatrist at the end of the day.

Good spray consistency & practical handpiece  

The spray consistency of the Ortho Spray drill is better than most competing models, and the handpiece is light and flexible, yet very powerful. Users with smaller hands really like the feel of the balanced handpiece – it gives them pinpoint control of the bur and they become comfortable with more aggressive burs over time.

Convenient to operate

The Ortho Spray drill is ready for work at any time. Most users leave the unit powered-on all day and easily start or stop it with the footswitch. The spray starts automatically when the drill is in operation.

To those who aren’t as comfortable with a spray drill, Robert says that he usually advises to use the handpiece turned upside down, with the spray nozzle below the nosecone. That way, more spray ends up on the treatment area and doesn’t fly over the foot.

Of course, Robert reminds with a smile, the Ortho Spray drill comes with a 2 week money back guarantee; You can try it absolutely risk-free and decide for yourself if this is the right tool for you.

Learn more about the European Footcare Supply drills here.

How to Clean Your Podiatry Vacuum Drill in 5 Steps

A quick checklist for podiatrists using the Micro-Air vacuum drill

One of the greatest benefits of the Micro Air drill is that it has a powerful vacuum collector that evacuates dust hanging in the air. This leaves your clinic cleaner, safer and more pleasant for both you and your patients. Having said that, it’s still important to clean your drill regularly to avoid clogging and get the heavy duty debriding expected from this workhorse of a machine.

Here are a few steps to follow when it’s time to clean your Micro Air drill:

  1. Use a  damp (not wet) cloth and mild cleaning or disinfecting solution (no Cidex-type liquids) to wipe the handpiece and control unit. * The handpiece should never be immersed in liquid.
  2. Remove the bur from the nose cone.
  3. Insert the cleaning bur (provided with the drill) or a pipe cleaner into the nose cone to remove any dust that has accumulated in the chuck. *The nose cone should never be immersed in liquid.
  4. To open the dust bag compartment of your Micro Air drill, turn both black knobs on the drill from 90 to 180 degrees.
  5. Remove the dust bag from the compartment and replace it with a new bag. *Dust bags should be replaced when they are ¾ full.