Why the dental seal is the new digital signature of Canada
By Simon McBroom and Paul LaughlinPublished May 08, 2018 05:18:07For most Canadians, the concept of a digital signature is a familiar one: a simple, yet powerful, way to identify your property and get it fixed.
But for the dental community, the seal has been largely overlooked for a variety of reasons.
In a recent survey by Dent-Aid, only 14% of respondents reported using the digital signature on a toothbrush or other dental equipment, and only 4% used the seal on a nail or other piece of dental equipment.
The rest said they didn’t have one.
For Dent-aid, the reason why is simple: a digital seal is so hard to forge that it’s impossible to create an image digitally, even with a sophisticated scanner.
“It’s like the digital fingerprint,” says Dent- Aid’s director of business development, Daniel Schall.
“You can’t really tell the difference between a digital fingerprint and a digital photograph.”
Dent-Aid also noted that many dental seal users do not have the digital literacy necessary to be able to accurately identify dental work with their digital signature.
“They don’t understand what digital is,” Schall says.
“The digital signature has no meaning, because it’s not a physical item.
It’s not even a letter or a number.
It is digital.”
Digital seals aren’t just for the digital world, either.
In 2014, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission launched an investigation into dental seal usage, citing a number of issues including lack of proper information and inaccurate information, poor privacy and breach of fiduciary duty.
According to Dent-Aide, many of the issues with digital seal use can be avoided if people are educated and educated well.
DentAid has a team of digital seal users in Vancouver who are actively looking to educate consumers about the digital seal, and are partnering with other companies to create educational videos, podcasts and digital resources.
“If people are not educated, they will not be using the seal,” says Schall, adding that dentists are also using the seals as a tool to educate patients about their dental health.
“You don’t have to go to a dentist and tell them what to do,” SchALL says.
“People can use a digital certificate or a digital sign-up sheet to get started.
It doesn’t have a lot of value for them.
It will only help them if they have the information and the education.”
To get started, Dent- Aide’s digital seal program has created educational podcasts for dental students and dentists.
The videos and podcasts have also been developed to be used as a resource for the general public, including online and print materials.
The company is also looking to launch a mobile application for dentists to use for digital seal purposes.
“There are so many different uses for digital seals,” says the company’s digital services director, Lisa Moseley.
“They’re really useful to dentists and patients, but also dentists can use them as a digital tool for their clients.”
Schall says that the seal could eventually be a digital form of identification for many different services, including: dental, medical, nursing, social, educational and social assistance.
Schall notes that dentistry has long been a source of digital revenue for the sector.
He says that for many dental patients, the digital seals are a key way to make a dent.
“Digital seal has become so integral to the dental industry, it’s just part of the day-to-day business,” he says.
For more information, visit Dent-Answers.ca or contact Dent-Advance at (613) 558-8888.
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