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Dr. Miller and Dr. George Interview on KELO Radio – Continuing Education

Bill Zortman:  Dr. Lou George, Dr. Denis Miller, Siouxland Oral Surgery. Gentleman, good morning.

Dr. Denis Miller: Good morning, Bill.

Dr. Lou George: Good morning, Bill.

Bill Zortman: You guys have put together something that’s special in this particular area and that’s your study group, the referral dentists that you have. And you’ve actually been more than just Sioux Falls for a long period of time.

Dr. Denis Miller: Well, with regards to the study club, we’ve got a great draw area from the regions of Mitchell, even Huron, Yankton, Brookings, and then around Iowa River Valley area on the border. And we’ve been doing that probably since about 2002/2004, I think, and then we opened up a satellite offices or outreach offices, we call them, again Mitchell, Yankton and Brookings, and we’ve kind of combined that with our study group, the people that we work with, so we can deliver the best care that we can to the patients from a continuing education standpoint by bringing in speakers, either locally, regionally, or nationally, and then delivering care. When you have a surgery, it’s a lot better, I think, to have the surgery done locally because then once you’re done, your driver, your family, drives you home. And it’s a quick, a lot of times 10-/15-minute drive versus let’s say you’re from Mitchell. Well, you foresee a drive to Sioux Falls — hour, hour and a half — then when you’re done, it’s another hour and a half drive home, and you get the swaying in the car, and if you’ve been sedated, you can get sick. So that’s just part of everything we do; we try and take care of the people that we work with, our referral base, and offer continuing education and learn together but more importantly for our patients. We invested heavily in our outreach clinics to make them modern and clean and nice and every bit as good as the one we have in Sioux Falls so that we can take care of our patients in these outlying clinics as well.

Bill Zortman: Plus the dentists in these communities are learning by being with others that maybe they wouldn’t have come together for.

Dr. Lou George: Yes, that’s very true, Bill. We’re very fortunate to have such a broad base of referrals and referring docs that it’s always good when we can get people from different communities, say from Yankton or Mitchell or Brookings, together with our Sioux Falls group or perhaps Nebraska or Iowa groups because then they can learn from each other and kind of learn what we’re putting out there and presenting as the national standard of care, and they take that back to their own practices where they might not have heard that until they got out and got around and intermingled with each other. And like Denis said, when it comes to the patients, it’s really important; we really like to stress our outreach and satellite offices because rather than making them come to us in Sioux Falls, we don’t mind going out there to them and making their surgical ordeal smaller in the fact that they don’t have a big drive on top of it. They can just go home, say two/three blocks away. It’s always very flattering when we go to these satellite offices, and we have folks from other states who have referred to us and bypassed oral surgeons in their own states just to come and see us. That humbles both Denis and I quite a bit, and we always want to maintain that perfect reputation.

Dr. Denis Miller: Yeah, I’d like to add one more thing onto that is that the smaller communities that we’re at, they’re small urban centers, but you see more of the rural community there, where Sioux Falls being a bigger urban center, you see less of the urban community. And a lot of times, the expectations for reconstruction and surgery from those two communities are different; it would actually be three communities — there’s an inner-city community here in Sioux Falls as well — and the reason why I mention that is when it comes to standard of care, patients deserve to hear all their options. So, from a surgery perspective, oral surgeons are equipped by training to give patients all of their options. So, let’s take dental implants for example: if you’re in a community where you don’t have a lot of options, you might be given one way of doing a dental implant with one way of doing a bone graft, and if you’re in an urban community with oral surgeons, you’ll get more options. We bring that to the smaller communities, so patients can make good decisions on the care that they receive because we can offer them more surgical options. They might not choose one versus another, but at least they had the opportunity to discuss and get educated so they can make proper decisions.

Dr. Lou George: That’s right.

Bill Zortman: I had a chance to mingle with some of these at one of your events this last fall, where they were actually hanging on every word, even yours.

Dr. Denis Miller: Yeah, I’m not the greatest speaker in the world.

Bill Zortman: But they were hanging because they were with other people that are in the dental community. It was like going back to school, going back to a group that you have respect for, and it’s like this is valuable time that was spent together, and you made sure they felt that they had come to a place that really cares about them.

Dr. Denis Miller: It’s like a class reunion.

Dr. Lou George: That’s very important. Denis and I are very big on making everyone part of the group. We always function better when there’s more eyes looking at something and more ideas being thrown together, so this has always been about building each other up and teaching each other new things, so that we can ultimately better service our patients. And so, we found this approach has worked very well throughout the years, and it’s never been working better than it is right now. We’re just very fortunate to have such a wonderful referral base and the great number of patients we have who are usually very open-minded and eager to get treatment.

Bill Zortman: One thing that I see with a lot of people in business is that they consider if it’s not Sioux Falls, it doesn’t matter. What I’m hearing from you guys, when you start adding up all these communities that are out there, it’s bigger than Sioux Falls, and you have a lot of people that are out there, we know that you’re going to take care of them in Sioux Falls because we hear that every day, but the fact that you guys have reached out, they are reaching back and are providing better care is impressive.

Dr. Denis Miller: Yeah, I think it’s a two-way street. We come out to the outlying communities, and we meet with our referral base there, and in many instances, they come back to Sioux Falls for some of their continuing education and meet with our study session or study club. And going back to the earlier statement, rural versus urban, then our community of dentists, they talk to each other and talk about the things that they see in their practices — what works in their practice, what doesn’t work, what works for their population, what doesn’t work. It’s all about exchanging ideas — what works, what doesn’t, and what’s good for the patient.

Bill Zortman: Just time to let you guys talk about this because I think a lot of times, we do not point out the Siouxland Oral Surgery difference. Okay? You guys are both different; you can’t take the same one. So, you get to pick first.

Dr. Denis Miller: Why is Siouxland Oral Surgery different? I would say, for me, the one thing that I would pick on would be continuing education. I think that there’s a general trend for a lot of people because we’re all on five-year cycles for getting our licenses renewed, and we need to have a certain amount of continuing education. I think it’s human nature for a lot of people to just have a small amount of continuing ed here and a little bit there, and then, oh my gosh, it’s five years; I’ve got to get a whole bunch, and I think our difference is, we’re not doing that all in one chunk. We’re going through continuing education pretty well every month, so if you add it up, in the dental community, you need 100 hours every five years plus 25 hours of anesthesia, and you have to do that all in about five years. We typically get around 30-something plus every year, and we also go to our national meetings as well, so we always exceed that. So, I think that’s our difference; we’re always continuously on top of that kind of stuff rather than trying to, for a lack of a better term, do crash studying before a big exam. We’re more the type of people, I think, that we’re just continuously trying to learn.

Bill Zortman: Alright, you can’t take the same one, Dr. George.

Dr. Lou George: Okay I’ll have to throw that away then.

Bill Zortman: Just throw it away.

Dr. Denis Miller: I took the easy one.

Dr. Lou George: No, I definitely agree with Dr. Miller there. If I had to pick, I would say individual attention. That’s something that I’ve always been very big on. When I came here, fortunate enough to join Siouxland back in 2007, they had already had that model in place, and so I was able to jump in with that and help it even grow. So, what I mean by that is we have the large staff that we do so that all of our patients’ needs can be met on an individual manner. The last thing that we would ever want to be accused of is brushing over what is important to our patients. So many times in large medical practices or large surgical offices, patients can be brought through, barely have any time with their doctor, and then they’re gone, treatment rendered, and it’s that type of relationship. We really like to spend time talking with our patients; a lot of times we see patients for only one or two visits, but in that time period, I want them — and so does Denis — to know that they know who we are, we know who they are, and they can always feel comfortable talking with us about any concerns or questions that come up. Seeing how we have a very short window to establish that relationship right when we meet the patient, it’s very important that they can see that we’re very genuine and very authentic about our approach of individual attention and individual care. So, to me, that would be something that I feel we really set or helped set the bar for.

Bill Zortman: And how do they get started?

Dr. Denis Miller: Well, we can be reached through our website at siouxlandoralsurgery.com or give us a call: (605) 335-1080.

Bill Zortman: Siouxland Oral Surgery, Dr. Lou George, Dr. Denis Miller, thanks for the visit.

Dr. Lou George: Thank you, Bill.

Dr. Denis Miller: Thanks, Bill.