The best email program for your practice

 

By now you've probably heard of gmail right?  Perhaps you use it for a personal email account.  Did you know you can use it for your practice email with your domain name (drg@dentist.com)?  Google Apps allows you to set up email with your current domain name, and blows just about every email solution out of the water.  Another plus?  IT'S FREE!  Read on to learn more. Or cut to the chase and watch the video at the bottom :)

If you are like most Dentists, you have one of the following email configurations:

  • yahoo, gmail, aol, etc... personal email account.  Example: drsmith@yahoo.com
    • Good: Free, functional.
    • Bad: having @yahoo or @aol after your name is unprofessional. As a business you know that image is everything.
  • Email account bundled with your website hosting. Example: godaddy email
    • Bad: Space restrictions are incredibly small unless you are shelling out serious cash.
    • Bad: Some of these email configurations do not work with smart phones.
  • Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express
    • Good: Allows you to use a calendar, often sync with your smartphone.
    • Bad: Everything is tied to the computer running Outlook. You can’t see the same interface from another computer (unless you install Outlook there too)

Enter gmail for Google Apps.  The features amaze me, especially considering the price tag (Did I mention free?).

If you have used the gmail interface, chances are you love it.  If you have not, here are some key features:

  • Grouped conversations: When you email back and forth with someone 20 times, gmail groups these all together under 1 conversation, much like some phones do with text messaging. It is much easier than hunting through your email box.
  • Search: finding email in your gmail inbox is a breeze. Gmail uses a google search engine so searches are fast and accurate.
  • Offline Gmail: Going to be away from internet for awhile?  With offline mode you can download your messages and work on them offline until you get connected again.
  • Storage space: 7 GB per mailbox (That’s 7000 MB, most email providers like Godaddy are between 10 and 100 MB. Huge difference!)
  • Google calendar: For each email account you set up (dr@dentist.com, lab@dentist.com, etc..) you get a corresponding calendar.  You also have the option of sharing your calendar with each other.
  • Google chat: Use this instant messaging throughout your office. Use it to contact tech support when email and phone are not ideal.
  • Google docs: Think Microsoft Office online. You can store word, excel, powerpoint, pdf documents online so you can always access and edit them.
  • Google sites: Create site for staff with updates, agendas, etc…Very easy and effective
  • ALL WEB BASED: Every part of gmail for Google Apps is web based, which means no matter where you are you can access the same email list, same calendar, same everything. 
  • Easy to set up with smart phones: gmail works seamlessly with smart phones. If you have an android based phone, these two were built to work together, literally. 

Ok fine, gmail is the obvious choice for email.  What does it take to set it up?  It's easiest if your IT or website personnel do it but here are the steps.

  • You must have your own domain name (www.dentist.com). If not you can buy one from godaddy, google, or many other domain registrars. Generally about $10/year
  • Go to the Google Apps signup page.  Indicate that you are an administrator of your domain and enter your domain name.
  • Fill out the resulting page with your information
  • Create an administrator account (try not to forget this password)
  • Your Google Apps account has been created.  Now you must follow the steps with your domain registrar to confirm that you own the domain.
  • Lastly you will need to update the appropriate records through your domain registrar (often the company who hosts your website) to start using Google Apps.  Instructions here

We use and love Google Apps.  If you have any questions or would like to get set up with gmail please don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

Google Apps video produced by google (Somewhat outdated, storage was 2GB at the release of the video.

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Comments on The best email program for your practice

Mark S. said, on Sun, February 08, 2015

Inform the doctor that by using Gmail, he’s allowed advertisers to build complete and highly detailed profiles of his individual patients.  Now Google (and the companies they sold the data to) have access to much of the following information about each patient:  Full name (Google claims to remove such identifiers, but entities who purchase these profiles from Google automatically re-link all private identifiers. It’s easy to do.) 
Time/dates/provider locations and types of procedures performed. Medications prescribed.  Age/Gender/Mailing Address/E-Mail address and sometimes social security numbers.  General state of health (mental/physical, etc.). Where the patient can be located/apprehended at any given time (especially if the patient also uses Gmail or Google Maps, or any other Google product.  They’re all linked).

Google ALSO knows literally EVERYTHING about the doctor, including family member’s info, general income, home address, physical/mental health status (based upon what type of doctors he visits and whether those doctors also use Gmail, buying habits, recent purchases, who his friends and associates are, where he attended school and how well he did, his political affiliations, the likelihood that he is having an extra-marital affair, whether he has firearms in his house, his sexual orientation, etc., etc., etc.  Every word that’s been entered into Gmail at his home or office, by him, his staff or his family, has been recorded and applied to Google’s knowledge base. Google makes a big noise about the fact that no Google employee touches the data they gather, but what they don’t tell you is that the REASON they don’t use humans to compile/process/refine and file the info is because machines are smarter and quicker at it than any group of humans could ever be.  The data, however, is definitely SOLD to humans who DO look at the data.  That’s where Google makes the money. If the doctor thinks I’m making this up, then ask this:  “Why is Gmail free?”  What does Google get out of the deal?  WHY does Google want you to use their products and why do they continue to grow and add new programs and features???  What exactly has Google been sued for over and over for the last 5-10 years?  Look it up!  If the doctor BELIEVES us when we tell him the facts about Google’s compilation and misuse of our private, sensitive data, but STILL INSISTS ON USING GMAIL TO SEND PHI, then we must ask the doctor how he can possibly justify giving all this patient information to advertisers!  Is he just too lazy or selfish to take simple steps to protect the privacy of those who put their health and trust into his hands?  Does he lack morality and strength of character?  What will it take to get him to CARE?  Will it really take class action lawsuits and the loss of his business?  It is very clear to me that Google uses every trick in the book to disguise their goals and motives.  Their “services” only appear to serve the customer.  They utilize the most elusive and manipulative documentation and marketing techniques I’ve ever seen, and these techniques have successfully and effectively compromised the privacy of every Gmail user on the planet.

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