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Archive for September, 2007

NADP Conference made an excursion to the Experience Music Project.  Touring through some of the history of the Seattle and Northwest music scene provided the backdrop to a fun experience for attendees.  The museum-type exhibits were enhanced by a number of exhibits that provided for an experience with different musical instruments and a little training in vocals. 

After a little “training” with different instruments, several adventurous musicians-in-training tried their hand at a mock’n’roll concert.  “Bands” like the Kaviteez, Floss, and the Sharonites sold out virtual concerts in the EMP’s experiential exhibit.

This is Seattle, so of course the rains came and soaked a few of the attendees as they returned to their hotels.  All-in-all, the night was fun for everyone in attendance.

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This morning’s peer to peer breakfast was very well attended for such an early start.  Discussions on the dental/medical connection, technology, small business marketing, dental benefits ROI, universal healthcare, provider networks, discount dental , children’s oral health, retirement market and working with brokers were fruitful in the ideas generated.

A big issue permeating many of the discussions was the management of provider networks.  The complexity of credentialing providers and maintaining systems to accomodate accuracy in networks spans across a number of functions within the dental plans including impacts on the auto-adjudication of claims, difficulty consumers have negotiating loosely accurate provider directories, and timely credentialing.

Other issues addressed included the need to utilize product and pricing segmentation in retirement markets, education of the various audiences of the dental benefits industry about the value of dental benefits, the use of discount dental products to address the needs of the dentally underserved market and better collaboration between public and private payers to provide more access for the care of childrens’ oral health.

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One might not put the words entertaining and research statistics in the same sentence, but the break-out session covering NADP’s research offerings and activities was both fun and informative.  Modeled after the game shows Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?, Jerry Berggren, playing the part of Regis Philbin, guided the audience and the victim contestant through a series of progressively more difficult questions about NADP’s research reports and activities.

The session was held twice, on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.  Experts Karen Gustin and Darrin Hall were on hand to assist the contestants in their quest for the grand prize.  Jennifer Erb of DenteMax, Gary Pickard of Pacific Dental Services, and NADP’s own Kris Hathaway ALMOST made it through the series of questions, but Kim Sheldrake of United Healthcare successfully waded through the arcane and odd research questions posed to her through the course of the game to win the grand prize, a collection of promotional items from the NADP Conference exhibitors.

Attendees appreciated the innovative format and plans are in place to make the show a regular feature on cable public access channels across the country. 🙂

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Once you’ve had your fill of the Farmer’s Market, pick up a coffee or a bowl of suro to-go, and walk north 10 minutes to the Olympic Sculpture Garden.

This free, outdoor venue is relatively new– and offers a 30-45 minute opportunity to enjoy both art and fresh air. There are plenty of places to sit and take in the view.

Even if you don’t make it to the Olympic Sculpture Garden, look around as you walk the blocks close to the hotel– art abounds in public spaces on each and every block (even the base on some of the cross walk signs is ornate…).

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Most people think Nordstrom started in San Francisco. Not so.

At 6th and Pike you’ll the Nordie’s Flagship store– and, of course, you’ll also find service that is second to none.

Even if you’re not buying, walking the store and watching the way staff interact with guests will remind you of the great impact that good service can have on customer perceptions of a brand.

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Seattle and coffee go hand in hand. In this land of “a Starbuck’s on every corner”, we asked some locals where the very BEST Seattle coffee could be found. Hands down, they said it’s at Cafe Vivace.

Located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of downtown Seattle, Cafe Vivace is reputed to have some of the best espresso in the world (yes, that includes Italy–!).

Cafe Vivace is about a 15 minute walk from the Sheraton (ask the concierge for a walking map and directions). They are open into the evening so head there tonight (it’s near this evening’s group dinner location), or try this cafe tomorrow morning to jump start your day. The link below provides more information on this special place.

http://www.espressovivace.com/

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Take Pine St. toward the water. You’ll know you’re going the right way if the numbered streets you cross (the Sheraton is at 6th) are getting smaller (5th, 4th, etc.).

Pine St. is a less touristy option than Pike  St. for walking down to the waterfront– and it appears to have fewer panhandlers.

Wear comfortable shoes (the walk back to the hotel is just 5 minutes– but it’s uphill).

While at the market, look for “pluots”– a unique fruit that is a plum/apricot hybrid. Ask the fruit vendors to choose one for you (they’ll even wash it so you can eat it while you shop).

The bargain of the day is the $5 bouquet (this price includes sales tax). It includes lillies and comes in different, bold color schemes. Why not have some fresh flowers in your hotel room this week?

–And, of course, you have to check out the famous fish throwers that founded the FISH! management approach. One of the four tenets of this management philosophy is to “have fun” as you work– a great approach to experiencing the NADP conference.

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