So what’s the meaning of this latest -ism? It’s a term that I’ve seen in the news a great deal lately, and its meaning changes with the circumstances.

For example, software that is platform agnostic runs on any operating system. On the other hand, audiences who are platform agnostic will watch their favorite television shows or movies on anything from an IMAX movie screen to an iPod. In short, platform agnosticism is an emphasis on the content rather than the container, the triumph of logic over logistics.

What does all of this have to do with the everyday working life of an orthodontist? I think it applies in both the marketing and clinical arenas.

A number of orthodontists I know are already practicing platform-agnostic marketing. Rather than placing the same yellow pages ad they’ve had since the Carter administration and counting on the patients to come to them, they are taking a strong, distilled marketing message to where the patients are: on the Internet, on cell phones, in schools, at the local swimming pool. To these adaptable small business owners, the “what” matters much more than the “where.”

On the clinical side, a better term for what I mean might be “appliance agnosticism.” Every issue of this magazine contains articles that tout the clinical efficacy and efficiency of this or that appliance. But to me, the point of these articles is not to say, “This is how you should treat all your cases,” but rather, “This was the best way I found to treat this case.” The appliance-agnostic orthodontist is the one who is guided not by a clinical method that feels comfortable, but by the requirements of each individual case.

Read this week's Newsbites

We here at Orthodontic Products are continuing our own mission to become platform-agnostic. Last year we radically expanded our Web presence, and last month we launched Newsbites, our weekly e-newsletter. If a print issue of the magazine is a hearty dinner, Newsbites is the appetizer tray, full of tidbits of information that I hope you will grab and devour. If you haven’t checked it out yet, all you have to do is click here, or you can [removed]subscribe here[/removed].

I hope you enjoy it, and if you have an idea for how we can make it better, please give me a call. Or send me an e-mail. Or fax me. Or send a messenger pigeon. When it comes to reader feedback, I’m platform agnostic.

Christopher Piehler