3 Tips for Evaluating the Right Dental Practice Structure
By Bill Ryan, Dental Strategy Consultant
Most dentists are (or should be) constantly evaluating the clinical and business aspects of their practice in order to assure that they are taking maximum advantage of the trending environment within which they practice. To stay the same is to perish. One aspect of that evaluation must include how they will compete, and what dental structure they will use to achieve maximum success for themselves and their patients.
That’s why a session at AO’s 2017 Annual Meeting, being held March 15-18 in Orlando, Fla., will be dedicated to the SWOT analysis of implant dental care delivery models.
Real-world dentists—Drs. Donald Clem, Quinn Dufurrena and Steven Lewis—will participate in the session, providing the audience with a framework to help them determine which delivery structure or model will best help them achieve their personal and professional goals. They will share the experiences and thought processes that have led them to the dental structure they operate within, and will provide insights into how they deal with the other structures.
Specifically, the three dental structures represented in this program, and which will be evaluated and compared in our session, are:
(1) A very successful, doctor owned and operated referral based Periodontal Specialty practice.
(2) A successful Prosthodontist, operating as part of a multi-specialty Total Care Provider implant only treatment team, operating under one roof, but which is managed in a corporate environment.
(3) A successful dental/business executive that has been involved in working with and helping to build dental businesses that provide most or all dental services through clinician employees/partners via hundreds of locations spread throughout the country, and which typically consolidate the non-clinical aspects of dentistry to maximize economies of scale.
Every dentist, whether generalist or specialist, will fall into one of the structures described above, and each will, without question, be impacted by these groups, as a participant or competitor. This session is also important for dental students and anyone who plans to enter the dental field in the future, as they will be faced with a choice of how to enter the dental field, and later, whether to stay in the structure they first selected. This decision has an impact on income, quality of life, and in the minds of some, even the quality of care that is given to patients.
We are not at the beginning of these trends, and every practitioner is already impacted. Each dentist will unquestionably be faced with the question of (1) whether to move to another structure and why, and (2) how to compete successfully with the other structures. It may never be to late to change from one group to the other, but the costs and consequences of such change will continue to grow as time goes on.
Here are three tips in advance of the session to get you thinking:
(1) Talk to colleagues who have moved from one structure to another. They are in the best position to share the joys and pain of each structure, especially if you can get them to share why they changed, and whether or not they achieved the objectives of the change.
(2) Know Thyself: The clinical/business skills and personality of the dentist will absolutely determine the dentist’s compatibility and chance for success in each structure. If, for example, a dentist does not want to “sell or market” his services (even if we call it patient education), then that dentist can almost never succeed in a traditional referral private practice, and should consider a structure where such is not as important.
(3) Lastly, when everyone else is looking at a trend as a threat, usually some can find a way to turn it into an opportunity. This can happen only if you do a SWOT analysis for yourself, even if you must get help to do it the first time.