Most successful dentists know that they can’t do it all. With the encroachment of corporate dentistry and PPOs, it sure helps to have Professional Management on your side. Our mission is to support Independent Private Practitioners. We know that for many of you, one of the main reasons that you got into Dentistry was so that you could be independent and create the practice you want to have.
We monitor over $30,000,000 per month of dental activity and seen this way, we are big guys too. However, you, the Doctor, are always the one in control, not the suits. We think that makes all the difference and it is difference for the good.
However, the growth of the large group practices should shake any smart private practitioner out of complacency.
From the Owner’s point of view, DSO’s/large group practices have the following advantages:
1. Group purchasing power. Reduced equipment and supply costs.
2. The ability to, in effect, collectively bargain with insurance companies to get better reimbursement (whereas it’s illegal for you and your colleagues or study club friends to do so).
3. Professional Marketing Resources.
4. Standardization of systems (an advantage vs. no systems but a disadvantage if you want systems that fit for your practice vs. your practice fitting into a system!).
From a Consumer Point of View, Large Group Practices offer the following advantages:
1. Expanded and more convenient hours.
2. Wider PPO network participation.
3. Access and visibility (most of the common multi-location groups are well-located with street leveling parking in high traffic areas.
4. Perceived up-to-date technology.
5. Wide range of services in one entity (less need to go elsewhere for Endo, Ortho, etc.).
So how do you deal with this? Most of you don’t want to work Saturdays, evenings or even Friday afternoons. Most of you don’t want to, and shouldn’t, join every PPO. I am not a purist; some insurance participation is usually necessary but it’s a matter of the right balance for your practice – something I’ve discussed many times elsewhere.
1. Continuity in caregivers. Your patients are more likely to see the same providers from visit to visit. What are the implications of this for you in terms of staff happiness and retention?
2. Truly personalized service. You are not working off approaches dictated by the “suits.” You know your patients and community.
3. The ability to adapt. You can make decisions regarding personnel, technology, services, etc. quickly. You don’t have to wait for a bureaucracy to move!
4. Customized Care: You set your own criteria and standards for treatment. The Doctor decides what’s best.
LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD:
Almost every client I talk to prides themselves on their quality of care, friendliness, individual service and so on. But, if I ask them to really list all of the things that they are doing that make them
truly exceptional, they are often at a loss.
The private pharmacy practice has been all but wiped out; however, there is a big difference between who hands you your pills and who puts their hands in your mouth!
So in order to keep up with the Mega Practices, take a frank look at yours. Better yet, go visit one of those places. Is your practice décor as fresh and shiny as theirs is? Do you have updated exterior signage (where possible)? Does your staff wear the same colored scrubs; in other words, do they look like they are a professional team? Do you personally thank those that have sent you a referral? Does the staff always point out and reinforce the value of the exceptional dentistry you deliver? In other words, always, every patient that gets a crown, filling or whatever is told something to the effect of, “Dr. Murphy does excellent work. It will look good and last for years if you take good care of it. There are lots of things that go into the quality of a restoration to have it look good, last long and feel right.”
Do you have finely tuned Recall, Treatment Presentation, Treatment Follow-Up, and Financial Arrangements systems? Is there good flow (information and patients from front to back and back to front). Is your website personalized and up to date? Are you actively earning and facilitating Google Reviews? (Simply put, Google Reviews are some of the best SEO you can get and no ethical SEO guy can get them for you - you and your team have to get patients to do these). Are you keeping up with your Continuing Ed? How about your team? Are you expanding the services in your office such as implants, ortho, perio and endo?
If one of my three sons became a dentist, for one thing, I would be very proud. If they asked me for advice, the first thing I would tell them wouldn’t be “Hire a management consultant.” It would be, “Take 3 times the Continuing Ed you are supposed to.” Substantial Continuing Education Participation is the #1 factor that I’ve seen that enhances private practitioners’ success.