If you follow this blog and have read The Super General Dental Practice (free at www.supergeneralpractice.com), you will know I feel strongly that no one wants or needs another average practice. You will also recall that multi-doctor offices are growing at 20% per year while solo practices are diminishing at about 7% a year. If you take a moment and look at the facts, you too will come to the logical conclusion of what a successful dental practice will look like in the future. As review and a reminder of what you have heard me say, I see the successful dental practices of the future having many of these characteristics in play.
- 6-8 Ops.
- Multiple doctors with 2 x the hygiene hours as doctor’s hours (Example: 2 doctors with 4 full time hygienists).
- Expanded Hours/Peak Demand Times: This will include all day Fridays and at least half a day to full day Saturdays).
- Wider range of services on a wider age of patients: From kids to the elderly and fillings to implants and orthodontics all in the same practice. The successful offices over the next 10 years will refer very few patients to specialists.
- Embrace change because it is a constant. Embracing means always monitoring and quickly acting to adapt to this consistent change in the new dental economy.
- Knows the KPIs by using them to make decisions. Please reread chapters 16-18 in the Super General Dental Practice book. These KPIs and overhead benchmarks are not the traditional numbers that every Tom, Dick, and Harriette consultant is telling you to look at. Read chapter 7 also: Stop thinking like a dentist. The successful practices of the future will not be “sheeple” with a herd mentality. They will embrace common sense systems and protocols and move away from common place strategies.
- Embraces Consumerism: The potential client, location, services, insurance and demographics. Read chapter 25 about how patients pick a dentist.
- One stop shop: All services and all ages.
- Consitent marketing with at least 40-60 new patients per full-time doctor or about 25-30 new patients per full time hygienist.
- A direct referral (from happy patients) percentage at or above 50% of the new patients you see.
- Accounts receivable of only an average of two weeks production with none of your accounts being over 90 days old.
- The successful practice will become “remarkable” in the eyes of potential clients. A distant comparison with the “average” practice where few have differentiated themselves in this consumer driven small business where patients decide what and with whom they will buy services and products.
- The successful doctors will chase all of the fee for service patients they can find, while becoming a Tarzan in a managed care jungle. They realize that the average patient will want and need to use their insurance to afford our services. The realization that price, for all of us, will have a strong effect on our patient’s choices of treatment may be the first step to seeing a successful practice.
If you follow my train of thought, many if not all dentists will need to understand and become skilled at consistent growth and how to scale that growth through increased numbers of doctors and hygienists. I would like to take the next month or so and spend some time on the when, what, where, and how of staging and bringing on another dentist. We will take it from the numbers you need to reach before doing this as well as where to look, what to look out for, and how to onboard and grow with multiple doctors. If you know a new graduate or a dental school student, make sure you pass these along because successful associateships and partnerships need both the owner and the new doctor on the same page to pull this off. This is how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy, DDS