As we round up our third part of what it takes to survive as an independent practice, we arrive at a prediction. We mentioned it earlier but it bears repeating.
The Left Behind Prediction
The dentists that are most invested in the old solo practice model will be the last to change. This means that mainstream dentistry and dental practices are at the greatest risk. Already we are seeing a 20% growth in multi-dentist practices each year and a decrease of 7% a year for solo practices. Consumers are demanding a “one stop shop” where their kids, parents, and grandparents can have a wide range of services performed during consumer friendly, convenient hours. Insurance is not going away and patients will continue to seek lower prices.
Here is what the practices of tomorrow will look like.
- 6-8 Ops: We will need to assure that we are not held back by physical capacity blockages.
- Multiple doctors with twice the number of hygiene hours as doctor’s hours: This has always been a great formula for profitability and will remain so in the future. We need the multiple doctors to diminish overhead and to provide services for consumerism hours.
- Expanded hours: Monday through Saturday has already become the standard that consumers look for. Peak demand times of 7AM-9AM, 3PM-6PM and Saturdays will be the schedule that these practices will embrace and patients will demand.
- A wider range of services on a wider age of patients: Common sense dictates that we try to give patients more of what they want and less of what they don’t want. Don’t continue to make the mistake of thinking that patients want what you have to sell. We will continue to be a small, consumer driven business where the patient decides where they will purchase their goods and services and what they are willing to pay for them.
- They will embrace change by adapting to consumerism while guarding our core tenets: Dentistry has continued to change and morph at an ever-increasing pace. While change is inevitable, we must guard our core beliefs. Things like integrity, meeting the patient’s needs, continually upgrading our clinical competence, and understanding that dentistry is all about relationships.
- They will know their key practice numbers and act on them when making business decisions: Gone is the past of just coasting. We have to be proactive by becoming competent leaders in our businesses.
- We will embrace consumerism: I am sure what we consider consumerism today will change in the future. Becoming proactive while responding to these changes quickly will be the key to success.
- The independent practices and doctors will finally become accountable for every aspect of their practices and lives: You have heard me say this before. Accountability means answering for your actions and results every day, regardless of the noise that might surround your performance. The bottom line is that accountability means letting your actions rise above your excuses. Once you lose your excuses you will find your results.
This is how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy, DDS
PS. Ever wonder why I sign off these articles with my personal email and personal cell number? I want you to reach out, call, start a dialogue and consider what you can do now to grow and preserve your financial future. There is a way and it begins with a call and a frank discussion of where you are and where you want to be. That is how you Summit.