When I started the dental practice management club, I had one goal: to help my classmates learn about the business side of dentistry so they can transition from an associate dentist to practice owner. This would involve educating them in subjects such as tax strategies, marketing, sales and how to communicate with patients to better identify and serve their needs.
With the aging population of the baby boomers and many dentists retiring, there is a huge need for dental practice owners and an opportunity for younger dentists to rise to the challenge. This will be difficult unless they have a good understanding of how to run a practice well. If practice management is ignored, dentists will not be as successful as they could be and more importantly, many patients will not have access to the care they need.
To help my classmates reach their goals and to help them better serve their communities, I plan to invite a range of speakers, including successful dentists, to go over their experiences and the keys to their successes. I will also invite lawyers and accountants to go over contracts so that we can understand the legal ramifications of buying a practice or signing associate contracts. In addition, I will invite experts in office design and layout so that we can better understand how to plan our offices to create comfortable and inviting buildings. Lastly, I will invite sales and marketing experts to teach us how to acquire new patients and to learn good communications skills.
In addition to speakers, I will be working with different faculty members to better provide oral cancer screenings for the local community. Oral cancer tends to be overlooked by the general population. Many people do not realize that their dentist can detect potentially life-threatening oral pathologies. Patients should have the expectations that their dentist will not only be there to restore damaged or infected teeth, but also to improve their overall health and well-being. Practice management is not only about making money; it is about setting up sustainable systems to better serve our community.
Does your chapter have a practice management club? What sort of activities do you host? Let us know in the comments section.
~ Benjamin Burkitt, Temple ‘15
This article was originally published in the April/May issue of Temple’s chapter newsletter, The Contact Point.