Inside Dentistry
November 2011
Volume 7, Issue 10

Study Clubs and the Practice Management Perspective

According to the Levin Group Data Center™, 64% of dentists are in solo practice, therefore, participating in a dental study club provides an ideal way to come together to share information, as well as to improve their skill set, whether it’s practice management or clinical practice success.

“Study clubs are typically about knowledge and improvement,” notes Roger Levin, DDS, chairman and CEO of Levin Group, Inc. He explains that study clubs are outstanding forums for learning practice management strategies because they allow dentists the opportunity to compare to each other to get a sense of how they’re doing, what can be done, and what others are doing. “Comparison is the key word because dentists get very little chance to compare themselves,” Levin says. “There are no industry standards in dentistry where you can see how you’re doing based on outside analysts giving feedback, percentages, and statistics.”

Additionally, dentists can participate in a study club for specific information relative to their situation. “You can have much more detailed conversations and interaction with your audience,” Levin observes. “When I present to study clubs, I present on increasing production, practice systems implementation, and internal marketing, which is successful about 99% of the time.”

Because dental study clubs typically address a range of topics based on membership interests, to the best of Levin’s knowledge, none are exclusively dedicated to practice management. Rather, they usually include some practice management topics each year. He says that topics may range from about 80% clinical to 20% management because they’re better at implementing the clinical if they have the management systems to help do it properly.

This month, the Levin Group will launch the first study club dedicated only to practice achievement called the Total Success Network. The introduction of the entire series focuses on getting doctors to think like CEOs, and it includes top programming and information, as well as educators presenting a continuum on the topic, Levin explains.

“It’s not just a one-hour or one-day seminar, but a yearlong build-on,” Levin explains. “One great thing about study clubs is that dentists have the opportunity to absorb information and make changes, go back again and learn more, then make more changes. The cycle continues.”

To maximize the study club experience, Levin advises dentists to clarify for themselves what they want from participation and determine the knowledge they need. Then they should determine where they’re willing to go, keeping in mind that local study clubs—while convenient—may not benefit them the most.

From a practice management perspective, study clubs themselves can help dentists improve by undertaking a few activities, Levin suggests. For example, they can anonymously collect statistics from all the members and publish them each year so they can see where they stand in key areas, such as production (number of chairs, number of no-shows), profit, overhead (number of staff, marketing), and gross revenue over the last three years.

“These are some of the critical elements of comparing yourself to other practices, but you can’t know how you stand if you have nobody to compare to,” Levin says. “Dental study clubs have an opportunity to help dentists identify their practice’s strengths and weaknesses and grow from there.”

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