Business Help Allows Dentist to Focus on Patient Care
Spear Education’s Spear Practice Solutions helps keep business goals on track
Alicia Abeyta, DDS
For the first 3 years of her career, Alicia Abeyta, DDS, was uncertain of whether she had chosen the right profession. Working in public health, she was seeing three patients per hour—regardless of whether they needed quick direct restorations or complex surgeries. "I did not enjoy practicing that way," Abeyta says. "When I decided to make the transition to private practice, I was determined to figure out a way to enjoy dentistry. I wanted to have conversations with patients, treatment plan cases, and execute them well."
Abeyta achieved this with a solo, fee-for-service practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico. "My primary focus is on delivering excellent customer service and giving patients the time to be heard and myself the time to provide the kind of treatment that I would want to receive. Most patients I see are frustrated with the hamster wheel of healthcare; they are looking for more of a connection to understand how their mouths relate to their bodies and how they can be more preventive minded to find out the ‘why' and avoid future problems."
Abeyta is able to devote most of her time and energy to patient care because she works with Spear Practice Solutions from Spear Education. Spear Practice Solutions' patented system combines top-tier education with powerful analytics and personalized solutions to help dentists reach their practice goals. Practices working with Spear Practice Solutions are aligned under one shared vision: to help their teams pursue great dentistry. Each practice works with a Practice Growth Partner for ongoing coaching, regular check-ins, and industry-renowned guidance. They receive data-driven insights delivered in real-time, as well as proven growth strategies and direct access to interactive workshops.
Abeyta meets monthly with her Practice Growth Partner to go over the statistics that the Spear platform has tracked, which range from daily production to hygiene scheduling, collections, new patient trends, and more. "We look at a snapshot on the screen," Abeyta says, "and it allows each member of the team to understand their impact on the practice based on those metrics." When certain trends are identified, the dental team analyzes them with the Practice Growth Partner. "Sometimes, we might notice higher production on certain days, so we will discuss what makes us successful on those days and how we can implement that on other days," Abeyta says. "If we observe new patient volume declining over 90 days, we discuss why that might be happening, and strategize about how to reverse that trend."
On a weekly basis, Abeyta buys lunch for her team, and they follow up on goals that were established with the Practice Growth Partner, often with a video or worksheet. "I always remind people that even Michael Jordan had coaches," Abeyta says. "You can be an amazing dentist, but you still need a coach. You still need someone on the sidelines looking in. Corporate dentistry implements so many numbers-based changes and initiatives, but for an independent practice, treating patients while also tracking and analyzing all those metrics is a challenge to do on your own. Spear Practice Solutions is our coach."
Beyond Spear Practice Solutions, Abeyta estimates she has taken approximately 90% of the courses that Spear Education offers. "I love continuing to learn," she says. "It keeps me excited about dentistry. When you are learning new things, you can offer more services and be more helpful to patients."
Abeyta first met Frank Spear, DDS, MSD, in 2011 after a fellow member of one of her local study clubs suggested that the group attend one of Spear's new seminars in Arizona. They watched some of Spear's videos and engaged in some of his online curriculum before finally attending a course in person. "I was hooked after that," Abeyta says. "I could not stop. Frank made challenging and complex cases simple to understand, and he did it in a nonintimidating way. Some of the other leading study clubs seemed really confusing to me. Frank Spear had a way of making everything clear."
Some of Abeyta's favorite topics at Spear Education have included airway dentistry, temporomandibular joint disorders, occlusion, complex cases, and digital dentistry. "All of that is really interrelated," she says. When Soroush Zaghi, MD, a sleep surgeon from the Breathe Institute in Los Angeles, California, lectured for Spear Education, Abeyta introduced herself to him after the conference and requested to visit his office to learn there. "Spear Education helps us create those relationships and learn beyond our own scope of practice so that we can work with other healthcare professionals to really integrate healthcare," she says.
Abeyta even sometimes repeats Spear Education courses to learn from an updated perspective. "So much information is presented in these courses," she says. "You can return with a different set of eyes, sometimes after implementing certain procedures or protocols, and then you might notice something different. Spear Education promotes a continuous learning process."
With the help of Spear Education and Spear Practice Solutions, Abeyta is able to enjoy dentistry the way she had wanted to when she left public health to open her own practice. "They really want to help promote private practices," she says. "With healthcare becoming increasingly corporate, we often lose that personal touch. The remaining private practitioners like myself tend to encounter more challenges such as higher costs. Spear helps us overcome those challenges. They are really helping to preserve independent dentistry."
•Spear Practice Solutions aligns a practice under one shared vision: to help the team pursue great dentistry.
•The Practice Growth Partner provides ongoing coaching, regular check-ins, and industry-renowned guidance.
•Analytics and insights, growth strategies, and interactive workshops are some of the other benefits.
•Spear Education offers approximately 200 online courses on various topics.