What Your Clients Are Reading
Understand dentists’ needs by learning about their business challenges
Many of the forces impacting dental laboratory businesses originate with the forces impacting dental practices, from insurance to digital marketing to technology investments. An awareness of these trends on the clinical side of dentistry can help laboratories better understand and meet their clients’ needs. The following is a sampling of the business topics that have been addressed this year in Inside Dental Technology’s sister publication, Inside Dentistry.
The “Value Chain”
By Eric Rindler, DDS, PA
There are endless articles with ideas on how to increase your practice’s profitability. Harvard Business School’s Michael Porter developed the concept of the “value chain,” which encourages you to look at the components of your practice in baskets or as building blocks. When thinking about the business side of a dental practice, you may wonder where and how adjustments can be made to increase profit margins. In the author’s experience, dentists do not focus on an overarching strategy. Instead, they focus on specific tactics to achieve a specific goal, such as obtaining new patients, scheduling more efficiently, increasing hygiene production, or gaining better pricing on supplies. Although these tactics are suitable ways to improve individual parts of the practice, focusing on a big-picture strategy might provide a more effective way to increase a practice’s profit margins longterm. This article looks at how these tactics fit within an overarching strategy to improve practice margins. Understanding the strategy can help identify where and how the tactics fit to benefit the practice.
READ MORE: insidedentaltech.com/idt1025
Considerations for Building a Small Group Practice
By Roger P. Levin, DDS
One of the questions that dentists often ask at seminars is whether or not they should add additional practices. This question is often asked in an off-the-cuff manner, which indicates that many doctors haven’t thought about all of the pros and cons of having more than one or two offices. Adding additional practices comes with financial, managerial, and logistical factors that all need to be carefully considered. Additional practices always have a direct impact on the career and financial well-being of the dentist; therefore, it’s best to know all the ramifications of owning a small group practice before you begin building one.
READ MORE: insidedentaltech.com/idt1026
Three Website Design Trends Every Dentist Should Embrace
By Naomi Cooper
Want to know the secret to making a practice stand out from the competition online? Investing in a website. Dentists have likely already spent countless hours with a design team and a good portion of their marketing budget to build and maintain their current site, but in the fast-paced world of online marketing, resting on one’s digital laurels simply won’t cut it. Today, a website that isn’t mobile-friendly could be doing more damage than good. Users are five times more likely to leave a website if it isn’t mobile-friendly, which could mean countless lost new patient opportunities for dentists with desktop-only sites. And search engines are increasingly shifting their algorithms (ie, formulas for deciding the order in which websites appear in search results) to reflect a preference for mobile sites as well. As Web browsing continues to become increasingly mobile-centric, embracing the three website-design trends discussed in this article can help keep a dental practice website both patient- and mobile-friendly.
READ MORE: insidedentaltech.com/idt1027
STP and the Four Ps of Marketing in Dentistry
By Eric Rindler, DDS, MBA
Many dentists have leaned on business consultants to help move their practices forward and drive revenue. Recently, a colleague of the author’s mentioned that, rather than having had someone with a background in business tell him what to do, he wished that individual would have given him the tools to make good strategic decisions for himself. Being empowered to assess and adapt the tactics you utilize is very different than simply implementing what someone else thinks will work. The idea of developing a stronger background in business concepts makes good sense. It gives dentists the tools to move out of the middle, differentiate themselves from the pack, and achieve greater success. To that end, this article looks at some basic but highly valuable marketing concepts that can help dentists develop or expand their competitive advantage.
READ MORE: insidedentaltech.com/idt1028
Why Is My Income Dropping?
By Roger P. Levin, DDS
The popular movie quote “Show me the money!” from Jerry Maguire captures the sentiment of many dentists these days. Since the 2000 to 2009 recession, annual dental incomes have been decreasing anywhere from $25,000 to $30,000 or more. Unfortunately, the cost of operating a dental practice has increased during the same time. So, why are dental incomes dropping? There are a variety of key factors influencing this phenomenon, including increasing numbers of dentists, decreasing insurance reimbursements, changing practice models, increasing student loan amounts, and the increasing costs of doing business.
READ MORE: insidedentaltech.com/idt1029
Patient Membership Plans
Very rarely does an opportunity arise to shift the way both dentists and patients think about dental care. Companies offering patient membership plan software are providing both groups an alternative to standard dental insurance and discount dental plans. Inside Dentistry interviewed Dave Monahan, CEO of Kleer, to discuss how membership plans like those offered by the Kleer platform are having a positive impact on dentistry. Monahan decribes how Kleer developed its model, what its objectives are, similar membership platforms offered by other companies, and more.
READ MORE: insidedentaltech.com/idt1030
Implants for the Generations
By Sameer Bhasin, MBA, MHA
More than 5 million implants are placed every year, and that number is growing, fueled in part by the needs of aging patients from Generation X and the Baby Boomer generation. In fact, the number of people with missing teeth will increase to more than 200 million during the next 15 years. Not surprisingly, more dentists are acquiring education and training on how to do implants, believing it to be the new standard of care when compared with a traditional solution, such as a bridge or dentures. However, according to a study by the American Dental Association's Health Policy Institute, Americans aged 50 to 64 are more likely than any other age group to report cost barriers to dental care. Therefore, although the dentist may be able to complete a case clinically, education about oral health and payment options is needed to help patients handle it financially.
READ MORE: insidedentaltech.com/idt1031
The Power of Clean
By Marie T. Fluent, DDS
The author’s daughter recently purchased an older home with a kitchen that bears the scars of having been well used over the years. Other countertops display variance in color and texture, making it difficult for the eye to tell if they need cleaning. She can scrub and polish her kitchen endlessly, and it still appears worn and soiled. But others can be covered in the sticky remains of recent meals, yet still appear fresh and clean to the naked eye. If appearances can be this deceiving and misleading, what principles and policies should guide and inform an approach to “cleanliness” in the dental office setting? Moreover, who should provide recommendations and regulations to guide these important efforts that are so critical to the safety and well-being of the patients and the dental team? This is where AAMI (pronounced “Amy”) comes into play.
READ MORE: insidedentaltech.com/idt1032