Dental Practice Management

Is Your Dental Practice Letting Referrals Leak? Diversification and Dentistry Part Two: Services

We previously discussed diversifying your dental office investment by owning multiple practices as a way to “invest smart” and ensure all of your eggs aren’t in one basket. Investing in 3-5 practices versus 1 practice is a great way to limit your risk exposure and (with the help of a support organization like MB2 Dental Solutions) reduce the burden of management responsibilities on your plate as owner. Read more about dental practice diversification here.

Another great way to reduce your investment risk is to diversify services offered at your practice. In the dental industry this is often called a “multi-specialty practice.”

Dentistry is becoming increasingly competitive. Insurance companies put pressure on dentists to keep service fees low. However insurance companies are not helping with the equipment, marketing and overhead costs dental offices face to offset their increasing fees. Referring patients out to specialists is not only a customer service, case-acceptance and production leak hole, but also a missed opportunity to diversify your investment in the practice.

What if instead of referring out those procedures you dislike handling, you referred in to a trusted specialist partner or sought training to keep those procedures in-house? The many benefits of a diversified service-model include:

  • Keep patients in-house to ensure their treatment keeps moving and isn’t abandoned
  • Provide extra convenience to existing patients seeking specialty procedures
  • Provide extra convenience to existing patients looking to complete their treatment in fewer visits and maximize your production opportunity on those treatment plans by using less time and supplies
  • Tap into a stream of new patients seeking specialty procedures
  • Capture a piece of the production referred out via outbound referrals
  • Open the office extra days to maximize the productivity captured on fixed costs like rent and equipment
  • Uniquely differentiate your practice in an increasingly saturated dental market
  • Build a network of collaborative partner doctors with aligned goals for practice growth

The days of dentists saying they will only perform limited services are over. The most successful practices today diversify the services they provide and reap the benefits of a diversified investment.

So I’m interested in diversifying services, what’s next?

If you find this “Multi-Specialty Practice” model intriguing, be sure you do your due diligence so you are set up for success.

  1. What specialty services make sense? Take a good hard look at your patient base. Run reporting on what procedures you are referring out most often. Get a solid grasp on what service would be productive to bring in-house. Introducing a specialty for which there is no patient stream will have a negative effect on the productivity of your practice.
  2. Who can handle the service? Sometimes general dentists decide to seek additional training themselves to perfect a specialty technique. Alternatively seeking a specialist partner with similar quality expectations and patient care standards can be equally if not more effective. You may be surprised by the number of specialty docs out there who are amenable to a satellite office arrangement where they can do the service work they love without the pressures of managing the practice or the costs of driving new patient traffic through their doors.
  3. Schedule effectively. Ensure the schedule is set up to be maximized. A gradual specialty introduction a half-day at a time may be the best way to make sure that happens until the patient volume is at a point where another full-day for specialty alone is warranted.
  4. Keep an eye on quality. Consistent quality standards and patient care are one of the most important keys to the success of service diversification. Patients are staying in the same building for service and they will expect the same customer care and quality of work they have come to expect from you. Stay aligned with your specialty provider to provide a consistent experience for patients.

With investments in multiple service offerings instead of limited phases of general dentistry you’re able to attract / retain more patients and share a growing workload. This service-diversity will help a dentist-owner weather the storm of increased competition. The chances of a direct service competitor opening across the street are greatly reduced and patients are less likely to shop around.

Dental Service Organizations like MB2 make rolling out in-office diversification methods like service diversification fast and easy for dentist owners. If you’d like to learn more about diversifying your dental office investment or affiliation opportunities with MB2, please contact us!

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