There is no ‘I’ in Team

There is no ‘I’ in Team

Humans are universally created and introduced into the planetary ecology with one common characteristic, unconditional love. We then spend the remainder of time in pursuit of dismantling and rebuilding the scaffolding when therein lies a far simpler answer: STOP TAKING THINGS FOR GRANTED AND START SHARING THE LOVE.

It should come as no surprise there is an overwhelm within the dental profession over recruiting and retaining qualified talent. Far too many contributors have migrated away from the industry in search of greater opportunities with no shortage of data to showcase the deficit. Yet, it remains largely doctrine that the dental team is by far the top client of any practice. And, it must be treated as such despite the natural tendency toward a patient-first mindset. However, stepping back for a minute to pour over the patient experience will shed light on how leveraging a committed and magnanimous team will naturally translate into the delivery of exquisite, enthusiastic, and empathetic “love” to the patient.

If burnout has hit you, the practitioner, owner, or jack-of-all-trades, then it has most certainly doused the team. A lot has been made over tactical solutions for managing burnout, and it is critical to take an inventory of your personal situation. One underpinning force is by far the relationship between the practice and 3rd party payment systems or aka: dental insurance programs. Naturally remodeled into a coupon book and/or tepid financial assistance platform, there is no doubt the deflationary forces have delivered a healthy uppercut to the chins of most modern-day clinicians. The equilibrium point has since passed and rendered the bifurcated dental economy of today. Consumers will ultimately drive the bus as they pay for what they want ahead of need. Buying cycles, economies of scale, the elasticity of price/supply/demand, and a host of other financial factors meld to enforce a real interesting horizon when a defined plan does not exist. Couple it with the ongoing inflationary forces upon the input side and one most likely will need to pivot. However, prior to any unforced errors of emotional overload taking center stage, pause. Take a hard look at why dentistry. What specifically empowered you to take the leap?

 
Irrespective of consolidation FOMO or pure angst over cut-rate reimbursement, there exists an overriding love of the profession. An intrinsic drive toward excellence. People are attracted to the profession for largely similar reasons. Including your team. The people we empower to help us serve our communities are invaluable to the process and must not be taken for granted. Perhaps we have been less than stellar in the previous chapters of practice management? The live and learn mantra is not short on experience. The humility to seek forgiveness and the willingness to level up to a better and brighter version attracts new tranches of universal fuel. Perfection is, at best, a form of procrastination while forgiveness is, by nature, a thing of the past should we fail to recognize its beauty.

There is no more profound way to reinvent greatness than a team training day. The time almost evaporates within the allotted hours despite the quantity and quality of content provided. Making this a priority within the operational schedule is a crux move. Backfilling around training days with deliberate growth sessions laser-focused upon essential elements of clinical and/or managerial systems will ultimately translate into more efficient and profitable operations. Start small and build with intention and conviction. Embracing a can-do attitude within the culture pays enormous dividends. Your team and your patients will be eternally grateful.

Humans are unconditionally their most vocal self-critic, and too often we cast this patterned quilt upon the support crew we seemingly take for granted. Smothering what we truly are in support of growth and ascension. Literally carving out time away from actual clinical operation to train, retrain, retool, reboot, rework, etc. is paramount. This recharge will refill the tank with that high-octane spirit the engine so desperately yearns for. It may appear counterintuitive and/or counterproductive, but it is of preeminent status for a thriving dental practice.

PPOs vs OPPs?

We live in a world addicted to consumerism and thinly-veiled desires luring precious discretionary dollars out of the wallet. As for investing in one’s health, society somehow has digressed into a mechanized, commoditized, and subsidized mindset. Leverage assumed by the omnipresent insurance plan often renders a provider with little say regarding the context and content of care. Unprecedented increases in cost of goods sold have plunked the average PPO write off into a 44-50% range only amplified by futile fee increases. Margin pressure generated by declining reimbursement rates reflects the most aggressive line-item expense never located on a P&L statement. Growing for growth’s sake attempting to out run the overhead squeeze is unsustainable regardless of one’s mastery of the “treadmill”.

Does this resonate with your personal situation?

Approximately 90% of private practice dentistry is directly involved with PPO and/or reduced fee assistance programs. Fundamentally, nothing constructive has enabled dental benefits plans to evolve with economics and time. What once was a hedge against catastrophe no longer represents a definable insurance program but essentially a subsidized coupon book. Heavy participation with PPOs challenges the fundamental tenets for owning and running a healthy dental practice: autonomy, lifestyle, and financial independence. The notion of an entity disconnected from the doctor-patient relationship levying the final say upon healthcare decisions is a huge disservice to patients by encouraging reduced focus on the basics. Thankfully, foundational principles rooted in prevention and wellness greatly aid the delivery of oral health care outside the constraints of benefit plan mandates.

Insurance Independence 

The path to insurance independence is paved by challenges, unique stipulations, and calculated steps to successfully shed the proverbial handcuffs. Time in the marketplace and timing the decision generally outline the process. The following six elements are essential prerequisites to a reduction and/or full-scale elimination of insurance dependency:

Know Yourself: “Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude” -Viktor Frankl

The practice owner is the driver of the process and must profess the mindset for success.

Know Your Data: “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.” -Pearson’s Law

Accurate data in the PMS system coupled with precise accounting analytics fosters a valid measuring system for the true cost of PPOs.

Know Your Team: “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.” -Vince Lombardi

Human capital is by far the most essential line item not listed on a company balance sheet, and its true worth is expressed within the culture of the operation.

Know Your Community: “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King
The relationship aspect of dentistry is by far the most foundational principle and is greatly challenged by a 40-50% financial haircut.

Know Your Services: “If you do the work you get rewarded. There are no shortcuts in life.” – Michael Jordan

Today’s opportunity for a GP to pursue, master, and deliver above and beyond bread-and-butter services is tremendous.

Know Your Consumer: “Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” – John C. Maxwell

Optimizing relevancy within the community is essential for weaning off PPO contracts.
Is it time to make PPOs Other People’s Problems?

Hopefully, you are taking note of how these fit into your personal business plan and journey. If you have questions about where to begin or are strongly considering a move toward insurance independence, please feel free to schedule a discovery call today and discover all that is possible with Dynamic Dental Ascension.

In the Club

Have you been paying attention or already considering the latest and greatest practice management tool? There is something purely magical about any sort of recurring revenue model that has been somewhat missing from the world of dentistry until recently. Outside of a few shining examples such as classic orthodontic payment options and a few other stabs at inhouse financial arrangements, recurring revenue streams have been foreign to the profession. Yet membership models are nothing new to the world of finance and business. At its core, oral health care is just another business model that happens to service the health and well-being of its constituents.


Statistics abound regarding the success of recurring revenue models. Everything from Amazon Prime, Costco, Lifetime Fitness, Apple Music, Netflix, Peloton, iFit, et al, the message is clear, human nature gravitates incredibly toward this type of economic structure. Even rooted within the world of tech and the core of those company processes is the notion of S.a.a.S. or software as a subscription. The big emphasis today in business, economics, and finance is how to incorporate a recurring revenue model into the operational architecture. You too, as a thriving dental practice owner, should strongly consider adding a membership program to your financial menu.


Perhaps you are contemplating reducing your own footprint within dental insurance. I assure you that having a thriving membership program is an essential step in the process of successfully reducing insurance plan dependency. Data shows that uninsured people visit the dentist less than 1 time annually. Factor in insurance or another third-party financial resource for the service and the number rises to approximately 1.6. Time, fear, money, and lack of perceived need are the primary deterrents for why people avoid going to the dentist. Since the inception, dental insurance plans have not fundamentally evolved nor kept pace with inflation such that today they really are more of a coupon/discount program versus a guardian against catastrophic events. Besides the two annual checkups, the well can run dry rather rapidly today depending on what the patient requires. The average monthly premiums for an adult hover around $50 or $600 annually. It is no shock then that with an emphasis on wellness at its core, the dental profession’s amazing and comprehensive service provided has largely been an out-of-pocket investment for the patient. With an ever-looming threat of medium to longer term inflation pressures, one must view dental insurance in a different light. It is an inherently deflationary force with virtually no tamer to keep it caged. The in-house membership program solves that dilemma rather nicely.


There are numerous organizations in the marketplace that provide a complete resource to accomplish the implementation and management for you. Kleer and Boom Cloud Apps are two prominent examples. When setting out to establish an in-office program first determine why. Our reason was simple. Back in the early 2000’s we noted an alarming increase in the number of uninsured patients in our population. The intent back then was to bridge the gap between insured and uninsured while simultaneously inspiring patients to maintain their routine of periodic oral care and incentivize them to complete operative and elective care when needed. It has served us remarkably ever since and represents a significant recurring revenue source. Today, I feel the momentum has accelerated due in large part to the explosion of a gig economy enabling people to pursue professions in almost multi-factorial fashion. Software developer by day and Uber driver by night! Embedded within this context is certainly the foundational beauty of an independent and entrepreneurial spirit. Many would prefer to be in command of the decision-making process and remain enabled to make educated decisions based upon informed interaction without restrictive governance by a third party. Some might argue to the contrary on the basis that the insurance company serves as a cost-controller and service regulator. In my opinion, the ultimate decision rests within the relationship between the patient and provider whom collectively determine the optimal course of treatment. We embodied that core principle within our in-office membership plan and continue to see positive annual growth.


We currently offer three tiers to include a pediatric, adult, and adult periodontal option. The annualized enrollment cost is set to be a win-win, equates to less than the sum total of all the included services, fits within a palatable monthly value, and is less than the annual premiums typically charged for traditional dental insurance. The plan is paid monthly or annually, rates cover all costs associated with included hygiene visits, allows for a 15% fee reduction on all other services, renews on the anniversary date of enrollment, has no exclusions/limitations other than being used at our practice, and cannot combine with any form of eligible insurance program. One might conceive of a host of iterations to such a program which is what makes an in-office membership program so ingenious. What works for my organization might not be the most optimal for another practice. The practice must really address their operation, patient population, and current trends in order to determine the efficacy of a membership plan. Simple, convenient, and affordable have proven to be the catalysts to success with our plan. In conjunction with an emphasis on oral wellness, patient relationships, and dedicated marketing strategies, our in-office membership program has proven its worth repeatedly for over 15 years. “In da Club” is where you want to be when it comes to keeping a leg up on the economics of a successful operation.

If you have any questions or would like to talk in greater depth, consider scheduling a discovery call to explore all that Dynamic Dental Ascension has to offer.

5 Most Common Things Keeping a Dental Entrepreneur Awake at Night

5 Most Common Things Keeping a Dental Entrepreneur Awake at Night

No one truly empathizes with a dentist unless they are living the dream in the trenches or have previous first-hand knowledge. It is rather unreasonable to expect a lay person to appreciate the challenges we tackle on a regular basis. Not even a spouse, self-employed friends, family, or even disillusioned colleagues over on the medical side of the equation can truly appreciate the life of a dental practitioner.

Imagine the thrill of simply responding “you have no clue” when asked why you are angry and frustrated over a litany of events at the practice. For not only is a dental practitioner held to incredibly stringent clinical standards, they are also required to settle the cultural disruptions, pay the bills, acknowledge a rather paltry market penetration, and work on wide awake people. All this while maintaining a near flawless balance with a healthy personal and family life. Is it realistic to expect a work-life balance? A dynamic swagger seems more appropriate, and, in all earnestness, the interconnectivity can potentially wind one around a flagpole ready to surrender.

Fear not, for this recurring theme is not unique to any one specific but a universal protocol for donning the many hats of dental practice leadership. Here are five of the most common elements to consider during one of those all-too-common sleepless nights:

  1. Imposter Syndrome
  2. Perfectionism
  3. Erratic Cash Flow
  4. A Mountain of Debt
  5. What are the Alternatives? 
5 Most Common Things Keeping a Dental Entrepreneur Awake at Night (1)

Imposter Syndrome

No one relishes in being labeled a phony. One of the more egregious self-imposed labels of an entrepreneur, it is a chronic state of perceived inadequacy despite evidence of success. This somewhat chronic state of self-doubt can and often leads to more a destructive path for many who suffer. One of the most essential steps toward improvement is establishing a defined and persistent practice of mindfulness. Truly being self-aware is a direct connection to the root of happiness.

Perfectionism

We participate within a profession built on the necessity for exacting standards, and it is blasphemous to think otherwise. Despite having countless lab cases destroyed by the dental school autocracy, the value within that experience cemented the need to always maintain unwavering standards. Oftentimes, the sense or need to make things perfect stems from an innate fear of failure and can lead to an incredible degree of procrastination. Rather, delegation and adaptation of Pareto’s Principle can go a long way toward alleviating this curse.

Erratic Cash Flow

We participate within a profession built on the necessity for exacting standards, and it is blasphemous to think otherwise. Despite having countless lab cases destroyed by the dental school autocracy, the value within that experience cemented the need to always maintain unwavering standards. Oftentimes, the sense or need to make things perfect stems from an innate fear of failure and can lead to an incredible degree of procrastination. Rather, delegation and adaptation of Pareto’s Principle can go a long way toward alleviating this curse.

A Mountain Of Debt

The path to successful practice leadership is paved with good intentions, gold bricks, and gallons of blood, sweat, and tears. Today’s price tag for education and practice ownership is steep if not bordering upon insurmountable. However, dentistry remains quite possibly the most entrepreneurial sub sector of health care which substantiates its selectivity and inordinate price tag. AS a result, there is a viable practice model for just about any venture and almost walled-garden nature to its surroundings. Regardless, the conscientious in all aim to make good on all of their obligations, and debt-free is a great state of being.

What are the Alternatives?

An all-too-common thought thread emerges when one is knee-deep in the trenches of daily practice. What routinely feels like a marathon of sprints can reduce even the most formidable to a place of burnout, fatigue, and pure resentment. A likely culmination of all the nocturnal ruminations lends itself to this destination with a hopeful eye for greener pasture. With a little reflection, perspective, and unconditional support, one may find a renewed passion or forage an alternative path a bit less dependent upon the hands.

If this resonates with your personal situation, bear in mind, you are not alone. Many who have elected the same formidable path, have discovered the value of mentorship. Consider Dynamic Dental Ascension as a potential partner on your journey. Schedule a discovery call today!