North Texas Dentistry Volume 8 Issue 2 2018 ISSUE 2 DE - Page 18

practice transitions Engineering Your Practice Success by Lynne Gerlach, DDS, FICD, FACD ngineering is defined as the application of science and math to design and solve complex problems. I prefer the definition of engineering as artfully working to bring some- thing about. This sounds like today’s dental models that inten- tionally apply math (business), science (clinical science) and art as not only clinical dentistry but a leadership style creating a practice culture that keeps the patients in the forefront. E TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE Dentistry has commonly been referred to as a blend of science and art. While that is certainly true in complex restorative cases, orthodontics and prosthodontics, other specialties like oral sur- gery, periodontics and endodontics certainly require a level of technical finesse to create positive outcomes for their patients. Dentists historically have been technically centered for clinical excellence and the business of dentistry has passively followed many talented dentists. As the landscape of dentistry rapidly changes, passive business success is not nearly as likely as in the past. The competitive industry of DSOs and a growing supply of den- tists has led to a decline in busyness for dentists in Texas. There are more dentists seeking associateship/ partnership opportu- nities and practice acquisition opportunities as dentists are practicing longer than before. According to the ADA’s, Health Policy Institute’s research, the average age of retirement for a dentist is 69 years old in 2015 rather than the long-held 66 years in 2005. With the increased length of a dental career, coupled with a lack of busyness, fewer opportunities exist for young doc- tors in the private practice models. The young doctors are tech- nically talented and savvy about business metrics and are seeking the same things dentists have sought to provide for their patients, team and their families. (http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/HPI/Files/HPIBrief_06 6_1.pdf?la=en) 18 NORTH TEXAS DENTISTRY | www.northtexasdentistry.com INTENTIONALITY & LEADERSHIP As a dental practice transition consultant, I have the unique opportunity to see all models and levels of success in dental practices. It is interesting to see what an impact intentional leadership has in developing these practices. It seems that all new practices began with intentionality – attention to detail and active management to respond to the practice changes. As a practice matures and doctors begin to take more time off, many of these principles are left behind. The management and lead- ership of the practice move to “auto pilot” status and the respon- siveness and intentionality possibly become impaired. As staff attrition develops and new technologies are ignored, it is diffi- cult to remain enthusiastic about practice growth possibilities. The practice culture becomes stagnant and the busyness and revenues follow. The time to transition a practice to an eager young dentist is when the culture is strong, leadership is engaged, and management is nimble and thriving. Intentionality and leadership are just as important in a new growing practice as they are in a mature practice ready to see what the next phase brings. If a doctor is considering a transi- tion of any kind from walk away to partnership, accurate clean financials are mandatory when pursuing a valuation and devel- oping a strategy. Too often, the practice financials are messy or unavailable. These financials should be used regularly as a tool for management. They are the metrics to measure revenue and expenses. MANAGING WITH THE END IN MIND Knowing the expense ratios for staffing, facility costs and clini- cal supplies and other expenses for each specialty is important and a guide for decision making when considering a capital improvement for offering a new procedure in your practice. It is not necessary to total remodel or reequip a dental practice before considering a transition. It is important for the office to