Corporate dentistry is a widely controversial business aspect among dentists in the United States, with some regarding it as beneficial, and others as damaging. However, this expansion is creating new competition among the providers of this service, giving way for important understandings in order to remain successful as a private practitioner.
As I have mentioned before, solo doctors should never underestimate a large corporation’s ability to effectively compete on quality. Many may regard corporate giants as producers of identical, low quality products that don’t cater to the specific needs of their customers. This is no longer the case. Steering away from the common theme of accepting managed care or Medicaid, most of these larger corporations have changed this standard by refusing these coverages, and now offer services to specific demographics that one would assume only private doctors administer.
Perhaps an even more important change among larger members of the Dental Management Services Organization (or DMSO) is their vastly improved levels of customer service and high quality clinical care. In a previous article of mine, I brought forth an identifying factor in these improvements:
“These same companies now have extensive internal continuing education programs where doctors receive world-class training and motivation from many of the leading dentists in the profession.”
Generating 50% higher revenue at operation costs that are 20% lower than private doctors, DMSO practices benefit greatly for a variety of factors. For one, they receive large discounts on medical supplies, and typically receive higher negotiated payments from insurance companies. This means higher profit margins, giving them a leg up on solo practitioners.
Surprisingly, there is a growing population of those who prefer DMSO practices rather than private doctors due to the fact that almost all insurance plans are accepted in these larger corporations, they offer much more convenient appointment times for working families, they generally have lower prices, and house updated technology, just to name a few. Another bonus corporate groups have over individual doctors is their management of staff. Hiring, benefits, raises, and career advancement opportunities are offered, attracting a much larger group of employees than that of a private office, which may lack in those fields.
While these competitive advantages may seem to dominate solo doctors in all aspects, DMSOs do have weaknesses as well, including a high turnover rate.
“Despite their best efforts, many of the providers do not see themselves as anything more than a hired gun. As such, they aren’t always as attentive to things as they might otherwise be in their own offices.”
For private doctors, it is absolutely vital to offer the best services you can. A true care in your patients’ well-being will show others that your practice maintains a high level of professionalism. In order to combat with the growing competition however, lowering costs and driving higher revenue (with a higher level of care) may be required. With hard work, care, and an efficient staff, your chances as a solo practitioner in sharing the market will only improve.