How to Beat Burnout in Your Dental Practice

No matter how much you love dentistry, burning out when running your own practice is not uncommon. Problems unrelated to actual dental care, from staff turnover to low patient retention rates, can make you wish you could just sell your practice and work for someone else. While this is always an option, especially as corporate dentistry becomes more and more common, don’t take such a drastic step right away. In many cases, following a few simple tips can make you fall in love with your practice all over again.

Be the Leader

It is easy to get dragged down by the many responsibilities of being a business owner, but it can also be fun. Take this opportunity to think through how you can better empower your team members. Shift your focus to creating helpful tools, such as detailed job descriptions and transparent performance measurements. It’s a bit creative, and once these measures are in place, you will find that your staff is happier, more focused, and more motivated. Their improved mood can raise your own spirits. For a quick boost, you could even take your team out to celebrate putting the new measures in place.

Focus on Hygiene

Hygiene appointments are a win-win for both you and your patients. They are highly profitable, but they also help patients avoid expensive and uncomfortable treatments down the line. If your hygiene production has slipped, find out why. Most problems with hygiene production can be fixed relatively easily.

Make sure your scheduling coordinator is maximizing the hygiene schedule. Be sure your team is following up with reminders two days in advance, and determine whether your patients prefer reminders by email, text, or phone. You could also add online scheduling to the mix, allowing patients without an existing appointment to simply schedule their own.

Double down on patient education. They are less likely to cancel last-minute or no-show if they truly understand the value of hygiene appointments. After each appointment, provide the patient with a written summary that details what you did, what products you sent them home with, areas to pay special attention to between visits, and the date and time of their next appointment. Seeing everything in written format will reduce the likelihood of skipping the next visit.

Evaluate Your Treatment Presentation

Did you know that how you present treatment recommendations can have a huge impact on whether patients accept them? The most effective way of presenting recommendations is to move from the treatment room to a comfortable, quiet, private conference room. Patients need the time and space to digest the information and ask questions. If your schedule does not allow enough time, consider hiring a treatment coordinator whose only job is to help patients work through their treatment options.

Also refine the actual treatment pitch. Perhaps you or your team members are making assumptions about how much patients are willing to pay, presenting necessary treatments in a way that makes them sound like they can be put off, or otherwise giving patients a reason to say no instead of yes. Make sure each patient is thoroughly educated about his or her condition, all available options, and the consequences of refusing or delaying treatment, but present this material in a way that does not sound too “salesy” or high-pressure.

Invest in Continuing Education

Carving out a few days to learn some new skills can help you relax, recharge, and remember what you love about being a dentist. You will then be able to bring your new knowledge back to your practice, offering new services or better processes that will bring value to your existing patients and even help you draw in new ones. This can help boost your revenues and meet your production goals, removing some of the stress that led to your burnout.

Running a business is not easy, and many dentists start to feel burned out and run down by the administrative side of their practice. Fortunately, getting yourself back on track may be a simple matter of redirecting your thinking and implementing a few tweaks.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at

No matter how much you love dentistry, burning out when running your own practice is not uncommon. Problems unrelated to actual dental care, from staff turnover to low patient retention rates, can make you wish you could just sell your practice and work for someone else. While this is always an option, especially as corporate dentistry becomes more and more common, don’t take such a drastic step right away. In many cases, following a few simple tips can make you fall in love with your practice all over again.

Be the Leader

It is easy to get dragged down by the many responsibilities of being a business owner, but it can also be fun. Take this opportunity to think through how you can better empower your team members. Shift your focus to creating helpful tools, such as detailed job descriptions and transparent performance measurements. It’s a bit creative, and once these measures are in place, you will find that your staff is happier, more focused, and more motivated. Their improved mood can raise your own spirits. For a quick boost, you could even take your team out to celebrate putting the new measures in place.

Focus on Hygiene

Hygiene appointments are a win-win for both you and your patients. They are highly profitable, but they also help patients avoid expensive and uncomfortable treatments down the line. If your hygiene production has slipped, find out why. Most problems with hygiene production can be fixed relatively easily.

Make sure your scheduling coordinator is maximizing the hygiene schedule. Be sure your team is following up with reminders two days in advance, and determine whether your patients prefer reminders by email, text, or phone. You could also add online scheduling to the mix, allowing patients without an existing appointment to simply schedule their own.

Double down on patient education. They are less likely to cancel last-minute or no-show if they truly understand the value of hygiene appointments. After each appointment, provide the patient with a written summary that details what you did, what products you sent them home with, areas to pay special attention to between visits, and the date and time of their next appointment. Seeing everything in written format will reduce the likelihood of skipping the next visit.

Evaluate Your Treatment Presentation

Did you know that how you present treatment recommendations can have a huge impact on whether patients accept them? The most effective way of presenting recommendations is to move from the treatment room to a comfortable, quiet, private conference room. Patients need the time and space to digest the information and ask questions. If your schedule does not allow enough time, consider hiring a treatment coordinator whose only job is to help patients work through their treatment options.

Also refine the actual treatment pitch. Perhaps you or your team members are making assumptions about how much patients are willing to pay, presenting necessary treatments in a way that makes them sound like they can be put off, or otherwise giving patients a reason to say no instead of yes. Make sure each patient is thoroughly educated about his or her condition, all available options, and the consequences of refusing or delaying treatment, but present this material in a way that does not sound too “salesy” or high-pressure.

Invest in Continuing Education

Carving out a few days to learn some new skills can help you relax, recharge, and remember what you love about being a dentist. You will then be able to bring your new knowledge back to your practice, offering new services or better processes that will bring value to your existing patients and even help you draw in new ones. This can help boost your revenues and meet your production goals, removing some of the stress that led to your burnout.

Running a business is not easy, and many dentists start to feel burned out and run down by the administrative side of their practice. Fortunately, getting yourself back on track may be a simple matter of redirecting your thinking and implementing a few tweaks.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at

No matter how much you love dentistry, burning out when running your own practice is not uncommon. Problems unrelated to actual dental care, from staff turnover to low patient retention rates, can make you wish you could just sell your practice and work for someone else. While this is always an option, especially as corporate dentistry becomes more and more common, don’t take such a drastic step right away. In many cases, following a few simple tips can make you fall in love with your practice all over again.

Be the Leader

It is easy to get dragged down by the many responsibilities of being a business owner, but it can also be fun. Take this opportunity to think through how you can better empower your team members. Shift your focus to creating helpful tools, such as detailed job descriptions and transparent performance measurements. It’s a bit creative, and once these measures are in place, you will find that your staff is happier, more focused, and more motivated. Their improved mood can raise your own spirits. For a quick boost, you could even take your team out to celebrate putting the new measures in place.

Focus on Hygiene

Hygiene appointments are a win-win for both you and your patients. They are highly profitable, but they also help patients avoid expensive and uncomfortable treatments down the line. If your hygiene production has slipped, find out why. Most problems with hygiene production can be fixed relatively easily.

Make sure your scheduling coordinator is maximizing the hygiene schedule. Be sure your team is following up with reminders two days in advance, and determine whether your patients prefer reminders by email, text, or phone. You could also add online scheduling to the mix, allowing patients without an existing appointment to simply schedule their own.

Double down on patient education. They are less likely to cancel last-minute or no-show if they truly understand the value of hygiene appointments. After each appointment, provide the patient with a written summary that details what you did, what products you sent them home with, areas to pay special attention to between visits, and the date and time of their next appointment. Seeing everything in written format will reduce the likelihood of skipping the next visit.

Evaluate Your Treatment Presentation

Did you know that how you present treatment recommendations can have a huge impact on whether patients accept them? The most effective way of presenting recommendations is to move from the treatment room to a comfortable, quiet, private conference room. Patients need the time and space to digest the information and ask questions. If your schedule does not allow enough time, consider hiring a treatment coordinator whose only job is to help patients work through their treatment options.

Also refine the actual treatment pitch. Perhaps you or your team members are making assumptions about how much patients are willing to pay, presenting necessary treatments in a way that makes them sound like they can be put off, or otherwise giving patients a reason to say no instead of yes. Make sure each patient is thoroughly educated about his or her condition, all available options, and the consequences of refusing or delaying treatment, but present this material in a way that does not sound too “salesy” or high-pressure.

Invest in Continuing Education

Carving out a few days to learn some new skills can help you relax, recharge, and remember what you love about being a dentist. You will then be able to bring your new knowledge back to your practice, offering new services or better processes that will bring value to your existing patients and even help you draw in new ones. This can help boost your revenues and meet your production goals, removing some of the stress that led to your burnout.

Running a business is not easy, and many dentists start to feel burned out and run down by the administrative side of their practice. Fortunately, getting yourself back on track may be a simple matter of redirecting your thinking and implementing a few tweaks.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at 413-224-2659 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

Reasons Every Dental Team Member Needs a Job Description

Creating and managing a dental practice is a lot of work, and it is tempting to let things slide that don’t seem too important to your bottom line or the actual practice of dentistry. Yet creating job descriptions is actually one of the most important things you can do to boost morale, get your staff functioning as a team, and boost the overall health of your practice. Here are a few reasons every dental team member needs a job description.

Morale

How can your team members possibly know what you expect from them unless you tell them? As the CEO of your practice, it is up to you to let them know how you define success and how each role contributes to that success. With a clear job description, each team member has purpose and motivation, as well as the creative freedom to decide how best to perform tasks to meet or exceed your practice goals.

Accountability

Job descriptions clearly delineate what each team member is accountable for. When combined with training, the tools to perform their duties, and logical performance measurements, job descriptions make team members more successful and more confident in their roles.

Reduced Conflict

If everyone is responsible for everything, three types of employees will emerge: the go-getters who take credit for everything that goes right regardless of who actually performed the task, the workhorses who take on tons of extra responsibility without claiming credit, and the finger-pointers who do very little themselves but are quick to call others out for slacking. This leads to escalating tension and a sharp drop in productivity.

Job descriptions put each team member in charge of specific tasks. Rather than in-fighting about who does what, each person has just the right amount of work and the team as a whole becomes more cohesive.

Improved Ownership

Team members who know their exact roles take more ownership of those roles. They feel more connected to the practice and are motivated to perform their jobs to the very best of their ability, as they realize the importance of their roles to the company’s overall success.

For best results, sit down with each team member to co-create that person’s job description. Let him explain how he sees his duties and contributions to the practice’s success. Also work with that person to set both individual and company goals. This further heightens the sense of ownership and lets your team know that their input is valuable.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at 413-224-2659 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

The downside of becoming a dental franchisee

Are you considering buying into a dental franchise? It certainly seems like an arrangement that means less headaches with marketing. Becoming a franchisee also comes pre-loaded with processes to help insure everything runs smoothly out-of-the-box.

Of course there is a downside. As a franchisee you have certain obligations to the franchisor. For some this loss of “professional sovereignty” may feel like they aren’t in an ownership position at all.

As a dental franchisee it’s easy to fall into a professional rut as you have less and less emotional investment in your business. In the end many dentists find themselves simply punching the clock, day in and day out.

This leads many to view the services they offer as products rather than treatments for patients. What happens next is that the practice becomes a glorified assembly line – where treatments are assessed based on price and patient need comes second to profit.

Obviously this does not apply to 100% of franchisees. Many offer advice to patients that may cost the practice some additional revenue. And they do this to create loyalty and make their operation stand out among the other chain services in the area.

However if you are a franchisee there really isn’t much incentive to be “great” when good enough is all that’s expected.

Being part of a chain means a steady flow of patients because of brand recognition. As an example, the local McDonalds or Starbucks doesn’t need to promote itself. These independent stores, as franchisees, don’t have to worry about being amazing. They simply have to be.

It’s the same with dental franchises. Business is good, because the brand is strong. And because the brand is strong, you don’t often see individual service initiatives from the franchisees.

Another factor that contributes to this is that most dentists working in chain operations only stay for two years. So quality service improvements run the risk of annoying the next dentist/franchisee because they go beyond the work they are prepared to do in order to hit the minimum brand standard.

As a customer, I always choose the independent operator.  It doesn’t mean I don’t trust the chains. I simply want my dentists to have more of a long term investment in myself and my community.

Independent operators have more “skin in the game” and they see their community and patients as more than a resource to be exploited.

As someone who has worked on both sides of this ownership model, I can say that as an independent owner the added stress of being 100% in charge is mitigated by the level of satisfaction it brings me, my team members and my patients every single day.  

If you are considering whether or not to invest in a franchise and you’d like to explore your options, click through and book a coaching call. It could be the best investment you make in your dental career.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at 413-224-2659 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help

Diversify Your Marketing to Grow Your Dental Practice

Most dental practices are eager to grow their patient list, but they don’t know the best way to go about it. Marketing can be highly confusing, and many practices simply do not have time to develop a cohesive marketing plan. There are three common results:

  1. Your team becomes so confused and overwhelmed that you end up doing nothing.
  2. You put all your eggs in one basket, throwing all your marketing dollars at a single solution.
  3. You spread your funds among too many options, making it difficult to have any real impact.

The Buying Decision Lifecycle

Fortunately, there is hope. Planned and controlled diversity is the best way to spend your marketing budget. Think through the process that prospective patients go through to make an appointment. There are three basic steps:

  1. The prospect hears about you in some way, such as a referral or a piece of advertising. However, he does not respond immediately. In general, consumers need 3 to 5 introductions to a business before they respond.
  2. The prospect researches you online. He will visit your website, read your reviews, and gather information about you, your practice, and your services.
  3. The prospect calls, emails, or completes an online form to schedule an appointment.

To maximize your return on investment (ROI) for your marketing dollars, then, you need to reach prospects at all three points in the sales funnel. Diversify your efforts between internal cheerleaders, external advertising, and your website.

Internal Cheerleaders

Your existing patients and staff members serve as valuable introductions to prospective new patients. Ask them to refer their family and friends to your practice, and to post positive reviews online. The key is getting them to do this consistently.

Invest some of your marketing dollars in referral cards for patients to hand out and in marketing materials placed around the office that remind patients to write reviews. Encourage your staff to talk to patients about referrals, and discuss the referral process at team meetings. You might even consider giving referrals a slight discount on their first appointment and/or giving a small reward to patients and staff for each referral who completes an initial appointment.

External Advertising

Once your reviews and referrals are flowing in, start marketing to your larger community. When planning your ad campaigns, remember that you need 3 to 5 introductions to each prospect. It is better to pay for a smaller advertisement that you can repeat each month than a huge glossy one that you can only afford once or twice per year. Press releases, cards or flyers at the office of someone who provides complementary services, and even writing a column for your community’s website are just a few inexpensive ways to keep your name in the public eye.

Website Considerations

It is virtually impossible these days to grow your practice without a website, but not just any website will do. Modern consumers expect a website that is well-designed, engaging, mobile friendly, and packed with useful information. It should give them reassurance that they are choosing the right dentist, and it should make it easy to see how to schedule an appointment.

Diversifying your marketing dollars throughout the buying decision lifecycle is the key to growing your patient base. For maximum ROI, focus on internal cheerleaders, external advertising, and a website that will seal the deal.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at 413-224-2659 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

4 Common Ways Dental Practice Owners Cause Themselves Stress

Owning a dental practice can be a high stress life. Not only do you need to ensure that you give your patients the best possible care, you also have to be a responsible business owner. Paying the bills, collecting debts, marketing, equipment maintenance, and constantly trying to grow your practice can quickly make you feel overwhelmed. Many dental practice owners inadvertently add to their own stress. Here’s how and what you can do to alleviate some of the burden.

Disorganized Schedule

If you are like many dentists, your schedule may be out of control. One day you are overscheduled and running behind, and the next day you have several open appointment times. This constant back and forth between too busy and not busy enough can be a huge source of stress.

To streamline your schedule, consider hiring a scheduling coordinator. This position’s primary duty is to schedule patients in a way that meets your identified production goals. Your coordinator can also develop systems to reduce last-minute cancellations and no-shows, and to manage them when they occur.

Be sure to communicate procedure times with your coordinator to ensure that each patient has the time he needs without throwing off the rest of your day. Some dentists like to take it a step further and reserve one day each week for complex cases, scheduling only 2-3 patients for that day. That way, if a procedure runs long, there is plenty of time in the schedule to compensate.

Staff Conflict

Many dentists prefer to stay out of office drama, believing that everyone involved is an adult with the skills to work it out. Unfortunately, this rarely what happens. Instead, negativity tends to fester, leading to tension and gossip and killing productivity. If things get bad enough, staff members will start to leave, and those who remain will have to pick up the slack.

Minimize staff conflict from the outset by writing detailed job descriptions that delineate who is in charge of which tasks, and by providing enough training and support that all employees are able to perform their job functions efficiently and confidently. Strive to create an atmosphere in which all staff members feel valued and able to express their concerns. Consider implementing regular teambuilding activities, from in-house pizza parties to bowling nights.

When conflicts arise, take them seriously. Encourage both sides to present their arguments in a healthy and constructive way. Listen carefully, validate their concerns, and help them reach a solution without taking sides or assigning blame.

Patient Reluctance

Many patients are reluctant to accept treatments, even when those treatments are clinically necessary. Most of the time, this is because the patient doesn’t fully understand the treatment or why it is important. Financial concerns also play a big role in patient reluctance.

In some cases, you can provide the needed patient education chairside. Strive to always explain clearly and succinctly what your diagnostic findings are and how the treatment will help. Let your patients know that your experienced office staff will help them understand their insurance benefits and out of pocket costs for the needed treatment.

Unfortunately, some patients are not so easily convinced. A treatment coordinator can be extremely valuable to your practice. She can sit with patients in a conference room or other relaxed space, away from the dental chair, to discuss the procedure in more detail. Make sure the person you select is not “salesy” in her approach, but instead is extremely knowledgeable about dental treatments and committed to patient health and wellbeing. Part of her job should be following up with patients who do not commit to treatment before leaving, always with a calm and helpful demeanor.

Low Fees

If you are undercharging by less than 10%, you are losing thousands of dollars per year. Many dentists haven’t raised their fees in decades, and may be undercharging by as much as 50%. You might be afraid to raise your fees for fear of losing patients, but the reality is that if you do not charge competitive fees, you will need to treat twice as many patients as the practice down the street. This is a recipe for stress and burnout.

Take a hard, clear-eyed look at your current fee schedule. Research your competitors’ pricing in your local area, as well as your patient income demographics. Also consider the quality of your dentistry and your customer service when deciding on your fees.

Stress is an inevitable part of life as a dental practice owner. However, there is no reason to add to your own stress levels. Hiring talented help and streamlining your practice can go a long way toward alleviating much of your stress.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at 413-224-2659 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

3 Reasons to Take Dental Patient Complaints Seriously

Complaints from your dental patients can be annoying, frustrating, and even hurtful. After all, you want only the best for your patients, and it can be hard to hear that you didn’t meet their expectations. Some patients are difficult, others have unrealistic beliefs about what is possible, and it can be tempting to simply ignore complaints, especially if you have a strong base of satisfied patients. However, it is extremely important to take every complaint seriously. Here are three reasons why.

Patients Will Leave

Patients want to feel like they matter to you. The majority of patients who are dissatisfied won’t bother complaining. They will simply find a new dentist. If someone goes to the trouble of complaining, he is likely a loyal patient who genuinely wants to help your practice improve. If you blow him off, though, he will no longer feel valued, and he will take his loyalty to another practice.

To keep patients in your practice, sit down and genuinely listen to what they have to say. Thank them for bringing up the issue, and then take active steps to improve the situation. This builds loyalty rather than destroying it. You don’t have to implement every patient suggestion, but you do need to take suggestions seriously.

Patients Will Talk

If your patients are happy with their experience at your practice, chances are good that they will recommend you to their loved ones. This is a valuable source of free marketing that can rapidly grow your patient base. If they’re unhappy, though, you can be sure they will spread that news as well. Whether they solely talk to friends and family or take their complaints to social media, you may find your patient list dwindling.

Avoiding this is as simple as making your patients feel heard. When someone complains, apologize and ask how you can fix the problem. Everyone gets complaints now and then, but how you turn them around makes all the difference to your reputation.

You Will Miss Out on Valuable Growth

Patient complaints let you know about difficulties that you might not even be aware of. Perhaps a patient is upset that he had to wait an extra half hour, or someone complains that the front desk staff brushed her off. You are in patient care all day, so you may not see what is happening in the front office. Or maybe a patient feels like you gave her an uncomfortable amount of nitrous oxide. You aren’t inside her body, so you can only see her outward reaction to the sedation.

Many times, fixing a situation that caused a complaint is easy once you know that the situation exists. Work with your scheduling coordinator to refine patient flow, coach the front desk staff in customer service, or ramp up delivery of nitrous oxide a bit more slowly. Complaints provide valuable feedback that can improve your overall efficiency and patient care.

Nobody enjoys hearing complaints, but patient complaints can be a true gift to your dental practice. Take the time to sit down and listen, apologize and validate the patient’s feelings, and work toward finding solutions. You will be surprised at how much positive change can occur.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at 413-224-2659 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

Do dentists need a business coach?

What goals did you set for yourself and your practice last year? Most small business owners, and that includes dentists, are often so busy trying to keep things from going off the rails that creating a plan and sticking to it is really hard without some sort of accountability.

A goal without a plan to achieve it is just a dream.

You may want to double your income, but how are you going to do it? What strategies are you putting in place to make that goal a reality?

This is where coaching comes into the picture.

A dental coach will help you set goals and stick to them. It’s a level of accountability that will help you prioritize what’s important and make sure that the follow-through is there.

For new dentists coming right out of school, coaching is essential when it comes to career planning. Whether the plan is to set up your own practice right away or work for someone else and pay down loans, the goal is to make sure you are always moving in the right direction and making informed choices. This type of coaching can save new dentists a lot of sleepless nights and set them on the path to success in the near, medium and long term.

For dentists who are already established, it’s important to set benchmarks and have strategies for growth – while positioning the business to compete successfully in what is becoming a very tough market.

If you are a dentist at this stage in your career, you may be wondering how you can ever compete against Managed Service Organizations and Dental Service Organizations. Corporate dentistry changing the business landscape. A dental coach will be able to show you how to thrive in this environment or prepare your practice for eventual sale. There are strong points to be made for both options. Making the choice to compete or sell is a personal one. And your coach should be able to give you the right information to make an informed choice.

Selling a dental practice is one of the biggest business decisions a dentist will ever have to make. This is especially true if the practice is your retirement plan. A dental business coach should be your first call if you are planning to sell. At this stage in your career, the goal is to put in place strategies and tactics to maximize the return on your investment and get the best price possible for your business.

As a working dentist with a winning track record in business for over 35 years, I’ve coached dentists at every point along this career trajectory. I can say for certain that it’s never too early to start.
If you want to talk about your options and discover how coaching can help your career reach its maximum potential, then send me a note and let’s schedule a short conversation.

Tips for Successfully Onboarding New Dental Employees

Why All Dental Practices Should Take Advantage of Cloud Technology

Despite its mystical name, “the cloud” is actually quite simple. It is a way of storing information, such as data and apps, on the internet rather than on a physical hard drive. Cloud technology is a vital addition to any dental practice, yet relatively few dentists understand how to integrate. Here are some reasons why all dental practices should take advantage of the cloud.

Enhanced Data Protection

If your patient records and other data are stored on your office computer’s hard drive, what happens if that drive fails? Depending on the specific issue, expensive and time consuming data recovery may be possible. Or you may lose that data forever. Storing data in the cloud makes it impervious to system failures. Think of it as emailing a document to yourself. You can bring up that data on any system, with the proper authentication, rather than relying solely on one piece of hardware. Cloud storage follows HIPAA standards, so you can be sure that your files are secure.

Less Confusion

Files that are stored in the cloud are easy for anyone with the proper credentials to access, and they are automatically saved and synced. That means if your receptionist changes a patient’s appointment time, you will be able to view that change on the computer in your office. Medication records, previous appointment history, and more can be entered once and changed as necessary without redundant conversations between you, your staff, and your patients.

The cloud also helps to minimize downtime. You don’t need to worry about running out of storage on your office computers. If one computer crashes, it is easy to log into another and carry on with the same task. Adopting cloud technology streamlines workflow and helps keep your office running smoothly.

Keeping Up with Technology

As you know, dental technology is evolving at lightning speed. Digital X-rays, 3-D CT scans, even CEREC same-day crowns are revolutionizing dental practices. Yet it is tough to argue that your office is cutting edge if you are still using yesterday’s data storage methods. Many cloud storage systems are extremely inexpensive, making this an easy and affordable way to ensure that your record-keeping technology is as advanced as your patient care technology.

It is fine to start small, testing the cloud with only limited parts of your work and gathering employee feedback. However, it is important to choose tools and features that are designed for medical and dental offices. These tools will ensure a more seamless transition from physical storage to cloud storage.

Anywhere, Anytime Connection

While it is not healthy for anyone to be constantly on call, the reality is that sometimes your staff will need something from you when you are away from the office. Whether you need to look at a patient’s file to determine whether to call in a prescription or you are planning topics to cover at your next team meeting, cloud technology lets you log in from home, the beach, or anywhere you have access to the internet. The only reason you will need to go to the office on your day off is to see a patient whose dental emergency cannot wait—not simply to wade through data files.

Adapting to any technology can be a bit frightening, but cloud technology is largely user friendly and easy to learn. Start small, choose the right tools for the job, and you will soon be taking advantage of the freedom and enhanced workflow that the cloud can provide.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at 413-224-2659 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

Dental Service Organization Trends for 2019 and Beyond

At one time, most dentists were in private practice, or perhaps a very small group practice with a partner or two. Today, though, dental service organizations (DSOs) have become all the rage. These large corporate chains of dental practices may serve one area, one state, or even multiple states, but either way, the dentists are contracted to provide services rather than owning the practice at which they work. Here is what you should know about the future of DSOs.

Growth Rate

According to a recent report by global investment banking and asset management company William Blair, DSOs are undergoing extraordinarily rapid growth. The firm estimates that the largest DSOs are growing their number of practices by roughly 13 to 14 percent per year. DSOs currently control roughly 16 percent of all dental practices in the United States, and they are on track to reach 30 percent by 2021. Meanwhile, the Health Resources Institute of the American Dental Association (ADA) notes that the number of single-owner private dental practices is shrinking by around 7 percent per year. Clearly, DSOs are not just a fad, but are the wave of the future.

What This Means for Dentists

Although the writing is on the wall, many dentists continue to fight against dental service organizations. They prefer the private practice model, and they are uninterested in developing their practices according to the DSO model. However, dentists who turn their attention to figuring out how to work within the DSO system are realizing major benefits in regard to economy of scale, professional management, soaring asset values, and enhanced negotiating power.

Taking Action

Whether you are newly out of dental school or you have been in private practice for years, now is the time to start educating yourself on DSOs and having a serious conversation about how a DSO might work for you. In many cases, it is simply a matter of finding the DSO that fits your values, theories of dentistry, and focus.

A DSO frees you up from the pressures of running your own business. You have the opportunity to give dentistry your full attention, rather than constantly having to worry about staffing, marketing, equipment failures, and other details. You can often set your own salary and hours, and since you do not need to be constantly sidelined by other tasks, you might even be able to make your desired income working part time. If you want to relocate, you can simply move to a different branch of your DSO or to a different DSO, rather than worrying about building a new practice from scratch.

However, it is vital to ensure that the DSO you choose matches the dentistry you want to practice. There is often some level of corporate control over everything from materials to techniques, and each DSO has its own areas of focus. Choosing a DSO that truly fits you as a dentist can be the difference between thriving and chafing at the perceived restrictions.

No one has to join a DSO. Private practices are shrinking, but they are far from dying out. If private practice truly suits you, there is no reason not to pursue that path. For many dentists, though, it is worth giving serious consideration to a DSO. They are strong, stable, well-financed, and unlikely to disappear anytime soon. As a serious force in dentistry, they are well worth consideration.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at 413-224-2659 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.