Podcast: Dr. Kevin Coughlin answers your questions


Dr. Kevin Coughlin:   Welcome. You’re listening to Ascent Dental Solutions. My name is Dr. Kevin Coughlin, owner and creator of Ascent Dental solutions. I want to give special thanks to Mr. Doug Foresta and his company, Stand Out and Be Heard . Without his expertise and guidance, this podcast would not be available.

Today, we have a little bit of self-promotion. As you know, Ascent Dental Solutions is focused on knowledge, training, development and education. But over the last year and a half, I have been inundated with phone calls, emails, requests about what exactly is Ascent Dental Solutions? Why did I started it? What its real mission statement?

I’ve had several questions. Let’s listen to some of these questions and see where these response take us to perhaps add some expertise and maybe some additional connections to make Ascent Dental Solutions more valuable to you.

Doug Foresta: Thank you so much, Dr. Coughlin. This is Doug Foresta, of course. I thought where we’d start is, one of questions they have is; Ascent Dental Solutions, is it a dental company or is it something else? Maybe you can talk about what that “something else” is.

Do you want to get your dental career started on the right path? Are you looking to put in place the practices and procedures to make your existing dental business more profitable? Send Dr. Coughlin a quick email today!

Kevin: Sure. First, it’s a limited liability company. It is its own entity. Really, the crux of it is why do we even have it? Why did I create it? I created it because since 2006, I was asked by Tufts School of Dental Medicine if I could provide elective information in the evening to the dental students. It was really outside of Tufts School of Dental Medicine. I provided the lectures, the seminars and information generally to senior dental students and to graduate students who were preparing to get into what I’ll call “the real world”. The business of health care, and in particular, the business of dentistry.

It was clear that the dental school, like most of the 60 dental schools, did not have the time in their curriculum, or perhaps even the expertise to talk about the business of dentistry. How do you select your first job? What are the steps? How do you make sure that that first job or career is as successful as possible? What questions to ask? How to ask these questions? What information should you obtain and how do you dissect this information to make the best decisions?

Understand that many of these young men and women, or new graduates, have had zero business experience. They are still learning the craft and the profession of dentistry and in health care and in medicine, but really lacked the educational background in accounting, legal, in business, sales, marketing to make decisions that would be informed. That really was my start.

My own personal business had grown from 1983 to present from one dental office with four dental operatories to 14 distinct dental offices, all located in western Massachusetts. Each office is self-contained, but all the offices are linked through cloud. Prior to the cloud-based systems, we were using what were referred to as T1, T2, T3 lines. Today, these businesses are all linked so digital photographs, digital impressions, clinical notes, insurance data information are all linked together for evaluation and treatment planning, and to provide a continuity of care.

During these 35 years of practicing clinical dentistry, and the business of dentistry, I would say a day doesn’t go by where someone doesn’t contact me and ask very similar questions. They fall into a variety of topics, but one topic is a group of dentists that want to emulate or copy the processes and procedures to establish a bigger footprint. They have various reasons, some are purely economical. They want to build a practice so that they are more financially secure. Others want to build a larger footprint and practice to compete against MSOs and DSOs. And others just are short of bored. They are excited, they are entrepreneurs, and they want to see how far they can take their business and they want to know the steps and processes I used to accomplish that.

Other groups are not interested in growing their business at all. They are happy with the size of their practice. They just wish it ran more efficiently, more effectively. They are looking for processes and procedures that they’ve read in one of my three books that really go into the business; the nuts and bolts of running a successful dental practice. But really, the processes and procedures for a successful business practice are similar to any successful business. What are the steps? What are the processes and procedures?

As these questions continued to occur, I felt that it would be a very efficient and effective way to partner up. I partnered up with Mr. Doug Foresta who had been listening, hearing and watching my career develop. Basically, what he said is a very efficient cost-effective way to get your information and knowledge out and share it with your profession and other practitioners are through podcasting and webinar. It’s one of the best business decisions I made, and his company Stand Out and Be Heard, has been a tremendous inspiration and have allowed me to express my views and recommendations to a much larger range of individuals. Not only that, but allowed me to network with individuals that I would not have had the luxury to network. That’s really what this podcast is about.

I have another question. Doug, go right ahead.

Doug: Sure. Thank you, Kevin. One of the things that we‘ve been getting feedback from brands, businesses, dentists, saying how we can partner with you? We like what you’re doing, we know that dentistry is undergoing a change, the profession is undergoing a change. How can we partner with you? How can we be a part of Ascent Dental Solutions? Maybe we could tell listeners a little bit about some of the opportunities and ways that we’re looking to partner with brands and individuals.

Kevin: One of the things I’ve learned over the last 35 years is no one can do it by themselves. I always relate, when I am speaking to dentists, to the clinical aspect. It’s very difficult to be an implant surgeon, a prosthodontist, a periodontist, an orthodontist, a pediatric dentist. You need experts for support and you need experts to provide the highest level of care in service.

In business, the actual business of dentistry, the partnerships are incredibly important, whether it’d be for marketing, sales, hardware, software, supplies, leaderships roles, consultations. There is an entire network out there that are at our fingertips, but we don’t know how to connect. I’m hoping through Ascent Dental Solutions that these connections can be made.

For those individuals who would like to share the partners that we’ve created over the last 18 months with 50 or so podcasts, and several webinars, and different connections, I’m suggesting that you contact and reach out to www.ascent-dental-solutions.com. On that web, you will be able to connect with me personally. And if you’re interested in linking up with Ascent Dental Solutions, with an emphasis on education, training, development and knowledge, I would welcome your expertise. The more we network, the more we educate our peers, the greater our organization becomes.

There are numerous threats, opportunities available to our profession. And depending on what side of the fence you sit, what may be a threat to one group could be an opportunity to another group. As you know, competition with dental service organizations, managed service organizations, the constant marketing of large corporations sort of honing in, competing with the solo boutique practice is relatively new to the profession.

I think we all know that it’s very, very difficult for a small supermarket to compete with Costcos. It’s very, very difficult for a small hardware store to compete with Home Depots or Lowe’s. And it may become very difficult for the solo practitioner, whether they be a specialist or a generalist, to compete with these managed service organizations.

I’m not here to say one is better or worse, one is right or wrong. But I do feel that as a profession we have to understand how do we compete with these groups, how do we work with these groups, and how do we function with these groups? There are specific processes and procedures that I’ve learnt through my own clinical training, my own business training, that I think can be helpful.

I ask you to consider reaching out to www.ascent-dental-solutions.com and consider taking your ideas, your company and yourself and interacting with us so that we can provide better information, more information, to establish us as a think tank for our profession. We’re not here to give our bias, but we’re here to provide information and data so that you can make your own decisions that are best for you, your family and your company.

Doug: Let me just say a little bit about some of the ways that we’ve already been partnering, again, with individuals and brands. One thing is if you have a message that dentists need to hear, we’d love to have you as a guest on Ascent Dental Radio. We had recently topics including; you’ve heard Jerry Jones returning to the podcast and talking about patient retention. And you’ve heard about embezzlement and the problem of embezzlement in dentistry and what dentists can do. But we’ve also partnered with great brands like VOCO. They make dentist…

Kevin:       They provide some of the best dental supplies for dentists throughout the world. Patterson Dental, Henry Schein, we’ve had marketing experts, we’ve had seminar experts such as Jenny St. George. The list is really too numerous to repeat on this podcast, but what I have received is superior feedback saying that these connections are helping our listeners. It occurred to us that by just self-promoting Ascent Dental Solutions, and saying that we’re open to listening to your ideas and suggestions, and we’re open to having you join our conversations and provide knowledge, information, training to our listeners, I don’t think there could be an easier or better way.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast. You’ve been listening to Dr. Kevin Coughlin and this is www.ascent-dental-solutions.com. My special thanks to Mr. Doug Foresta. Without his expertise in podcasting, in information sharing, this podcast would not be possible. Thank you again and we look forward to speaking to you in the very near future.