Any dentist will tell you that the dental profession is undergoing significant change. While most dentists are still small business dental practice owners, increasing numbers of dentists are becoming employees of corporate owned dental offices. Statistics show that the percentage of private practice dental offices is decreasing as corporate dental offices expand their presence through the acquisition of private practices and the development of new offices.
Yours truly receives regular solicitations to "monetize my investment" by selling my office to a corporate owner. I've got nothing against monetizing an investment - I've sold stocks for a profit and hope you, dear reader, have earned nice returns on your investments as well. But is an orthodontic office, and particularly the patients that come with that office, an investment like a stock or real estate? I say no. My patients' trust, is not something that I am entitled to turn into personal profit.
But a lot of people say yes. Lots. So let's call this a difference of opinion. I've got a strong opinion on this and since this is my blog, I've listed below why the cottage industry model of dental care (AKA private practice) rocks - for both the patient and the doctor. Here's hoping dental professionals will always have the opportunity to work for themselves as private practicing dentists and dental specialists.
1. EFFICIENT STRUCTURE - The patient gets to see the boss every time. All comments, complaints and compliments go right to the top.
2. ACCOUNTABILITY - The boss has a vested interest in happy patients. Business decisions have to consider impact on patients, not just profit.
3. LOCAL IMPACT - Private practices are locally owned and operated. As members of the community, private practice owners help shape the economic environment of the area.
4. STABILITY - Unlike corporate owned offices, which will change ownership as well as dental staff, private practice owners often spend their entire career in one location.
5. LEADERSHIP - Private practice owners will develop leadership skills as their practices mature. “Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” - Vince Lombardi
6. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT - Small business is the economic driver of the US and provides for over half of the jobs in the US.
Ellis Orthodontics and so many of my private practice dental colleagues truly value the support of our patients. I encourage my readers to support their neighborhood dental offices, as well as their local small businesses.