Looking at all of the flavors at the the ice cream or frozen yogurt store is a good reminder for any business: There are lots of keys to success, but there is one sure key to failure: try to be everything to everyone. That’s why most practices tend toward a specific “flavor” or type of practice.
Let’s take a look at what flavor your practice is:
Vanilla: The 1st Generation Practice – takes whatever it is dealt. This is the practice that hung out a shingle and hoped for the best. It is a practice that is happy for whatever type of patient that happens to walk through the door. With no real philosophy of care, it’s the patients in a 1st Generation Practice that dictate treatment and the treatment plan. The practice is always in dire need of new patients because patient retention is very low.
Chocolate: The 2nd Generation Practice – has more of an emphasis on taking care of patients’ oral heath. It is a practice that will insist on a complete exam and taking care of the patient’s hygiene needs. It will focus on keeping the hygiene schedule full and trying to do the right thing for the patient. Restoratively, the practice will focus on the needs of the patient or diagnosing what the obvious needs are. But without a lot of good verbal skills, the practice is filled with crown of the year patients who do only what their insurance will cover.
Strawberry: The 3rd Generation Practice – has a core focus on cosmetic dentistry. It has positioned itself as the place where the patient can have the smile of his or her dreams. 80% or more of its production comes from cosmetic and restorative dentistry with less emphasis on hygiene. It has spent more time on case presentation and verbal skills. Average case size will be much larger and the practice depends on those last few cases every month in order to make a profit.
Neopolitan: The 4th Generation Practice – has taken a balanced approach to practice development working on a solid clinical philosophy of care, management systems, and case presentation and verbal skills. Its goal is to address the whole patient, not just the patients’ teeth. It starts by trying to understand where the patient is coming from and what the patient perceives to need. It has the systems in place to engage the patient in comprehensive dentistry and life-time care. It addresses whole health issues and the individual goals of the patient. It is very keyed into continuing care and making sure the short AND long term desires of the patient are met.
So just as there are patients in each of the 4 quadrants, practices tend to land more strongly in one of the quadrants as well. Where does your practice land? Is it there by design or by default? Where do you want it to be? What can you do to move it in the direction you want it to be?