Why Solo Practice Won’t Make It!
When it comes to the ‘business’ of dental practice, the majority of dentists are inflexible and unwilling to embrace change. Given this resistance, they are blind to the many opportunities becoming available as a result of these changes. They are unable to recognize the possibilities created by these changes and are unprepared to exploit them. Dentists fail to appreciate that competition, economics and technology are constantly combining forces that are reshaping dental delivery and the form of dental practice.. One reason for this strong resistance is that dentists never aspired to master skills in business management or leadership. For them, becoming great clinicians was their primary focus, not to become great business leaders and managers. Management and leadership showed up as a “have to,” not a “want to.”
Dentists are continuously focused on becoming top-of-the-rank clinicians. In this pursuit of clinical mastery, dentists are very open to change – learning new techniques, applying new methods and materials, attending programs and courses. In clinical dentistry, change is embraced. Dentists see change as a way of delivering better care to patients and expanding their clinical and diagnostic skill-set. But this same desire for mastery is not pursued in business management or leadership. And this has left them extremely vulnerable as other business models emerge and challenge the future of solo practice.
The pursuit of mastery continues to forward the desire for learning. New concepts and models are valued. Look at the menu of services now offered in dental offices compared to 10 years ago. Radically different. Now consider the business of practice. It hasn’t changed in 50 years. The offices are prettier and sleeker and equipped with technology to enhance their systems, but in essence they are the same as they have always been. That is until the last ten years when managed group practices arrived and are now in dynamic growth.
Dentists who have a strong desire to master business leadership and management see managed group practice as the path to achieve this mastery. That is one big reason managed group practices are growing exponentially. Dentists in solo practice who have little desire to become great business leaders and managers create a vacuum for those who do, and that is quickly being filled.
No physician leaving residency expects to open a solo practice. Their primary desire is to practice medicine, not run a business. Group practice is the norm. In less than ten years, it will be the same for dentists.