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a blog by Chris Barrow

Another thinking day ahead

Tuesday morning and I’ve been awake since 5.30am and pottering about before starting on this week’s ezine and more business contemplation. Yesterday, I stopped work at 2.00pm local time, after hosting a telephone conference call with some of my UK dentists. The primary topic of conversation was, surprise, surprise, associate profitability and how a single-handed practitoner makes his/her practice profitable without recruiting potentially unprofitable dentists? My response was to highlight the following:

  1. Most associates are not deliberately lazy or unprofitable – they are just working in lousy conditions, seeing patients that the principal doesn’t want to see, working with demotivated teams in poor environments. They are also working on a remuneration contract that doesn’t work in the current climate but is embedded due to history, supply and demand (but not for much longer). Add to that the requirement to hit unrealistic UDA targets and you have a recipe for failure;

  2. So the secret (if you recruit associates in a private practice) is to identify the 5% who are “up for it” and willing to learn – that’s a dental needle in a haystack but

  3. There is also the possibility of looking at a new dental business model – the dentist working with a team of therapists to provide basic dental maintenance. If I “came back as a dentist” that’s a model I’d be looking at very carefully and

  4. Finally – if you own the freehold of the building – think “landlord” not “dentist” – and determine how many of the rooms in your building can generate income whilst you are away – either let the rooms on a sessional basis to other healthcare providers or on a long-term let to a non-health related business.

So I think I widened the debate for those attending. After my working day I wanted some time to chill out. The afternoon was spent window-shopping at The Eaton Centre – prematurely decked with a giant Santa, sleigh and reindeer. In and out of clothes shops, electronic shops and a quick lunch of pesto pasta.

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