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a blog by Chris Barrow

Monday morning in Milan

I’m here for my quarterly meeting with Adec (that’s the dental practice and not the manufacturer).

The practice is 30 years old and has 13 chairs, plus a beauty and fitness business, as well as a special focus on children’s dentistry.

Today I’ll be facilitating meetings with each of the customer service and treatment co-ordination teams, deconstructing their patient experience and looking at how we can improve.

Tomorrow I’ll be working with the marketing team on further developing their internal word of mouth and digital recommendation systems. We now have a “Barrowed-up” web site in place and the team are gradually adopting all of those internal rituals that I’m constantly talking about.

I promised some feedback from the BDIA Showcase so, in summary:

  1. Feedback from Thursday was that the show was very quiet – note to the BDIA that they should make it a 2-day event;

  2. Friday nicely busy, Saturday morning quiet, Saturday afternoon very busy, in spite of dreadful weather in London;

  3. As always in the big city, a high proportion of students in attendance;

  4. My own focus was, of course, the FiveGoForth stand kindly constructed by Planmeca and our efforts to increase the total funds raised was very successful, taking us to almost £38,000 (including Gift Aid);

  5. Spinning on “that” bike was hot work – the lack of circulating air in the conference hall made for a very sweaty experience but I did manage to total 54km on Friday;

  6. So many others took their turn on the bike as well – thank you all;

  7. The highlight of the conference for me was innocently accepting the challenge from Karl O’Higgins to compete with CDO Sara Hurley in a 15-minute time trial on the spin-bike. Little did I know that Sara attends spinning classes multiple times during the week and it’s her main fitness activity. I have to say that she is fantastic company and committed 100% enthusiasm and effort to the FiveGoForth cause;

  8. The result – she smashed out 8.6km on the bike and I knew I was in trouble! I’m going to claim a creditable 8.2km in the same time but, as Sara said, the only “winners” were the charities;

  9. Before we began I tongue-in-cheek asked Sara if we could swap jobs for a week if I won. I’m exceptionally excited to tell you that my second prize was to shadow her for a day at her job – and that she agreed! We are working on a date and I’ll let you know the outcome. My thanks to Sara and her CDO support team at the conference for being such good sports;

  10. The mood of the conference seemed very positive to me, in spite of the concerns about the future of NHS ortho mentioned last week. The “D” word dominates – digital;

  11. My final point – I was approached by no less than 4 separate people, each of whom explained that they were interested in buying practices and had secured institutional funding. It seems that the City are looking at the independent private sector in dentistry – watch out BUPA, Portman and Dentex – there’s competition on the way. Having said that, I do speculate on just how many practices there are left to buy as the exodus from ownership continues?


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