So you've made the decision to expand operations and bring in an associate. Congratulations. But now that you have arrived at that answer, there are a few new pressing questions you need to address, and you need to do it before you start talking to associate candidates.

These are questions that are bound to come up in any discussions, so you need to be ready with informed answers. These are also questions that will greatly affect the team, so I suggest you tackle them as a team and invite everyone's suggestions.

Here are the five key issues to consider:

1. Calendar and office hours
With a new provider comes new possibilities. Will you and the new associate work essentially the same hours but at greater capacity, or will you expand hours into evenings and weekends? If so, who will work when? In other words, how will you optimize the office calendar to take advantage of the new production capabilities?

2. Operatory and scheduling
Who is going to work where, and when?

3. Hygiene activity
Will the new associate be participating in hygiene? If so, how? Will they be doing routine hygiene checks, or will they be expected to perform some hygiene care appointments, at least in the early months as they become familiar with the patients?

4. New patients
How will they be divided between providers? Will the new dentist be seeing more of them as part of a long-term transition plan? What about the ones who were invited to the practice by patients of the senior dentist?

5. Case presentation
How much support will the new dentist need to get up to speed on the practice's standards and expectations? How will this affect a treatment coordinator's duties?

Of course, these are just a few of the questions that need to be sorted out well before bringing a new dentist into the practice, but they are among the most crucial ones. Getting absolute clarity on these considerations right from the start—clarity for yourself, your team and the new dentist—will save you a lot of unnecessary headaches as the plan goes into effect. That way you don't have to waste time sorting out the basics (and perhaps creating ill will for those whose expectations aren't aligned with yours) and instead all of you can focus on the excitement of entering a new era of growth for the practice.


Commenter's Profile Image Jon W Caulfield
April 22nd, 2014
Great Questions and Thoughts regarding this exciting yet stressful opportunity along the journey of dentistry. Now, what do you find are the best answers or choices for the long term success of a practice with multiple doctors and added team members?