Change is not an easy thing for most people. In fact, more people are probably resistant to it than they are accepting. Whether it’s in your personal life or your dental practice, change takes patience and belief that you are doing the right thing for the sake of the desired goal.
As my brother mentioned in his “Are you a CE junky” article, we want to help you implement the Spear philosophy in YOUR practice. We strongly believe that the Spear model is something that is achievable within any dental practice. We can talk from firsthand experience because this was the direction we took in our practice, and we have seen amazing results.
We felt it was the most beneficial approach from a patient, doctor and team perspective. Expect there to be roadblocks, but face them head on and be confident that you can get past them. We will share some of the obstacles we’ve faced over the years and how we did our best to keep our practice moving in the right direction.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world” was a famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi and one that has moved many people. I believe that if you expect to see change, it must first start within.
Some may ask, “Why should I move my practice in this direction?” Well, most of us have made a significant commitment by investing in the high level of education that Spear provides. We took time away from our lives to educate ourselves and ultimately set ourselves apart from the competition.
I feel setting yourself apart is a necessity due to having multiple options for dentists within a short distance from one another. It’s easier to set yourself apart when you implement the knowledge that you’ve learned at Spear into your everyday practice. This holds true because there’s not a large percentage of dentists with this knowledge. We found that patients immediately saw a difference with our practice compared to their previous dental experiences.
It didn’t happen overnight though. As Frank and many other Spear faculty have said, don’t make too many changes at once. I believe in doing it in a systematic way that is easy to track, comfortable for your team to adapt, and most importantly at a pace that is comfortable for YOU. Remember, that is where it all starts. So if you feel you’re getting too overwhelmed with all the changes, then you can be sure that your team feels the same way.
What’s the biggest obstacle to overcome? I don’t believe there’s just one, and there are probably many that come to mind based on the type of practice you currently have. The key is to identify them and create processes to overcome them. Here are some examples of barriers that we were forced to address in order to take our practice in the direction we wanted:
- “What about insurance?” Most of us participate with insurance, but we don’t need to let it dictate how we want to practice. We were selective about which carriers we participated with based on reimbursement, but didn’t want to eliminate insurance all together because we needed to stay competitive in our area. Having more patients in the practice enabled us to talk to more people about the comprehensive approach.
- “The initial visit is too long and not profitable.” We don’t look at our initial exam visit as a profit center, but rather as a center for all future profits. The initial exam is what will set you apart right from the first visit. We found a great place to start was with new patients … they thought we were doing it this way forever and saw the value once they experienced it.
- “I don’t know if I can do it.” Be confident that you can and apply the “Three-Month Rule” - try something new for three months and see what happens. You can always change or modify the system based on the results. This is the approach we took and never looked back.
- “I’m worried about delivering.” Believe that you and your team can exceed the patient's expectations, and trust that you are competent enough to perform comprehensive dentistry on a regular basis. The training we have received from Spear gives us the skill set to make it happen.
- “My team won’t buy in.” Guide, train and motivate. Create systems to make the processes run smooth. Take the time to train and get everyone on the same page. Input from team members can help create ownership and a sense of accomplishment.
- “My patients will not like this.” Remember that new patients don’t know what to expect, and not all new patients may be the right fit for your practice. Existing patients can be presented the opportunity of a comprehensive exam, but may elect to maintain the status quo. To this day, we’ve had nothing but positive feedback in regards to our approach to comprehensive care.
Keep in mind, these were some of the obstacles that we faced and they didn’t all present themselves at once. Your obstacles may look a bit different, but the important thing is to make the commitment that you will get by whatever stands in your way. It starts with us, so be the change for your team and work together to overcome your specific barriers. In the end, you will find it to be very rewarding for the practice, patients, team, and YOU!
Dave Monokian, DDS