A Burgeoning DSO Plans for Success Through Synergy

As the movement toward consolidation in the dental industry continues to gain strength and evolve, we are seeing more and more emerging DSOs develop from two or more dentists joining forces, drawn together due to geographic proximity or specialty similarity.

When David Jones, DDS and Rob Hurley, DDS decided to merge their practices together seven years ago, they didn’t realize at the time that they had just changed the trajectory of their careers and joined the movement towards efficiencies of scale.

Initially, seven years ago, the two dentists wanted to join their practices so each could focus on different aspects of dentistry; they thought that they could be very productive by referring services to and from each other. This relationship gave both a chance to focus on the dentistry that they really like to do, yet have high-end services in almost every aspect of the field within their practices.

The two had a blast working together and bouncing ideas off each other. Over time, they realized that as they shared costs and overhead, they could hire really good managers and then they could focus on doing the dentistry they love.

About three years ago, Jones a practicing dentist for 17 years, and Hurley, practicing for about 36 years, realized that in order to continue to grow they would need a leadership team that had experience developing and maintaining a great culture.

The most important element of their executive team was that they all share the same vision.

Their first hire three years ago was Corrie Ryan, who came from a local Fortune 500 company. She has an MBA and a background leading teams in customer service and product implementation. Ryan currently serves as vice president of human resources.

Next, they hired John Lynch as the COO two years ago. John ran a staffing company for several years and also earned his MBA. His business background not only includes vast operations experience, but also experience in marketing and vendor relations.

Most recently they hired a regional manager and marketing manager, Colleen O’Leary, who had experience with taking a local company to the national level.

This year, the two dentists officially started their own DSO, Heritage Dental Partners, LLC.

Heritage wants to set themselves apart from other DSOs by emphasizing the importance of maintaining the legacy of their selling doctors, and all of the goodwill that they have built, by taking great care of their patients and making any transition go as smoothly as possible.

For the doctors that continue on with the organization, the DSO will focus on alleviating any previous stressors from the dentist with the intention of providing the dentist an atmosphere where they provide care for their patients and have time to enjoy life.

Currently, their biggest challenge is finding the right practices to acquire while staying true to their core values of integrity, selflessness, leadership, gratitude and being impeccable. So far, it has been more of a process of turning down the wrong opportunities in order to allow the right ones to develop and come into focus.

Jones and Hurly believe their biggest advantage is the community of support they provide through coaching and mentoring. Both earned a Mastership in the Academy of General Dentistry, and have trained on the technical side of dentistry with some of the best at the Pankey Institute, the Dawson Academy and the Spear Institute. They have spent the last 15 years with some great business mentors and have gained a lot of knowledge and experience with developing great business systems. They have a study club for their dentists and they routinely discuss and plan cases together.

Their business model will continue to be acquisitions. Sharing core values with selling dentists, they have had success purchasing practices from doctors who are looking to move into their next phase of life. Some dentists retire upon purchase and others stay on as an associate. Either way, maintaining the same quality of care and service that the selling doctor provided, therefore preserving their legacy, is a key philosophy of this emerging DSO.

Heritage’s short-term goals are to continue to seek out the right doctors and practices to work with. Whether this is through acquisition, or by hiring new dentists, making good decisions in this realm will help ensure their future success.

Long-term, the most important thing that they want to do is offer dentists ownership in their DSO.

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