The Group Dentistry Now Show: The Voice of the DSO Industry – Episode 166

DSO Podcast HuFriedyGroup

Sarah Anders, Vice President of Sales for North America at HuFriedyGroup, joins Kim Larson on this audio-only Group Dentistry Now podcast. Sarah offers a fresh perspective on the challenges faced by Dental Support Organizations (DSOs) and discusses the solutions from a vendor’s viewpoint. Key discussion points include:

  • Insights into HuFriedyGroup’s strong relationships with dental and dental hygiene schools, providing a unique perspective on the transition from student to practitioner.
  • Discussion on how both HuFriedyGroup and the DSO market have evolved over time and the strategic structuring of their team to effectively serve the DSO market.
  • Analysis of the transformations within the DSO sector.
  • Overview of HuFriedyGroup’s Annual Infection Control and Compliance Summit, highlighting its significance and value to DSOs.
  • Sarah’s predictions and insights on developments in the DSO space over the next three to five years.

To learn more about HuFriedyGroup visit – HuFriedyGroup – Dental Supplies & Equipment

To contact Sarah, email her at Follow Sarah on LinkedIn:

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Full DSO Podcast Transcript:

Kim Larson: Hello and welcome to the Group Dentistry Now show. I’m your host, Kim Larson. I want to take a moment to thank our audience who could be considered the most well-informed audience in the DSO space. Your decision to hit play and immerse yourself in our podcast is a testament to your thirst for knowledge and your commitment to your personal and professional growth. Whether you’ve been with us since day one or have just recently discovered our podcast, thank you. Without you, we couldn’t have fresh perspectives or simply enjoy thought-provoking discussions like the one we’re going to have today. I think you’re really going to like this podcast. Let’s get right into it. I want to extend a big welcome to Sarah Anders. Sarah is the Vice President for North American Dental Shales at Hugh Freedy Group, where she oversees all North American accounts, including private practice business, academic and government institutions, CSOs, corporate accounts, and strategic markets. Her responsibilities also include meeting customer care, training, and education. Sarah has more than 25 years of dental industry experience. Welcome to the Group Dentistry Now Show, Sarah.

Sarah Anders: Thank you, Kim. It’s great to be here, and I’ve always admired Group Dentistry Now and the platform, and I can’t wait to get started.

Kim Larson: Great. Well, Sarah, you have had an impressive, I guess I could say amazing career arc. Could you give our audience a rundown of where you’ve been, what you’ve done, and what led you to Hubridi Group?

Sarah Anders: Yeah, absolutely. I’d be happy to. You know, I’m really, um, I feel very blessed that I was able to find the dental industry. Um, I started my career journey in dental and you know what they say, if you’re in it for three years, you’re in it for life. So, um, that is definitely me. It is a passion. I love being able to contribute to, uh, the industry, to the practices, to clinicians, um, really across the country and across North America and the world. So, I started my career in sales. I started with a leading manufacturer and I started carrying the bag for their restorative line of products and then transitioned into products more related to hygiene instrumentation, specifically on the ultrasonic scaling side. So that’s how I started my career in dentistry. I very quickly looked at how I could make an impact, how I could be more impactful for clinicians in my territory. And I was able to use CRM as a tool. It was the analog version of CRM, I hate to say, but it was, but I could recognize through that, that clinicians had unique needs in the marketplace. And I quickly realized that it was important to deliver education, education around products and clinical outcomes and techniques related to different aspects of dentistry and dental hygiene. And so in my local territory, I was able to connect with a local opinion leader And she and I collaborated on developing programs specifically for hygienists on ultrasonic scaling. And it was amazing to see the groundswell of having that information and being able to really deliver quality technique information as well as clinical information so that they could meet their patient needs better. From there, I was lucky enough that the company I worked with recognized this benefit and I moved into more of a quote-unquote corporate role and founded their first education and training department. So, it’s been really a fun journey that was a positive experience and From then on, it really gave me the confidence to be bold and bring new ideas forward. And for those who are starting their career, put yourself out there, right? Try something new, try something different, and see how it can drive positivity in your organization and for your customer or for your patient, specifically from a DSL perspective. With this mindset, I was blessed then to relocate to the U.S., and I’m originally Canadian. And in the U.S., I’ve led sales, marketing, operations teams focused on customers across dentistry. So dentists, hygienists, DSOs, schools, government, and dealer partners. So really a broad range. across my career. Today with the HufredyGroup, our mission is to help dental professionals around the world be best in practice. Most dental professionals recognize HufredyGroup for our market-leading instrumentation.  So I’m passionate about strong brands that drive dentistry forward and I’m proud of my incredible sales team, an education team that works tirelessly to deliver an incredible customer experience. So it’s great to be here to share.

Kim Larson: Yeah. Well, you definitely have a well-rounded and impressive dental career. And you’re right. Once you enter dental, you really don’t leave. But I think that that’s a good thing, right?

Sarah Anders: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the community is amazing. And I think you know, whether it’s the DSL community, clinicians, industry, everybody’s committed to delivering exceptional patient care. And you can really tell their hearts in what they do every single day. And at the end of the day, oral health is connected to systemic health. So deriving that patient experience and better care is just making our population healthier and healthier every single day.

Kim Larson: Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, given Hugh Freedie’s strong presence in dental schools and dental hygiene schools, you must have some unique insights into student to practitioner paths, right?

Sarah Anders: Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, Hugh Friede is and the Hugh Friede group has always been committed to providing a foundation of support with clinicians. And it’s really a philosophy of supporting clinicians from school to retirement, no matter what path. that journey may take. And that holds true today. So we actually have an amazing team of clinical education managers who are registered dental hygienists, and they work with dental schools, dental hygiene schools to coordinate instrumentation and our other products to fit within the curriculum. So I think many clinicians out there will sort of reflect back to their time in dental school or dental hygiene school and think on that memorable day of kit delivery when they’re getting their first kit of instruments and what that means. And our team is so proud to be able to be part of that delivery and that experience. And it’s a special day for students, and it’s a really special day for our school’s team as well, because they love to see the students’ faces light up as they grasp that instrument for the first time in their career. You know, the other thing, Kim, is that we don’t take this lightly. The connection between the clinician and the instrument is really an intimate one. You know, when you speak with clinicians, and I’ve heard this when I was in the field talking to clinicians as a sales rep and throughout my career, when you speak to clinicians, they often say that it works in my hands. I choose that product because it works in my hands. So we don’t take that connection lightly because ultimately, instruments are that direct connection with the clinician. And so we always want to make sure that that’s the best experience that they can have.

Kim Larson: Absolutely. You have an interesting perspective because you oversee so many different parts of the Hugh Freedy group businesses and DSO obviously is one of them. During your time at Youth Greedy Group, how has the structure of your team changed, would you say, to better serve the DSO market?

Sarah Anders: Yeah, that’s a great question. You know, before I address that, I think one of the unique things is that our foundation within schools and the connection with the school’s team and new students and then, of course, new graduates is really to that’s the foundation of that transition of clinicians into practice, whether it’s a private practice or a DSO practice. So really, our our our journey starts there. And that’s, I think, also critically important to DSOs and private practices as well. So that as clinicians move into their new role as clinicians, they’ve got that stronger foundation and it’s a a transition that becomes smooth into practice. So, you know, as QFREDI, we really believe in, we have a strong foundation of customer truths and what clinicians want to deliver from a patient perspective. And, you know, if we think about that, there is a true desire for patient outcomes to be predictable and positive. We believe that the office should have a workplace harmony, so a low-stress work environment, peace of mind relative to infection control and compliance, and then the desire for simplified procedures facilitating clinical efficiency and optimal workflow is really critical. then patient advocacy for their practice. Whether it’s a digital comment, a word of mouth, having patient advocacy so that patients spread the word about how fabulous their experience was, we think it’s very important and matters to all of our customers. And then, of course, at the end of the day, practices need to be growing and profitable Ultimately, customers access credible and reliable subject matter experts, people that they can trust. They want customized solutions that meet their unique needs, whether it’s a small practice or a very large practice. a small you know mid-sized DSO with 10 and 15 practices or a national DSO. So we want to make sure we can have those solutions that can be customized to those practices and then meaningful touch points. So how do we connect and how do we make sure we’re delivering that value to our customer base. So that’s those at the end of the day are our customer truths and from a DSO perspective In a private practice perspective, we see those as the fundamental foundation of how we show up as a free group to support our foundation, which is best in practice. So as we look at the DSO team for us, we want to deliver value. One of the things that we’ve done is rather than really create a separate DSO team per se, we have all of our regional account managers as experts in practice workflow, compliance, and efficiency. They have a number of value-added services like sterilization, observations, and instrumentation audits that they can deliver to practices. And they’re highly knowledgeable about DSOs and the needs that DSOs have, as well as private practice. We do have a dedicated national accounts team relative to large DSOs that may have practices across multiple states across the country. So what we want to do is make sure it’s a seamless experience. And we’re not going to segment our team between DSO and private practice, but rather we want to be able to make sure we’re addressing that practice’s needs. And we want to make sure we have coverage so that we can support DSOs, whether they’re a smaller DSO, a medium DSO, or a national DSO. And so we really have a fully integrated approach with our regional account managers as account specialists delivering on those customer truths.

Kim Larson: Yeah, that’s great. So it sounds like you’re interfacing with DSO customers of all shapes and sizes. Is there any consistent theme that you see as the biggest challenge that those DSOs are asking for if you need help on?

Sarah Anders: You know, I think from a challenges perspective, or different things that DSLs are facing, you know, one of the things I think we all hear Kim is recruiting and retaining talent, and making sure they’re delivering an amazing patient experience for their customers. And so that’s really where Fee Freedie Group can really come in and help because um wildly believe the foundation of our school to practice transition is very meaningful so that um if a clinician can um come into a practice and with that instrumentation with the products that they’re used to using in dental school then it becomes a more seamless transition into practice and in fact We’ve had a couple of our DSOs who have actually purchased extra product and had them at different conventions and events so that as they’re looking at recruiting talent and expertise, they’re showing the quality of instrumentation and the type of instrumentation they’re going to be using when they come to that DSO. So I think that’s one aspect of what’s really critically important to DSOs and then also how we can bring a unique solution. I would say the second is really around compliance and consistency of workflows. So as an organization, we use Lean, Prexables, Kaizen, and that piece too. internally, but we bring that same mindset to our product solutions. So we really look at how we can deliver consistency through the office, through our products, we do offer sterilization observations, which is an amazing comprehensive service that offices can utilize. And our team members can come in and follow a step by step process that really evaluates The practice flow evaluates some of the compliance and infection control activities they’re doing, and then give them a full standardized report, following that with some key recommendations. And to build on that, we also offer a service called Green Light, and Green Light is our compliance platform that really is catered to the needs and to the requirements from a national, state, and regional perspective. So that it’s a portal that offices can keep key documentation, can refer to for guidelines, And it’s really a seamless compliance option to help support those offices, whether it’s a small national DSO again or a smaller regional DSO.

Kim Larson: Well, sounds like you’ve got it covered. To your first point, you’re right. You know, dental students transitioning face many challenges, so many challenges. So having instruments that they’re comfortable using, they’re familiar with, it just makes everyone’s life easier. Yeah.

Sarah Anders: Again, it goes to you know, it’s hard transitioning into practice, whether you’re, you know, you’re starting your own practice or going to a DSO, moving to that speed of clinical dentistry that demanded every single day from school, it has been adjustment for new clinicians throughout the years. And I think, you know, as I talked about that intimate relationship between the clinician’s hand and the instrumentation, That’s one piece that I think if you can make that seamless, it helps with other aspects of transitioning into practice from school.

Kim Larson: Yeah, makes sense. Since 2014, we’ve been doing group dentistry now since 2014, and we’ve seen a lot of changes in the DSO space since then, a lot. And I’m assuming you have as well. What have you noticed? What are the changes that you’ve noticed in the DSO space since you joined 3D group?

Sarah Anders: Yeah. You know, I think the changes are really relative to a lot of different factors. And, you know, if we if we look at the transformational, you know, things that are happening across dentistry, I think it’s directly impacted by somewhat the consumerism of patients, too. I think as we as society and our demands of what we expect change, so too does the requirements of what we need to provide as an industry, as a practice. you know, I look at sort of the big picture and the influences even outside of dentistry, excuse me, and it’s, you know, there’s a lot of pieces that go into that. So, you know, if you choose it when you’re graduating, if you’re choosing between private practice or DSOs, I think one of the unique things that DSOs brings for clinicians is this ability to career path versus and within a larger organization versus maybe having a solo private practice or a small private practice and being more entrepreneurial and running your own business, right? And managing that business from A to Z. Whereas, you know, within a DSO, depending on the size of that DSO, there’s true career pathing that can happen as a clinician within the DSO or as, you know, a team member or what have you. So I think that’s pretty unique. I think graduates today, too, are leaving school looking for opportunities. And if they have a spouse or a partner, they’re probably also looking at opportunities and where their career path is going to go. And so DSLs offer a unique ability to be able to relocate and have your spouse who may be an accountant or a physician who may be relocating. so that you can really have that flexibility as a double income family to grow your career path. And then I think focus on patient care is really critical. So if you look at clinicians and why they choose DSOs, they can focus on patient care versus running the business. And we hear that oftentimes from clinicians that practice in the DSO space.

Kim Larson: Okay, great points. So just changing topics here a little bit. I’ve heard Q3D Group’s Annual Infection Control and Compliance Summit is a valuable event for DSOs. Can you talk about that event a little bit? Can you explain what it’s all about and why DSOs find it so valuable?

Sarah Anders: Yeah, absolutely. And we were excited to have group dentistry class last year, which was fabulous. So to have Bill there. Yeah. Yeah, and it is an amazing event. You know, it’s unique in that it really focuses on that infection control and compliance. So we work with a lot of the compliance coordinators, the chief compliance officers, team leads, many of who may wear multiple hats within the practice or within the DSO as well. So, each year the agenda is really changing. So, it’s a dynamic agenda. What we want to do is make sure that we’re delivering on contemporary topics that are top of mind for DSOs around infection control and compliance. And the attendees range really from large DSOs to small, medium DSOs. And as DSOs grow, supporting a team with consistency, whether it’s in instrument processing, clinical workflow, documentation, that’s really critical. So we focus on key aspects around that, but not exclusive to that.

Kim Larson: When is the next event? Do you know when that is?

Sarah Anders: We’re actually in the midst of planning that right now. So date is TBD and to be announced. But yeah, we’re excited about what the next event will hold.

Kim Larson: That’s great. Did you have anything else that you wanted to add about the event?

Sarah Anders: Yeah, I think, you know, more specifically, typically, we do it live. And it’s usually with thought leaders across a number of different topics. But I think what really resonates with the group that comes and where they really get value is the networking with other compliance officers or individuals who really look at these aspects of what needs to happen in running the practice day to day so that they can share ideas and experiences. And the other piece is we set aside time to meet with our product experts. So this is time where they can schedule to rotate and really ask specific questions. So, for example, if they have a lot of topics around dental unit water, lighting, maintenance and testing and protocols and procedures, you know, they have that opportunity to meet with our experts. in that regard. And then we do that across multiple disciplines so that they can set the agenda themselves in many ways around what’s important for their practices and how we can help. So it’s a great connection and resource. Typically, we partner with our friends at Midmark on this event, and we really appreciate their collaboration in delivering that same level of customer experience.

Kim Larson: That’s great. So at the top of the podcast, I mentioned that you had been in the dental industry for 25, over 25 years. So if you had a crystal ball, you could look into the next three to five years in dentistry. What do you think it’s going to be like?

Sarah Anders: Yeah, I think it’s, I mean, I, I’m more excited now about dentistry than I ever have been. And I think, you know, the connection between oral health and systemic health, I think becomes clearer and clearer, even though we’ve known that for a number of years, but now making that connection between the medical and dental communities, I think, strives and serves to elevate patient care and ultimately patient health. anticipate this will continue to grow and see you know some of especially some of the larger national DSOs having both health care facilities as well as dental facilities if we look at you know what the Aspen group is doing and also what Pacific Dental Services doing in lore. For us at Hefridi Group, we’re uniquely positioned where we have not only the dental customers, but many may not know this, but we also have a team that helps to service medical accounts as well. You know, as this convergence accelerates, we expect that we can deliver significant value as HufredyGroup with those DSOs who want to really look at that medical aspect as well.

Kim Larson: Absolutely. As a matter of fact, PDS just rebranded as PDS Health. So that’s interesting. There is definitely a shift happening. We’re seeing it with large DSOs and even some smaller ones. There’s ProHealth Dental in New York. They’ve been doing it for quite some time. So that’s going to be interesting to watch. So for the next three to five years, can you talk a little bit about emerging dental groups and DSOs, what you think is going to transpire in that particular part of the dental space?

Sarah Anders: Yeah, I think relative to emerging VSOs, I think leveraging technology and having that consumer mindset is really going to be critical. So, looking at ways that technology can elevate patient experience, efficiencies, you know, I think it, the digital aspects really started with a lot with enteral scanners. you know, offering solutions for restoratives, whether it’s through Lads or Chairside, or we’re making that a patient choice. Efficiencies around scheduling and really having that sort of consumer-friendly approach to managing the patient experience, I think is really important. And then, of course, AI, I think, will drive a ton of transformation and efficiencies, especially in those emerging groups supporting patient communication, diagnosis, treatment planning, as well as insurance claim management. So patients at the end of the day are consumers and dental offices really have that key interaction. So I think You know, for our emerging groups, I think that becomes really important to deliver an amazing patient experience, which is a consumer experience, and having it consistent across each of their practices, I think is really critical and important.

Kim Larson: Well said. What is HufredyGroup working on now and what do you think the future is there? Do you have anything interesting in the pipeline that you want to talk about today?

Sarah Anders: Well, HufredyGroup is always looking at solutions for today, tomorrow, and beyond. There’s lots of exciting things on the horizon from the HufredyGroup. Um, and, uh, we’re excited because we were, you know, we are a standalone dental company and, um, can really focus in that space. Um, and so for us that, that becomes critically important as we, as we look to our customers, um, and, and measure the needs of what they would like to see. Uh, really it focuses, you know, as we look at product development, we want to be able to. deliver solutions that support and fit with the clinician’s viewpoint of how they want to be able to treat their patients and deliver care. And so for us, it’s always really important to deliver those options. And so that’s really what we focus on, voice of customer, making sure that we have what they need for today, tomorrow, and the future.

Kim Larson: That’s great. So before we wrap up, how can the audience get in touch with you?

Sarah Anders: I would say that’s pretty easy. From a personal email standpoint, it’s skanders, S-K-A-N-D-E-R-S at And then you can also find me on LinkedIn. So those two ways are the easiest to get in touch with me directly.

Kim Larson: And I will put those in the show notes so that people can easily access that. Sarah, thank you so much for your time and for sharing your knowledge and experience with our audience today. It’s clear you have a passion for dentistry and your dedication to the DSO space is inspiring. It was an absolute pleasure to have you as a guest on the podcast. And I sincerely hope that we have the opportunity to collaborate again in the future. Great.

Sarah Anders: Thank you, Kim. I appreciate being here and talking to the audience as well.

Kim Larson: Thanks, Sarah. Until next time, I’m Kim Larson, and thank you for listening to The Group Dentistry Now Show.