The Group Dentistry Now Show: The Voice Of The DSO Industry – Episode 47

Dr. Scott Asnis, Founder, CEO & Director of Dentistry at Dental365, joins the podcast for an exclusive interview. We were honored to have him as he does not usually grant interviews. He shares his passion to provide an immaculate, 5-star patient experience. He explains how his DSO soared during the pandemic. It is not often that a DSO has so many dental practices and dentists asking to join that a majority are not accepted – but that is exactly the case with this unique, fast-growing, affordable and exceptional DSO. If you want to understand what makes a DSO great – this podcast is for you!

Our podcast series brings you dental support and emerging dental group practice analysis, conversation, trends, news and events. Listen to leaders in the DSO and emerging dental group space talk about their challenges, successes, and the future of group dentistry.

The Group Dentistry Now Show: The Voice of the DSO Industry has listeners across North & South America, Africa, Australia, Europe, and Asia. If you like our show, click here to leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5-star review on iTunes!

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Full Transcript:

I’d like to welcome everyone to the Group Dentistry Now Show. I’m Bill Neumann, and thanks everybody for listening today. We have a couple special guests here today. We have Dr. Asnis from Dental365, he is the founder and CEO.

Bill Neumann:

First off, welcome Dr. Asnis, to the Group Dentistry Now Show. Thanks for being here today.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Good morning Bill, and good morning Kim. Thank you for inviting me. I’m a huge fan of Group Dentistry Now.

Kim Larson:

Oh, thank you Dr.

Bill Neumann:

Thank you.

Bill Neumann:

And, Dr. Asnis … Actually, welcome Kim who never is here. Well, she’s done three or four podcasts. Kim is the co-founder and the chief marketing officer of Group Dentistry Now, and we’re happy to have her here today, to assist. Welcome to both of you.

Kim Larson:

Thank you.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Thank you.

Kim Larson:

I’m going to introduce Dr. Asnis, because this is a real honor having him here today. He doesn’t usually grant interviews, so this is a really special interview. We really appreciate him being here, sharing his knowledge. He’s actually a working dentist. So he’s not only the founder and CEO of Dental365, he’s actually working as a dentist, and has an interesting and different perspective. He graduated from NYU’s College of Dentistry, and was granted and completed a general practice residency at the Brooklyn Veterans Administration Hospital. He is a lifelong New Yorker.

Kim Larson:

He founded Dental365 in 2014. It’s innovative and state-of-the-art dental offices have grown in size and popularity. It has locations in New York, Connecticut, and now New Jersey. In 2017, we featured Dental365 on our Dental Groups To Watch list, and they have grown rapidly since then. We’ve featured them a few times on our website, so this is exciting to talk to Dr. Asnis today.

Kim Larson:

Doctor, can you just take us through a brief history of Dental365?

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Absolutely. Thank you for the nice introduction.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

I realized the future of dentistry was changing in the direction of group practice model. It definitely was a noticeable gap in the New York dental marketplace, because better practices and providers wanted to join a company led by dentists. I was a dentist in private practice for 30 years, and I cared deeply about the patient experience and clinical outcomes in my offices. More importantly, I really had great respect for the consumer, my patients. So I decided I wanted to build a different type of dental company, caring about clinical outcomes first, and focusing on the patient experience with a branded retail locations on Main and Main, and state-of-the-art modern offices with convenient hours and days.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Bill and Kim, dentistry is really hard, and I have real empathy for how hard a profession it is. I always keep that in mind. So when I started this in 2014, I opened my first DeNovo office in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and it became extremely busy very quickly. I then started to open a few more locations in Manhattan and Long Island, and I became inundated with calls from similar minded dentists, interested in joining me. My vision really became a reality, at that point.

Bill Neumann:

This happened back in 2014. Were there any other group practices, or any other DSOs in the New York market at the time?

Dr. Scott Asnis:

There were. I didn’t even know what the letters DSO meant. There were very few DSOs, they were not coming into the marketplace. Actually, difficulty with understanding the fixed costs, it’s fairly expensive to run and open. I just saw that there was a need for a company like mine, where it was dentist led, and dentist owned, and dentist run.

Bill Neumann:

Besides being in the New York metro area making you unique, because there were very few. Like you said, DSO really wasn’t a thing, or you didn’t know what it stood for then. Beyond being in that part of the country, why is Dental365 so unique? What do you do to really set yourselves apart?

Dr. Scott Asnis:

That’s a good question. Because we look at exceptional patient experience from start to finish, and we care about clinical outcomes, is largely our growth, organically, is from dentists who call us. Again, as I said before, we’re a unique platform where it’s dentist leadership is layered throughout the organization. Dentists want to be supported by dentists, and not administrators. So, our reputation in the communities, with our core values, really accelerated our growth and business development.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

A lot has happened in six years. The most prestigious offices wanted to join us, and we now support just about 60 offices, which include GPs, pediatric, orthodontic, oral surgery, and numerous multi-specialty offices. We are growing very rapidly.

Bill Neumann:

I know towards the end of last year, you actually opened up some locations in New Jersey as well. So you’re in New York, Connecticut, and then New Jersey?

Dr. Scott Asnis:

That’s correct. The amount of dentists who are calling me from New Jersey were just way beyond my expectations. It’s that the really best practices are calling me now, and we don’t solicit them. They’ve been calling us. It’s been really cool to see.

Kim Larson:

Dr. Asnis, we had mentioned earlier that you’re not the typical CEO or founder of a DSO, and your DSO is not typical. You are really laser focused on the consumer. Can you talk a little bit about that, and your patient experience?

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Now, I’m really a strong believer in consumerism, so we pay close attention to every detail from the first interaction when the patient comes in, including the smell of the office.

Kim Larson:

Right.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Bill and Kim, you wrote a beautiful article on my relationship with Natscent, and how Dental365 offices utilize our own signature scent. When the patient walks in, really it’s a subtle, pleasant sensory experience. More so, we worry about the patient experience, from the moment they walk in our office to the moment they call. We do have meticulously beautiful appointed offices, with state-of-the-art, with streaming music and televisions in the operatories.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Most really important to me, is I preach this in my private practice, we are very aware of respecting our patient’s time. There’s little to no wait, whatsoever, at time of the scheduled appointment. I’m sure, Bill and Kim, you’ve waited in medical offices and it’s very painful.

Bill Neumann:

Talk a little bit about likening the high end experience that you provide to the Ritz Carlton. Where it’s a consumer focused experience, versus a patient experience. So it’s not just about the patient outcome, but it’s about the entire experience from when you walk in, and again, to the clinical outcome itself.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Absolutely. We look at patient happiness and patient retention. Our KPIs are much different than most dental companies. We really care that we are doing the right thing for the patient, giving them great clinical outcomes. Making sure that everything is meticulous and fastidious, from when they walk in, as I said before, and from the way we feel that we want the patients to know that we respect their time.

Bill Neumann:

Let me go back to question a little bit, around the practice locations. You’re in New York metro area. Unfortunately, when COVID hit, New York City in particular was really impacted, so you had an exodus of a lot of people left the city for various reasons. Talk a little about your strategy, talk about the impact that it had on your practices in the city, and what you were able to do.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

We are pretty good crisis leadership. We’ve been able to understand about problem solving, and we are very quickly able to implement strategies to help navigate the pandemic. Early on in February 2020, I realized that COVID-19 was not going to fade away and I needed to act quickly.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

First, I needed to protect the wellbeing of our doctors, staff, and patients. We knew right away our offices had to be safe. If our patients felt safe in our offices, then they’d continue to come in. We proactively ordered mobile HEPA filter devices for all the sites, and we enacted the strictest guidelines and protocols in our offices. We also offered access to COVID testing to our employees, inside the offices, to make it easier for everyone.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

So when New York State closed down dentistry with the exception of essential procedures, we stayed open throughout. We were open because hospital emergency rooms, and urgent cares, and even private dental offices that were competing with us, they were closed, so they were referring to us for emergency dental care. We really were doing our part to flatten the curve, and the gratitude we received from the patients were really heartfelt and genuine.

Bill Neumann:

Yeah, that is great to hear. It’s a testament to the model that you have.

Bill Neumann:

You also touched on this a little bit earlier, where you mentioned a couple times that you have dentists actually coming to you, looking to partner with Dental365, partner their practices with Dental365. That’s pretty unique in the DSO and the group practice space. Let’s talk a little bit about the reason behind that. Just curious, because I’m sure there are a lot of groups out there what would love to have that problem.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

As I said before, and this is very important, is that dentists want to be supported by dentists and not administrators. We give them all the tools, including an amazing Dental365 University. Because we founded an educational platform, to make it available to our doctors, so they could be more efficient and get better clinical outcomes, because we stimulate our docs with real dental education. We provide it in an environment which they can excel and grow professionally. We offer study clubs, and mentoring, and all different types of protocols. We really understand the stresses of being a dentist.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

We also, which I think is very impactful, we protect their legacies. We want to make sure that we all help each other. There’s certain circumstances where there’s peer-to-peer mentoring when dentists are having some issues, and we really are a big team of now 140 dentists and growing.

Kim Larson:

That’s incredible. Dr. Asnis, you’re the driving force behind the success of Dental365, clearly. Your consumer driven experience, your patient care. What’s next for Dental365?

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Our plan is to continue to build on our momentum. We are the leaders in the metropolitan area, and we support, as you said, three states’ offices. Our most recent entry into New Jersey has really exceeded our expectations. There continues to be a robust number of dentists who reach out, to want to join our network. In fact, we’re about to support an additional 10 GPs in specialty offices.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Bill and Kim, we’re unicorns. We support all different types of dental practices, just not GPs. I really think it’s very important to note that if you give exceptional patient experience in a convenient retail setting, that’s universally desired. This has proven to be a very successful business model for us in the New York metropolitan area. I’m confident we can replicate it in different regions in different states.

Kim Larson:

Absolutely. With the 10 that you’re bringing on, are they located in New York, New Jersey? Where are they located?

Dr. Scott Asnis:

We have some in … Three more in New Jersey, in West Chester, and growing further up New York State. As you know, the New York metro dental healthcare is an awfully big healthcare region.

Bill Neumann:

New York, what’s the practice count there? And, how many docs do you support in New York State?

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Right now, we support three offices, with three more offices in New Jersey. We have one office in Connecticut, which we are going to be expanding. And then, the rest is in New York State, including 35 in Long Island, and we have seven in New York City.

Bill Neumann:

Okay.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

We are going to be at 60 in a few weeks, and then we have 10 more additional probably within the next three months. We are only six years old.

Kim Larson:

It’s incredible, the growth.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Thank you.

Bill Neumann:

I think you’d mentioned whether it was in the Natscent article, it was probably even back in 2017. The growth, it seems like you’re doubling just about every year, which I guess becomes more and more challenging.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Which we do, and it’s that we really just feel good. We have a great infrastructure, with a great team of dental professionals. We just are a group of dentists, and dental assistants, and dental managers that are really understanding how to support a dental office. We look at things differently, as I said before.

Bill Neumann:

I’ve got a couple questions. I’ve got one wrapped around the growth that you’ve had. If you were going to give any advice to the listeners and the readers of Group Dentistry Now, what would you say? For a startup DSO that’s doctor owned and lead, which most of them are, it’s the way they start off. How do you handle this type of growth? What are you doing to keep that culture that you’ve created intact? Which seems like it’s wonderful, because you’ve got, again, dentists almost lined up to come partner with you, which is, again, a great problem to have. But, let’s talk a little about, as you scale up, what are you doing to ensure that you keep things like they were when you started in 2014?

Dr. Scott Asnis:

That’s really a great question. Well, first is I think the best advice for potential dentists who want to start scaling is, as I said many times, is worry about the patient experience and the clinical outcomes. And also, make sure that you build an infrastructure so you don’t fall under the weight of your growth.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

One of the best things I did when I started this was I started with a true cloud based EMR. That provides real clinical visibility, centralized revenue cycle, and the ability to build dashboards. And, to specifically answer your question, is that I have allowed very, very talented young dentists to sit at the table with me, understand our strategies, and we’ve built out a very robust CDO, chief dental officer program, where they are now helping, as I scale, make decisions based on what our original vision of this is. I really couldn’t be prouder of them.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Yes, we have many, now, young dentists who are helping run the company.

Kim Larson:

What are your thoughts on dentists who want to start their own DSO, because they want to get out of the chair? And, that’s the single reason that they want to start a DSO.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

I think it’s a mistake. I think that, even though now I’m going to be soon supporting 70 or 80 offices, is that I think my dentists really appreciate that I’m a wet-finger dentist. I understand their stresses. I get to understand, because we are an evidence based company, and understand using supplies that we use, making sure that our laboratories are giving us a very good product. I think my dentists in all my CDOs are practicing dentists.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

That’s a very good question, Kim. I think it’s very important. I think that dentists who want to do this to not be dentists, I don’t think they’ll really understand what’s going on in their business.

Kim Larson:

That’s great insight.

Bill Neumann:

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

Bill Neumann:

Now, you’ve got a bunch of bigger platforms than you once did, and you’re still practicing dentistry.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

I am.

Bill Neumann:

You obviously have help. I mean when I say help, you have people helping you with the non-clinical.

Bill Neumann:

Let’s talk about the use of technology, as you’ve scaled up. Are you seeing any new technology out there? What have you incorporated that’s really helped?

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Absolutely. Our platform is really designed to support our doctors to achieve best clinical outcomes. We do use 3D combings, I think this is very important. Intra-oral cameras in every operatory, digital scanners to take the most accurate dental impressions. As I talked about before, we’re cloud based and I think that is a must when you’re starting this.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

And most recently, we are implementing AI, which is really exciting to me. I think that is going to really change the way we practice dentistry.

Bill Neumann:

Interesting. Can you talk a little bit about the AI? I know you said you just recently implemented it. But, that’s one of the new things out there. What does that look like for you?

Kim Larson:

Yeah. At what capacity?

Dr. Scott Asnis:

We are just staring incorporating our first office. It really assists our dental professionals by identifying issues early on, and helps our doctors by providing them with another set of eyes. I think it’s just beginning, and I’m very excited to have these companies, like Pearl, really incorporate all the things that they do into just not my company, but into dentistry.

Bill Neumann:

I’ll throw this question out there, it’s almost the reverse of the question we had regarding your advice for startup DSOs. Do you see a future for solo practitioners? What I mean by that is people that want to own a single office, they want to stay small. And if you do, what advice would you have for somebody that doesn’t necessarily want to start a DSO, but just wants to hang a shingle and do their own thing?

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Oh, I’m the right person to ask because I still own a private practice.

Bill Neumann:

Right.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

That is not part of Dental365. I think that’s very, very important to stay up, and making sure that you have the most modern equipment, and the most modern technology, because sometimes dentists become stagnant. I’ve always taken so many continuing education. I’m a very, very big fan of Dr. Gordon Christensen for 38 years, and I do think it’s very important to not get stagnant.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

I think that, if a dentist does that, they could be very successful in making sure they care about the patient experience because consumerism is here to stay.

Bill Neumann:

I’m going to ask you to take out your crystal ball, and this is the last question for you. So again, thanks for your time, Dr. Asnis. Future of dentistry, and then the future … With the future of dentistry, do you still see continued consolidation? And then, what’s the future for Dental365? You gave us a little bit of an insight as to some of the additional practices. But maybe, look out a couple of years for both the industry and Dental365.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

I’m really excited for the future of both Dental365 and the positive direction our industry is headed. I’m really proud to be part of the DSO movement. I think, again, caring about clinical outcomes and providing exceptional consumer experience is universally desired in all healthcare, because there really is a great appetite for dentists to join DSOs that share these core principles.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

I envision the future of this company on being the forefront of changing the way people view going to the dentist and joining DSOs. I think that there is going to be a great consolidation, and I think that DSOs now are becoming more sophisticated, and more dentist friendly, and more focused on the patient experience. I really look at ourselves as disruptors to the traditional private dental office model, by creating a platform that’s beneficial to the dentists and the patients.

Bill Neumann:

Give me a couple years out for Dental365. What does it look like?

Dr. Scott Asnis:

By the way, I’m really excited about it. I think that in five years, we will be in the Northeast corridor, and we plan on adding, it’ll probably be about 250 to 300 offices. We really are very, very excited. I think we hit onto something, almost like breaking the code where dentists want to join dentist led companies.

Bill Neumann:

All right, well that’s good. I’m excited. Maybe you’ll actually end up down here in Pennsylvania, and we’ll see some of your Dental365 locations down here.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Bill and Kim, I want to thank you. Again, I am such a fan. It has really helped me, over the last few years, by reading Group Dentistry Now.

Kim Larson:

Wow, that’s incredible. Thank you for saying that, we really appreciate that. We work hard at trying to connect, and bring the information to the industry that’s needed to help it grow. It’s been an honor having you here. I know that this is really an exclusive interview, and for that, we are humbly grateful, and value your insight and wisdom.

Bill Neumann:

We’re going to have to ask you to come back in a couple of years, and we’ll see if your crystal ball was correct.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Thank you very much.

Kim Larson:

Thank you, Doctor.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Have a nice day.

Kim Larson:

You too.

Dr. Scott Asnis:

Take care. Bye bye.

Bill Neumann:

Thank you.

Kim Larson:

Bye.

Bill Neumann:

Thanks everybody, for listening to Dr. Asnis from Dental365, the CEO and founder. And thank you, Kim Larson, for appearing on the Group Dentistry Now Podcast, we’re going to make sure you come back. For everybody listening, we appreciate it. Until next time, I’m Bill Neumann.

Speaker 1:

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