Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a traditional Dental Support Organization (DSO) and a doctor-led Dental Partner Organization (DPO)? If you haven’t, then you’re probably in the majority. Because as dentists we’ve got more important things to consider. Yet the distinction could have major ramifications for you in the future, so it’s worth considering.
Let’s start with the traditional Dental Support Organization. Most of us probably have ingrained attitudes about what they are and how they impact the practice of dentistry. Commonly referred to as DSOs, Dental Support Organizations are entities that practice owners partner with to manage the administrative, marketing, and additional nonclinical sides of a practice. For doctors who own more than a single office, DSOs can be beneficial in providing support with critical business management and nonclinical needs. This allows dentists to focus on delivering quality customer service and patient care.
Problems arise when DSOs stop thinking and acting like dental practitioners. The importance placed on efficiency and numbers can lead to a mentality where profit goals become more important than patient outcomes. Additionally, providers might find themselves restricted in how they practice.
Many practice owners can remember when they were associates and could focus on learning and doing dentistry. But as much as we appreciate the joy of practicing dentistry, as well as going home at a decent hour, we struggle with how affiliating with a dental group might make dentistry less enjoyable. I’m guessing that most of us have considered the following questions:
- Will my dentistry just be about the numbers?
- What will happen to my patients and staff?
- Will dentistry stop being fun?
I considered these questions to help shape my vision of what a mutually beneficial partnership could look like. My goal was to build a doctor-led dental group where offices function like solo practices that leverage group efficiencies and keep patients first.
Along the journey, I made two critical decisions that were instrumental in distinguishing our model from that of a traditional DSO. First, I realized we needed a clinical model that would ensure patients receive comprehensive care at every step and enable doctors to take on larger cases. It’s why the foundation of our group is based on patient education that nurtures relationships and supports our mission of helping patients choose happier, healthier lives.
After nearly a decade’s experience applying this approach, I have personally found it to be both successful and rewarding. Not only does it result in consistent comprehensive care, but it also educates patients about the care they receive. An educated patient base perceives more value for dental services, which is important because when patients are educated about their options, they’re more inclined to choose the best care for their circumstances. Essentially, it’s a win-win that results in happier patients and enables doctors to practice the dentistry they love.
This brings me to my second “ah-ha” moment: Doctors who participate as owners feel they’re genuinely part of building something. When doctors have skin in the game there’s less doctor turnover and more opportunities to build, nurture, and retain patients. It’s why we offer partnerships to doctors who share a similar philosophy. We also prioritize education for the entire team through mentorship, leadership development, and continuing education. Owned and operated by dentists, a DPO is an ideal blend of professional partnerships and clinical autonomy.
These two critical decisions – our clinical model and doctor partnerships – are the foundation of Bedi Dental Group (BDG) and allow for integration of the best of both solo practitioners and dental groups.
So, what’s the difference between a partnership with a traditional DSO and doctor-led DPO? From my experience, there are a wide range of traditional DSOs from small groups to massive PE-backed dental behemoths. However, a doctor-led DPO ensures that outcomes are optimized for both patients and doctors. It’s why BDG is a dental partnership by doctors, for doctors.
Written by Dr. Abhay Bedi, Bedi Dental Group
Bedi Dental Group (BDG) is an emerging doctor-led and owned dental partnership that practices multispecialty, comprehensive patient-centered dentistry. Our mission at Bedi Dental Group is to help patients choose happier, healthier lives. We invest in successful dental partnerships with doctors to help them build their careers, develop their skills, and better serve patients. We believe that dentistry is more than just a profession – it is restoring health and joy to those we serve, and those we work with. BDG is based near Boston and is always looking for doctor-partners who share a similar vision of dentistry. For more information, visit www.bedidentalgroup.com.
Looking for a Job? Looking to Fill a Job? JoinDSO.com can help:Subscribe for free to the most-read and respected
resource for DSO analysis, news & events:Read what our subscribers & advertisers think of us: