Dentistry - a commodity worth mentioning.
"Talent is a dreadfully cheap commodity, cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work and study; a constant process of honing. Talent is a dull knife that will cut nothing unless it is wielded with great force"
In the movie Ford vs Ferrari, there is a passionate moment where Ferrari is reviewing what seemed to be a fair offer for his soon to be bankrupt company. Enzo Ferrari was a proud man, and made a limited amount of vehicles. High quality, for a particular market. There would be no compromise in how the business would continue, and he let it be known....
While reading the deep and complicated contract - Enzo asks about who is actually directing certain aspects of the company. In particular the racing, his passion and reason "WHY" Ferrari existed. Would he still have control....ultimately - "in the rare instance if became an issue" he would NOT be able to call the shots.
It wasn't his business to run after he signed. He could continue to work and provide high quality vehicles, but Ford would not necessarily continue to allow Enzo to run certain aspects of his business. Maybe it was for good reason. Maybe the business was bankrupt for a reason.
Maybe the quality of the vehicle and passion of the owner meant something to the dedicated, loyal customer base he had established and all he needed was some help to run the business side of things....
Why is dentistry becoming a commodity?
"I had a conversation with a friend the other day regarding the public view of dentistry as a commodity. There is an idea that every dentist has been to dental school, has a license to practice dentistry and can drill and fill the needed cavities. Therefore, he reasoned, it makes sense to choose on price."
If we are only allowed to market our profession the way we have in the past - the perception of the public is EXACTLY that of a commodity. We go further than that, the majority of clinics are accepting direct payment which reinforces the idea that the value is the same regardless of where you go....
The growth of corporate dentistry was bound to happen. If the perception to the public is that "a dentist is a dentist" and "my insurance pays it anyways" - then the public will choose the most convenient and comfortable solution.
Will we be able to change this message?
The magic formula is marketing
I don't have all the answers. This blog sometimes is to present some of the challenges we see and come up with solutions. My opinion is that we continue to see GROWTH in dentistry. That we CAN and WILL provide AFFORDABLE care by understanding the value of TIME and QUALITY.
Patients will start to see results from talented people with an ever increasing skill set providing services that they prefer. The fact is that most people don't know what you know. They want to stop at a clinic, at the most convenient time for themselves and family. They want to enjoy a wide range of services and prefer to have all services provided in the same location. Nobody likes to have to take another day to schedule a separate appointment - why can't we just do it here?
You will see competitive dentistry offer comprehensive services such as invisible aligners, weekend and night appointments, specialist services, same day crowns, digital xray and scanning. They will direct bill insurance and be as convenient as possible to patient demands.
Independent owned clinics WILL COMPETE! They will enjoy RELATIONSHIPS with their patients. Treat them as family. Offer all the services through their owned commitment to continual improvement and taking OWNERSHIP of team and experience.
My view is that WE ALL VALUE relationship. If we want to take the "commodity" out of dentistry - we have to start valuing all of our own relationships in the business. The team members that work for us are not a commodity - but an asset. An investment that realizes great returns. The techniques our colleagues teach to advance learning. Materials. Technology. If we EMBRACE the future, and educate our differences....we will learn to THRIVE!