In previous posts I have promoted the idea of autonomy. I am big on autonomy for may reasons. Firstly, I believe most people go into dentistry to be the masters of their own destiny. I know I did, but that was a long time ago. I don’t know what motivates people these days. One thing I do know is that if a dentist wants to be the very best he can be then having autonomy and the ability to make his own decisions is important.
Being in a network takes some of that independence away. I know dentistry is heading in a direction that will change the way most of us practice, but I do believe there will always be room at the top.
Years ago getting out of network and building an insurance free practice was a lot easier, there was less traffic on the road less traveled. And more patients looking for a ride. These days getting out of network will require a bigger commitment. Here is my list of things you can do to build a career of freedom and autonomy. You may not get wealthier, but you will be happier.
Become lean and mean. In other words build the policies and systems in your practice that keep your expenses down. By not being sub-servant to large monthly expenses, you can get to do the dentistry of your choice. Don’t be lured into more expense by manufacturers looking to sell you the latest equipment if your practice doesn’t warrant the expense. Your patients come to you for your care, skills and judgement. Being hi-tech is only one factor that people judge your service by…dependability, reliability, competence and empathy come way before the expensive toys. You would be amazed at how many staff members it takes to produce significant dentistry, especially when time management systems and financial policies are in place.
Take more time with your patients. Once again, building systems for re-care, new patients, treatment planning and scheduling will make you lean and mean. All of these systems require the dentists to develop and build his communication and leadership skills. Putting a system in place without being able to carry it out won’t work. Think about football teams with great schemes. Without the players executing, nothing matters.
Become an expert in examination, diagnosis, planning and communication. Take courses in these areas. Get coached. Don’t concentrate on the technical…step back and take leadership courses.
Be a doctor not a businessman. (more…)