A seamless transition

ConceptsLesley Morgan-Barlow, from Synergy Dental Care, explains how easy it was to switch plan provider to Practice Plan, and the reasons for doing so.

In business, change is inevitable. Think about it for a second – how you ran your dental business, in some respects, 10 years ago may bear no resemblance to what you do today. For example, you only need to whisper the words CQC inspections or HTM-01 to prove this case.

It’s also true to say that change can come in many guises – positive, instigated and sometimes unexpected, yet always necessary. In fact, it is almost vital, as denying that a change needs to take place can be damaging to any business and its future.

Switching tips

Whatever form it comes in, having a sense of control and the ability to deal with it effectively can make all the difference, enabling you to focus on the benefits of the change rather than worrying about the actual change.

And nothing is truer when contemplating a change of plan provider.

So how can you go about dealing with a switch and make it as seamless as possible? Here are a few handy tips that Practice Plan lives by when supporting practices to move over to them:

  • The purpose – accessing your current situation and what benefits a change in plan provider could bring is essential. The benefits of the change will become your focus and answer the question, ‘is there a need for this?’
  • Planning and processes – having a solid plan in place with realistic timeframes will ensure you succeed with making any transition. Equally, thinking about what processes you have in place already, or could put in place, will ensure your move is simple and successful. Don’t forget to think through potential obstacles for the change and how you will deal with it
  • Perception – are all your team on board? Are your patients? Simply communicating why the change will benefit them, your dental practice team or patients will help put it all in context for them and make it easy to understand and accept.

Why switch?

With this in mind, Lesley Morgan-Barlow, from Synergy Dental Care, states the case for changing plan provider.

‘I am a joint owner of Synergy Dental Care and have a non-dental background. My role is to look after the business element of the practice 24/7, leaving our dentist to get on with his job – so you could say that I’m a business manager or business director, really.

‘Part of my role is always looking for ways to keep our business evolving and fresh and a few years ago in the back of my mind I had started to become a little disillusioned with the inertia from our plan provider.

‘One year, whilst attending The Dentistry Show, I got chatting to a dentist on a stand. He was telling me all about his experience with Practice Plan and the relationship he had with them. What was refreshing to hear was the fact that Practice Plan were clearly geared towards helping him run a business as opposed to just a dental practice and it made me acknowledge that we weren’t getting the support we needed.

‘I wanted Synergy Dental Care to be able to access that kind of business support and valuable advice and Josie, our potential regional support manager, was so friendly and easy to chat to that I soon started to discuss how we could look to move our membership plans over to Practice Plan.

‘They planned out everything with me, demystified the unknown, supported me to explain it to the team and arranged all the preparation’

‘My main concern was our patients and my team. I could see the long-term benefits, but would they? A lot of our patients had been with the practice a long time, so I was concerned that the majority of them would want to cling to the relationship they had with the other plan provider. But not only that, would making a change have an impact on my team? If I went through with this how could we make it as smooth as possible for everyone?

‘But I needn’t have worried. Josie and the Practice Plan team were so experienced that they were able to support us with everything. They planned out everything with me, demystified the unknown, supported me to explain it to the team and arranged all the preparation. Gradually as a team we all learnt to adjust our thinking and started to see dealing with this move as a simple seamless process. We could control how we approached this – the change didn’t have to take place overnight, we could set the pace and manage any impact.

‘Equally, with training from Josie, we understood how to communicate our decision to change plan provider to our patients. Josie assured us that patient relationships were with the team, and as long as we had the patients’ wellbeing at heart, then they would listen to the advice we gave them. She couldn’t have been more right; ultimately the choice remained with the patient and the belief in the change rested with my team, and combined together our patients were happy to make the change.

‘Since then, Josie has supported us with many a business challenge or change. In short, we haven’t looked back. If you are serious about your business, then talk to the people who are serious about helping you evolve and develop for the long term.’

Practice Plan is a specialist provider of practice-branded patient membership plans and an increasingly significant source of wider business support services for dentistry. Over the years, it has helped thousands of dentists introduce membership plans to become profitable and sustainable businesses. Access to experienced regional support managers, customer service advisers and expert marketers as well as dental business consultants and speakers, means a practice will get the practical and strategic advice needed to help them achieve their unique goals. If you’d like to know more about how Practice Plan could help you make a greater success of your practice, visit www.practiceplan.co.uk/dental-plans or call 01691 684 165.

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