A joint journey

prictice52Leigh Oliver, clinical manager at Identics Dental Practice Maidstone, talks about the benefits that dental plans have brought to their business.

Identics Dental Practice in Maidstone opened as a squat practice exactly four years ago, and introducing a dental plan from the outset was something we always planned to do. We first met the team at DPAS Dental Plans at the BDIA Dental Showcase and they were enormously helpful from the word go. DPAS is totally different to any of the other plan providers we have worked with in the past. Not at all pushy, they just put their cards on the table and showed us what they could deliver, how they would work with us and how they could support us on our journey.

It’s a daunting prospect opening a squat practice, but with clear planning, persistence, focus, a lot of hard work and the help of DPAS, we were on the right track from day one. Developing a strong new brand identity that reflected our brand values and ethos was incredibly important to us. DPAS was very supportive of our ideas and showed us how they could help us to develop them further, but at no stage did they ever try to take over, tell us what to do or make key decisions for us; the ball was always very firmly in our court.

Popular patient plans

prictice43Since we launched our dental plan, it has proved to be very popular with our patients. In addition to making it part of our patient conversation, we provide patients with our practice-branded brochure reinforcing the fact that it is ‘our dental plan’. We also offer plan patients a 20% discount on all treatment fees from the moment they sign up, so this is a big incentive that is proving to be very successful – we currently have close to 80% of our patients on plan. The 20% discount applies across the board, not just for selected treatments, and even includes crowns and bridges. This represents quite a saving on private fees, especially for more complex treatments, so it is quite an attractive proposition.

We are a fully private practice and our dental plan makes quality dentistry more affordable for our patients. We know this to be the case as we regularly canvas feedback from our patients and have learnt that the most important benefit of their plan is the ability to spread the cost of treatment into manageable monthly amounts, allowing them to budget for their routine dental care.

Dentistry is of course a business, which is an idea that I personally have always resisted. I’ve been in dentistry for 30 years and see it as a caring profession above everything else. But managing a practice like Identics means I have to keep the business at the forefront of my mind, however much we care for the patient. We recognise that visiting the dentist is not at the top of people’s priority list, but we also know that maintaining a consistent flow of existing patients into the practice is vital for us to maintain a stable business foundation and our dental plan is playing a vital role in this.

The dental plan also contributes to team building and is a great motivational tool. We have a team huddle every morning, during which we set daily targets and review any issues from the previous day.

Long may it continue

prictice42Over the past four years, we have developed a very close working relationship with the whole team at DPAS, but in particular with our business development manager and our dedicated practice consultant. Both are extremely helpful, always keeping an eye on our business and our plan numbers, whilst constantly coming up with new ideas to push the practice forward.

Our dental plans are an integral part of what we do at Identics. Our development over the last four years means I could never envisage a time when we wouldn’t offer a dental plan. I am so happy with our relationship with DPAS and long may it continue. They do not interfere in our daily business in any way or constantly say ‘let’s do this, let’s do that’. But if you go to them with an idea, they will nurture it for you, which is exactly what we as a business need. DPAS is just a brilliant company – I would never go with another plan provider!

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