ADA Practice Transitions (ADAPT) has been in pilot stage for several months now, but there are still many dentists who may not know what we do – and why we do it. ADAPT offers a new way of hiring an associate, finding a job, buying a practice, or selling.
Some wonder why such a service is necessary. And why now?The idea for ADAPT came from dentists. When we asked dentists what worked (and what didn’t work) in the current dental economy, we consistently heard a couple of things:
- Recent dental school graduates said, “I felt like I didn’t have a choice coming out of dental school – the only opportunities were working for DSOs.” While there is nothing wrong with DSOs and they provide exactly what some dentists are looking for, they are not for everyone. Even if a new dentist chose to work in the DSO model, they often wished there had been independent practice alternatives to consider.
- Similarly, owner dentists lamented how hard it was to hire an associate, particularly if they hoped that associate would purchase the practice sometime in the future.
- Broader research showed wide variability in what dental practice brokers provide. Some offer a great service, but many dentists were very disappointed in the value for the price.
Based on these conversations, we concluded there was an opportunity for the ADA to provide a better solution. ADAPT was built to solve the problems that dentists identified. Our goal is to provide a more predictable and successful process, all at a better value.
A different way, a better way
We know some of you are wondering why ADAPT insists on doing things differently. We welcome that conversation. After all, industries are generally suspicious of newcomers – and customers often question new ways of doing things. Think about AirBnB, Redfin, Starbucks, Uber – all of these mainstream companies transformed their industries and created new approaches that are indispensable today.
Kodak famously dismissed digital photography, even though they participated in its creation. The Kodak engineer who developed the technology in 1975 told the New York Times that his bosses were unimpressed: “They were convinced that no one would ever want to look at their pictures on a television set…no one was complaining about color prints, they were very inexpensive, and so why would anyone want to look at their picture on a television set?” That was in 1975! Imagine what that engineer would have said if he had been told that eventually people wouldn’t even use the TV for pictures; they would mostly look at them on their phones.
AirBnB. Redfin. Starbucks. Uber. Even Kodak. All changed how the "normal" in their industries.
So, how exactly is ADAPT different? Aren’t we just another dental practice and dentist employment broker?
No, we’re not. ADAPT doesn’t follow all of the established rules for “how this is done.” We offer new ways of approaching transitions that directly address the most common problems you and your colleagues shared with us. We do it to make transitions more successful and keep independent dentistry thriving.
A focus on finding dentists who share a similar practice philosophy
We heard story after story about dentists who worked together with the best intentions — only to have it fall apart when they eventually realized they just did not have the same approach to dentistry. (See some examples of mismatched philosophies.)
These stories mirror our research, which indicates that dentists who share an approach are more likely to have a successful practice transition – and those with differing approaches are more likely to struggle.
But no one was asking dentists about their approach, or trying to match them based on this vital attribute. Instead, most matches were rooted in geography and budget. Those are important, but not the full story!
For example, an associate who likes to develop personal relationships with his patients won’t be successful in a practice where the owner wants to maintain a strictly clinical relationship. An associate who treats aggressively is a bad fit for a practice that prefers to “monitor potential concerns.”
These issues are even more relevant when a practice is transferring ownership. After all, the main thing a dentist is purchasing with a practice is a specific patient base. Those patients have expectations based on how they have been treated by the previous owner. And those patients will stay or leave based on how the new dentist interacts with them.
ADA Practice Transitions helps dentists find the right practice, the place where they can succeed.
To get at a dentist’s approach – what we call “Philosophy of Care” – we go beyond the typical questionnaire. The entire ADAPT process is online, which makes it easier to connect no matter where you are. Dentists begin by filling out their profile with all the typical details (location, services, practice type, customer demographics, etc.). But then we go deeper to understand how a dentist would approach various scenarios. Once the profile is submitted, the assigned ADA Advisor checks in with the dentist to ensure we understand who that dentist is and what they are seeking to achieve.
We do this because we are committed to more successful transitions, transitions that last. We want to help dentists move to the right practice, rather than just any practice.
ADAPT is changing practice transitions
How else is ADAPT different? Good question. In addition to starting online and focusing on Philosophy of Care, we have a different point of view on:
- Your control over the process
- What “personal” means
I’ll be dealing with these topics in future blog posts so make sure to sign up for our ADAPT Blog email updates. For now, if you are ready for a change, start your profile. These are challenging times, but many dentists have reconsidered their options and are taking action to reach the next stage of their career. Some furloughed associates have decided that ownership gives them more control over their destiny. Some owners have decided it is time to pass along their legacy to someone new and are now pursuing the sale of their practice with more intention.
Let us show you how practice transitions should be – and help you prepare for your own success.