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Jack Abrams, The Abrams Report – April 2015

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Terms That Are Vital To Your Financial Health

(2nd in a 3 part series) In this issue: The Millennials and Same Day Dentistry

Millennials (1982 – 2004) Do you know how these dental patients think and view the world?

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There was a wonderful story in Barron’s Magazine a few years ago that got me thinking about the Millennials. This cover page captures the diversity, casual confidence and dynamism of this generation! Truth be told, I was captivated by this article because I have two children that could have been on the magazine’s cover.

These progressive young adults are making a name for themselves in the private, public and business sector right now. They are quite different than the boomers and generation-Xers that preceded them. Millennials are responsible for current mega trends that will affect our culture, laws, political landscape and how business is done for the next decade and beyond.

These independent thinkers are well educated, confident, competent and competitive. They grew up in a world of technology and they embrace diversity.

While completely unique, the Millennials are a throwback to a simpler time when pragmatism was in vogue. They are generally uninterested in political party affiliation and grand titles. They want results and will not accept gridlock. They are independent thinkers who embrace analytics and data driven decision making. They are solution oriented people who have grown up during the greatest information renaissance in history. From cradle to grave this generation will have a hand held tele-computing device nearby. Many millennials have never been to a library or ever used a land line phone.

If you use still use an appointment book for scheduling, don’t believe in internet marketing or social media and refuse to text confirmations or re-activate patients with e-mail reminders then you may not be communicating effectively with the Millennials. If you have not digitized your radiographs, have no interest in going chartless or implementing same day dentistry tactics than you are probably not going to connect with, arguably the biggest block of patients to come your way since the boomers!

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Forbes.com is responsible for this image and this quote – The most significant changes to our world are going on as we speak and will continue as millennials become our future leaders.

Same Day Dentistry

This movement has penetrated every dental office in America but it isn’t always intentional. It’s often limited by old habits and a reluctance to change. The dental materials are better, quicker and easier to use than the materials we used just a few years ago. The dispensing has evolved with the science. The set times are faster or in alignment with your procedural technique. Issues of the past like shade stability, shrinkage; thermal sensitivity and wear characteristics are a thing of the past.

In response to consumer preferences and production optimization, many dentists are already doing quick restorative procedures the same day they are diagnosed during the hygiene appointment. The issue for Same Day Dentistry gaining momentum in your practice is due to these potential roadblocks;

  • No morning huddle. No review of patients and previously presented treatment
  • Poor scheduling – failure to incorporate blocks, emergency and new patient slots
  • Failure to verify insurance participation/benefits and balance as well as procedural qualifiers at least two days ahead of time
  • Failure to take radiographs and perform perio charting
  • Poor leadership and communication amongst team members
  • hygiene exam lacks continuity and structure. Does not support Same Day Dentistry model
  • Hygienist fails to educate patients on home care and identify operative work
  • Intra oral camera utilization is weak and image selection is not mandated
  • Last but not least – the dentist is not committed, enthusiastic and energized about the morning huddle and all office initiatives.

One cannot do justice to the benefits of Same Day Dentistry without acknowledging the fastest movement in dentistry – CadCam.

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The ability to produce a better crown than your lab delivers; in about an hour in your office, is a positive game changer for you and the patient. You will save time, money and patients over time. Your patients do not want to return for treatment. They want to be pain free and they don’t want a temporary fix. They would prefer to not come back to your office for the final restoration or a try-in or for suture removal. They are busy people who see this second or third appointment as an inconvenience or disruption in their schedule.

Case in point; a young woman (Millennial) went to the dentist for her semiannual hygiene appointment and they determined she needed a crown on a big, old amalgam with open margins. The next day she went to work and her boss asked her how her appointment went. The women told her boss that she went for a cleaning and it turned out that she needed a crown. Her boss said “ouch – when do you have to go back?” The young women responded “I don’t have to return, they did my crown today”. At this point, the boss gave her a confused stare and that is when the young women told her boss about PlanScan. Ironically, the woman’s boss also needed a crown but had been delaying it for months because her dentist requires a few visits. She continued stating that she just doesn’t have the time for two or three appointments with a 50+ hour work week and managing the kids and family matters. I guess you know what happens next. The boss asked the young lady for her doctor’s website.

*This is happening everyday across America. It is a movement that is accelerating. Many of our industry KOL’S (key opinion leaders) believe that over 30% of the dental offices in the USA will have a digital scanner or complete milling system in their office by 2018.

In an interview with Fareed Zakaria (CNN commentator), Chairman of the Board and CEO of Cisco – Mr. John Chambers (1991 to present) expressed his view of the business community, global competition and what we can expect over the next generation. Mr. Chambers joined Cisco in 1991. At that time Cisco did $70 million dollars in business and in 2014 they did a mere $46 billion in sales!

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Mr. Chambers, believes the next big wave (turning point) will be termed “The Internet of Everything”. He believes the increasing interconnectedness of people and objects will be the greatest change of all. How we connect, communicate, do business, buy groceries, make appointments and interact with doctors. He feels that we have turned the corner from the amazing era of information and are now into the Digital Era. He notes that this will be disruptive to many industries and people who are in jobs that will be replaced by automation or eliminated by less expensive services.

He is very matter of fact that businesses and people that do not transform will be marginalized. He also warns that Naysayers and some of the media outlets will deny, complain and even denounce this thinking, just like they did back during the Dot Com revolution. But he insists that the Dot Com period was one of the best economic periods in our history and has spurred many other businesses that thrive today.

As parents, leaders, politicians and teachers we must acknowledge, anticipate and embrace change. Some might argue that it is our responsibility to help change happen. Either way – don’t get left behind and settle for being angry and disconnected.

Not all technology or movements are for everyone but we owe it to ourselves to vet these ideas and opportunities. We need true partners that earn our loyalty and help us achieve our goals. We need people to inspire, motivate and hold us accountable to our dreams and aspirations.

Families and young adults that join your practice today will have less need based dentistry in their mouths than the previous generation. This is due to several factors including better dentistry and a focus on the preventative. Having said that, these patients will be more focused on their oral health and they acknowledge the oral systemic link. These folk expect same day dentistry, advanced cancer screening with an adjunctive device, saliva testing for genetic markers and virus’s, expanded cosmetic services, night guards and sport guards, implant dentistry, sleep medicine etc… Many of these services have a better R.O.I. than crown and bridge when you evaluate costs and hourly production for profitability!

I realize healthcare and dentistry are affected by socio economic and access to care issues, however the dentists I serve in the Hudson Valley and the majority of dentists across America have a bright future. They just need to acknowledge the product and services shift and the need for efficiency.

We are in the second quarter of 2015. Let’s make this year our best yet!

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