Will my dental practice lose patients when it is transitioned to a new dentist?
Will you lose patients when the dental practice you are buying is transitioned to you and the patients are left to get to know a new dentist? Being the owner of a recently purchased dental practice this might be a common question and one that a dental consulting expert or dental practice management advisor can help you navigate. Dental transition experts Matt Scherer, Doug Sellan and Adam Goldsmith are sharing some advice that will help you keep patient attrition down as you settle in as the new dental owner after you are done buying a dental practice of your dreams.
Today I have a couple of my colleagues with me, Adam Goldsmith, who covers Indiana. Doug Sellen, who covers the Western part of Ohio and myself who covers the Eastern part of Ohio, Western PA. And then we all kind of cover a portion of Kentucky. In today’s topic gentleman, we’re going to talk about selling your practice and then what happens with patients, do patients end up leaving and things like that. So, Doug, do you want to kick us off on that?
Sure. I mean, you should always expect the worst and attrition could happen, but in our years and years of doing this, and not only as practice transition consultants and brokers, but also in our previous lives and financing these types of transactions, the attrition rate is usually no more than 5%. It could be more, depending on what you do to the practice after you take it over. But keep in mind the average age or life of a patient is typically seven years. What that means is people move, people move in, people move out and that’s what’s happening, not just in your practice, but in your community. But as you also see that the current owner, depending on the age in which they’re in their practice and the number of years, they may have stopped marketing sometime ago. So that patient base could be aging as well. So as they are going to be rolling off, you’re going to be rolling a new patients by your marketing efforts, which would greatly offset any type of attrition you would be experiencing.
Yeah, good point. Adam, anything to add to attrition. I know you help manage a practice for a long time so you’ve got a lot of experience in front of the house.
Yeah, absolutely. It’s got a couple of kind of scenarios to cite from personal experiences. One of which was helping my father sell his practice. When you get up into the sixties, fifties, sixties, and seventies, it’s not alarming to think that from your patient’s perspective that you may one day sell. I mean, you’re not going to practice forever. And so they kind of, I think sort of expected at a certain point that, there’s going to be a new dentist arriving maybe in the next three to five years. I think what we do really well is matching retiring dentists with a new dentist to take over the practice. That kind of have a really similar outlook on practice philosophy and treatment, quality of care.
I think we do a really good job of making sure that attrition is mitigated as much as possible just for the simple fact that we do a good matchmaking service. Another obvious thing when it comes to attrition is not shaking up too much when you buy a practice, maybe retain the staff, especially the hygiene staff. I think that’s really critical. Not changing softwares and have you billing issues, just trying to keep things as status quo, as much as possible. That way that doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of interruption in service or quality of care, and then gradually kind of implement your systems and processes and things of that sort.
Yeah, good point. I think also, it can be really a breath of fresh air when a new dentist or younger dentists comes into the practice. You may lose some patients, but I think to Doug’s point, a lot of the older dentists have stopped marketing, right? They’ve got their patient bates that set, they’re not marketing anymore. The buyer comes in, starts marketing the practice, reaches out into the community, things like that. So their stats on what percentage of patients attrite when a practice is taken over. But I don’t think there’s as many stats that talk about how many new patients come in when a new doc takes over and starts putting in marketing efforts and reaching out into the community and things like that. So I think that’s a big thing that everybody looks at, oh, how many patients am I going to lose? Because I’m taking over the practice, but it’s really how many patients are you going to gain? Because for all the points that we’ve all stated.
One last point I want to mention too, is maybe trying to, at least at first maintain the same insurance coverage and be in network with the same insurance companies. That way the patients don’t feel like, oh, there’s a new dentist come in and he or she does not take my insurance. I’m going to go find someone that does. If you can kind of mitigate that objection. I think that will also bode well for retaining patients.
Yeah, good point. All right. Well, if you want to learn more, please visit our website PMAgroup.net. And certainly don’t forget to hit the like button and share the video with your colleagues. We appreciate your time.