Donna Hall examines what practice teams need to look at when choosing the right plan provider to work with.
Donna Hall examines what practice teams need to look at when choosing the right plan provider to work with.
Patient Plan Direct client, Dr Wasif Khan, explains how he took the leap into the world of private dentistry
“Before I bought Holmes Chapel Dental Practice around 10 years ago, I had been working as an associate for several years carrying out private dentistry. I had undertaken extensive post-graduate study and was really enjoying the work I was doing, but I wanted to take the next step in my career to become a practice owner. Holmes Chapel Dental Practice came with an NHS contract and, although this was a very different set up to what I had become used to, I decided to work with it, with a view to adding a private side in the future.
“Over the years my team and I have worked hard to develop the practice, but whilst I was able to maintain a degree of private work, there has always been that longing for me to return fully to private dentistry. With falling revenues and the constant treadmill of UDAs, targets and restrictions that we all face under the NHS, I decided that after 10 years, the time had come to focus on providing a private service. I also wanted to slow down a little while practising better quality, varied dentistry; I needed to push myself to get out of the rut that I felt I was in, and I wanted the same for my team, too.
“We had been building up to make the move towards a more private offering for around two years, so none of it came as a surprise to the team; I wanted to do my research and groundwork first to make sure I would take the right steps to make things work. We decided that my two associates and dental therapist would continue to provide dentistry under the NHS, as well as private work, while I went fully private. The idea was to boost revenue in order to ensure not just staff retention, but also team growth and skill-set development, increased choice of materials and possible expansion and renovation in the future – things that I just could not consider while working on an NHS contract. Additionally, I was really looking forward to getting back to doing the dentistry I love and gaining more fulfilment from my work again.
“I have friends in their own practices who have incorporated a dental plan, and I had seen them in action during my time as an associate, so implementing one into the practice was always my intention. For me, it was vital that the provider I chose to partner with offered lots of support, because I had never carried out an NHS to private conversion as a practice owner and wanted to have the reassurance that there would be help available if I needed it. I met with a few different companies to get a feel for what and who would work best for me and decided to go with Patient Plan Direct as their service is great value for money and I also liked them on a personal level. They are a smaller company and the individuals who work there are very down to earth and easy to get on with. On top of that, I really like their online portal and the fact that I was able to integrate the option of patient plan sign up via my website, too.
“The first step was to write to our patients to let them know about the changes. This is where our main challenge cropped up as I was finding that subsequent take up of the plan was quite slow. Theresa Riley, business development manager from Patient Plan Direct, was a huge help in this area. She came in to the practice and gave our reception team lots of training on how to discuss the plan and give patients options. None of it is about a hard sell, it’s all just about letting people know what is available to them and allowing them to choose what is best for their own needs, which fits perfectly in line with our own business ethos.
“Theresa also took a look at our letter, reworded it to make it more patient friendly and suggested that we add some more plan options to keep the choice more varied for patients, rather than just the one plan we were originally offering. All of her help provided us with the tools and knowledge we needed to make the difference. It took some time to convince and educate some of the staff that this was the only way we could progress the practice, but now all of the team have embraced the methods Theresa discussed during her training and they are all fully on board. This external input from Patient Plan Direct made a huge difference to us, so I definitely feel that I made the right choice when selecting which plan provider to go with, particularly considering Patient Plan Direct’s admin fees are so much lower than other providers ensuring we retain more of our plan income.
“I’m really pleased with how things have worked out. The team is focused and consolidated in our aims and we have also changed the infrastructure within the practice to accommodate private patients in reception and in a separate waiting area, which has created a unique patient pathway. The overall reaction from patients has been very positive, with many commenting that we should have done this years ago! I have no regrets about making the move towards a more private dental offering; I have achieved a much better work-life balance as it has allowed me to cut back on my hours, while still remaining busy during my ‘dental’ days, and my private patient list is ever increasing. I have to put a lot of this success down to incorporating a plan and doing the research into choosing the right provider for me, the support from patient Plan Direct has been second to none!”
Wasif Khan is the principal dentist and owner of Holmes Chapel Dental Practice in Cheshire.
Simplyhealth has successfully signed another 50/50 Dental Practice Partnership with, Fox Dental Care based in St Austell, Cornwall.
With around 1,500 dental patients, many of whom are already covered by Simplyhealth’s Denplan dental plans, the partnership will support Fox Dental Care to further develop, grow and continue to serve its local community.
As part of an ongoing commitment to investment and innovation in the dental market, Simplyhealth’s partnership scheme offers dental practices the opportunity to enter into an equal partnership, ensuring that both partners have equal rights in the practices.
The partnership model has been designed to enable dentists to retain day to day clinical management with Simplyhealth providing support and expertise in business services, development and patient insights gained from their existing successful Denplan services as well as through helping over 3 million people with their everyday health needs across the group.
The model works well for Practice owners looking for a smooth transition into retirement while wanting to retain responsibility for the day to day decisions and clinical delivery. They can retain the legacy they have built in the community but are able to realise the value of the practice and make the move into ownership less of a barrier for the new partner.
Romana Abdin, Chief Executive of Simplyhealth added: “This is a true partnership that is for the benefit of Fox’s Dental Care, patients and Simplyhealth. We’re looking forward to working together as Simon approaches his retirement, growing the business and serving more patients. We want to work in partnership with more Healthcare Professionals so we can seize opportunities and overcome challenges together, while supporting more patients to make the most of life through better everyday health.”
Simon Fox, owner of Fox Dental Care, explains: “Selling a dental practice is an incredibly stressful and complex process, one that I was not looking forward to. However, the help and experience of the Simplyhealth team made the whole thing straightforward. From first meetings right through to contract signing, I have felt relaxed and supported, which is the same as I have done during the last 25 plus years of working with them. In particular having our dedicated Simplyhealth Business Development Executive, Harriet, always at the end of the phone, has really proved invaluable. Selling the business you've lovingly built up over 35 years to someone you trust and already have a great relationship with has certainly made things easier. I look forward to the coming years in partnership and to my eventual retirement.”
For further information about Simplyhealth please visit www.simplyhealth.co.uk.
Denplan has announced today that it has completed its first two 50/50 dental partnerships with dental practices in South Yorkshire. Plans to set up a pilot scheme to enter into equal partnership with individual member practices were revealed last year by Denplan and Simplyhealth.
The new partnership model ensures that both partners have equal rights in practices and enables dentists to retain day-to-day clinical management of the practice. The business model has been created to reduce the barriers to an associate taking over a practice and supports the eventual transition to a new owner, who will then acquire the retiring dentist’s 50% share of the practice.
The first two new partnership practices are: The Dental Practice, based in Dronfield Woodhouse, in Sheffield; and Mapplewell Dental Centre in Barnsley. The Dental Practice is a family run private practice, owned by Dr Colin Doody, and has been in business for over 36 years. Mapplewell Dental Centre is owned by Dr Mark and Dr Elizabeth Bishop who have been in business for over 21 years.
The Partnership Programme offers peace of mind to dentists as it sets out the basis on which the remaining 50% of the practice will be valued, providing certainty to the dentists who participate at a time when they might have concerns over retirement and what might happen to their practice. It also helps dentists to enjoy their hard earned success by immediately freeing up some of the finances that would otherwise be reserved to fulfill the obligations of running a successful practice – and continuing to allow them to take responsibility for the day to day management of the practice, clinical activity and patient care.
The Partnership Programme resulted from a strategic review from Simplyhealth, of which Denplan is a part, who are focusing on further investment and innovation in the dental market.
Steve Gates, Managing Director of Denplan, commented: “We are delighted that we have completed our first two dental partnership agreements with The Dental Practice and Mapplewell Dental Centre. Succession planning for retirement is an increasing priority for many dentists and one which we believe Denplan and the Simplyhealth team can play a positive and active role in. We are well positioned to partner with member dentists due to our existing strong relationships with them and our expertise in the dental marketplace.
Romana Abdin, Chief Executive of Simplyhealth added: “This is a really exciting development that has attracted a great deal of interest from dentists looking to secure the right future for themselves, the practice and their patients. Our sole focus is everyday health and this demonstrates an ongoing commitment to dentists and the market as a whole.”
Dr Colin Doody, owner of The Dental Practice, said: “I was thinking of my exit strategy as I am getting to ‘that age’, and I wanted to ensure that I was leaving my practice in good hands for my son, who is our associate dentist, and also my wonderful long standing staff and patients – many of whom have been coming to see me for the last three and half decades! This Partnership Programme offered me the ideal solution.”
Dr Mark Bishop, owner of Mapplewell Dental Practice, commented: “We decided to partner with Denplan to ensure that there would be a legacy of high quality dentistry after we retire. Denplan are a respected and trusted brand who have always had the same ethos of customer care as we have. As we really care about our practice team, this model allows a smooth transition and ensures they will be well looked after in the future.”
The new businesses have been set up as ring-fenced partnerships. These will operate separately from Denplan, bringing in additional expertise from across Simplyhealth, with their own governance to ensure that there is no potential for any conflicts of interest to arise.
Denplan Limited is the UK’s leading dental payment plan specialist owned by Simplyhealth; with more than 6,500 member dentists nationwide caring for approximately 1.7 million Denplan registered patients. Established in 1986 by two dentists who pioneered the concept of dental payment plans, Denplan has been at the heart of dental care for nearly 30 years. Today, Denplan has a wide range of dental plans for adults and children, enabling patients to spread the cost of their private dental care through a fixed monthly fee. Denplan supports regular attendance and preventive care, reducing the need for clinical intervention and helping patients to maintain healthy teeth and gums for life. Patient enquiries telephone: 0800 401 402 Dentist enquiries telephone: 0800 328 3223. www.denplan.co.uk
· Denplan Care: all routine and restorative care + worldwide dental injury and dental emergency cover
· Denplan Essentials: routine care only + worldwide dental injury and dental emergency cover
· Plans for Children: routine and other agreed care + worldwide dental injury and dental emergency cover
· Membership Plan: registered with the dentist + worldwide dental injury and dental emergency cover
· Denplan Emergency: worldwide dental injury and dental emergency cover only
· Corporate Dental Plans: company funded, voluntary and flexible benefit schemes
Denplan also provides a range of professional services for its member dentists and their practice teams, including the Denplan Quality Programme, Denplan Excel Accreditation Programme and Denplan Training. Plus regulatory advice, business and marketing consultancy services and networking opportunities.
For more information about Denplan:
Denplan Press Office
Tel: 01962 829 179
Midlands based Theresa Riley has joined cost effective and technology embracing dental payment plan provider – Patient Plan Direct, heading up the company’s business development support in the Midlands. Theresa brings to Patient Plan Direct a huge amount of experience in nurturing practice’s private growth and the implementation and development of private dental plans.
Following an initial career in dental nursing, dental radiography and teaching, Theresa moved into dental corporate management and quickly advanced up the career ladder to run the specialist department within one of the UK’s largest dental corporates. Thereafter, Theresa has held several senior management and business consultancy roles, recently consulting on the design and implementation of a dental plan administration solution, thereafter introducing the plan solution at several practices either converting from NHS to Private or switching their plans from another plan provider.
With regards to her new role, Theresa commented; “I wanted to further expand my knowledge and work within the plan sector, but due to my previous consulting work it just wasn’t possible, so when the opportunity came along to join Patient Plan Direct, the company, role and team seemed the perfect fit. I can’t wait to get started”.
Simon Reynolds, commercial director of Patient Plan Direct explains; “As we continue to evolve and build on our strong reputation as a low cost plan provider offering first-class support, Theresa brings to the mix an unrivalled level of experience and knowledge. Theresa’s skills set will benefit the practices we already work with in further developing and growing their respective dental plans, as well as new practices not already working with Patient Plan Direct who wish to take advantage of maximising the profitability of a dental plan at their practice.”
Theresa added; “I was attracted to joining the Patient Plan Direct team after taking the time to understand more about their service proposition and technology. Patient Plan Direct’s streamlined, practice branded and web based approach to dental plan administration along with the support and advice that is delivered for £1 per patient per month is the right fit for so many practices both clinically, financially and operationally.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting Patient Plan Direct’s existing clients and seeing how I can help them grow their plan patient base further as well as connecting to new clients to see how our solution can benefit their practice whatever their objective; transferring from another plan provider to make significant cost savings, launching a plan for the first time or making a move away from the NHS.”
Patient Plan Direct is a highly cost effective dental plan provider working with over 300 practices nationwide, embracing 21st century web-based technology to offer a sophisticated solution to running practice-branded dental plans. Thanks to an administration fee of £1.00 per patient per month (including worldwide dental A&E cover and VAT), Patient Plan Direct often proves to be 2-3 times more cost effective than working with other plan providers.
Cost-benefit analysis ahead of 2016
Louisa Buckingham of Patient Plan Direct explains why practices should consider performing cost-benefit analysis ahead of 2016.
The dental industry continues to become an ever more competitive industry with a generation of tech savvy and business-minded dentists. More than ever, dental practices are looking to differentiate themselves, create competitive edge, provide a unique patient experience and embrace digital dentistry all whilst endeavouring to generate healthy profits and deliver the best in patient care.
A cost-benefit analysis is the exercise of evaluating a planned or existing action by determining what net value it will have for your practice. A cost-benefit analysis finds, quantifies, and adds all the positive factors; the benefits. Then it identifies, quantifies, and subtracts all the negatives; the costs. Should the benefits derived from the action outweigh the costs of implementing that action, then the action should be taken and vice versa.
As practices increasingly seek to cut costs and improve productivity and care, cost-benefit analysis has become a valuable tool for evaluating a wide range of business decisions and opportunities for dental practices; the prospect of a move away from the NHS, which consumables supplier to work with, which plan provider to work with in administering and developing the practice’s private dental plans.
When undertaking this review you should ask yourself questions such as; what value does this opportunity/action represent? What other alternatives do I have and how do they compare? When did I last review this area of my business?
Take for example, dental plan administration. It’s alarming how many dental practices aren’t aware of the fees they pay to their plan provider and nor do many assess what value these fees represent.
Many plan providers profess to offer a range of additional ‘non-plan’ related services, hospitality and support alongside core plan administration. This ‘optional’ access to additional elements of service aside from plan development is rolled in to the fee structures charged by some plan providers. Many practices don’t actually utilise these additional elements, effectively paying for something they don’t fully leverage and therefore not seeing value.
When performing a cost-benefit analysis in relation to working with a plan provider you should make a list of what the provider delivers; the benefits. For example; How many times a year do you see your representative? Do you fully utilise additional services such as regulatory advice, ‘key client’ forums, or clinical events? This should then be compared to the costs of the service and also weighed up against other provider propositions in the market.
If you already work with a dental plan provider, the Patient Plan Direct business development team can help your practice conduct a cost-benefit analysis, a very useful technique you may then consider to assess and analyse other areas of your business.
Patient Plan Direct is a dental payment plan provider working with practices across the UK, recognised for its cost effective (£1 per patient per month) approach to support and administration, as well as its innovative web-based management platform. Patient Plan Direct support practice with; New payment plan launches, NHS to Private conversions and Plan provider transfers