As 2018 draws to a close and 2019 nears, what are the industry trends dentists should be looking out for? Here are five trends to watch this coming year:
The growth of group practices. More group practices formed in 2018 than ever before, and the trend is expected to continue. One of the biggest reasons for dentists banding together is the rising costs of dental school, the highest in all of the medical arts. A shared practice means shared expenses and shared risk, which are highly attractive to dentists carrying student debt in the mid-six figures.
3D printing. This technology has been around for a few years, but it was mostly used in the dental industry for orthodontics. But now, it's growing more and more popular in general dentistry for implants, prosthodontics and more. Resin technology is ideal for dental devices and can deliver long- and short-term solutions for patients.
Patient financing. If you're not offering patients some financing options, at least the opportunity to pay their bill over time, you should think about it. In the shifting sands of healthcare, dental insurance isn't always offered by employers.
Branding. All businesses, even dental offices, have a brand, and we're not talking about the brand of product they're selling. It's the brand of your business, your practice's reputation, in other words. What's it like to be a patient of yours? What's it like to work at your practice? Because of the continued rise of online reviews on sites like Yelp — yes, there's a section on dentists in which patients rate and comment about what it's like to be your patient — it's more important than ever to up your game. Studies show that most consumers, 97 percent, check out online reviews before visiting local businesses. That includes dental customers.
But branding is not just on the consumer side, it's on the employee side as well. Sites like Glassdoor host employee reviews of their employers, and the majority of job seekers check those types of sites before applying or interviewing with a company. If you're having trouble filling that hygienist opening, check out your Glassdoor reviews.
Social media marketing. With new privacy protections and scrutiny about marketing techniques on social media channels, you may be looking at spending more dollars on things like Facebook ads and boosted posts. The key here is to take a look at the posts last year that had the best performance. What got you the most bang for your buck? Concentrate your efforts there.
At Harbor West, we specialize in helping dentists create a solid financial foundation for their practices and their families. Questions? We're here to help.