Sarah Barnard, regional support manager from Practice Plan, looks at three key things you should consider when selecting a plan provider

With almost 30 years’ experience in dentistry, including 13 in practice, I know first and second-hand, the sheer volume of work that goes into running a dental practice. Any support in managing that workload can be a welcome relief, so if you are planning to introduce a membership plan into your practice it can be worthwhile asking potential providers what additional services they offer.

Whilst many dental practices choose to offer a membership plan as a way of providing affordable options for patients and providing a guaranteed income, a plan provider with wider wraparound services can offer so much more than just the administration of Direct Debits. Below are three things to consider when selecting a plan provider to partner with.

A support network

Running a practice can be a fairly insular business. So, having an external source of advice, guidance and a listening ear can be just what is needed. When choosing a provider, you need to think about whether they can fulfil these qualities through their rep – do you feel you can trust them to have your best interests at heart and build a relationship with? Can you envision them becoming an extension of your team?

For them to become this involved and to get under the skin of your practice, you need to make sure there will be regular contact between you. It can also be useful to check what events they organise or any ways they have of connecting you with other local practices, to share best practice and extend that network even further.

Wider business services

Investigate what other services they offer beyond administration that could help you to manage the business side of dentistry. You may well be able to benefit from the non-clinical expertise of your preferred provider to share the burden of running a busy practice and plug any gaps in your knowledge. For example, when it comes to marketing your practice.

Having access to a design and marketing team can help you to create a strong brand and build your presence in the market – whether you are looking to freshen your existing brand, undertake a re-brand or you’re introducing practice-branded plans for the first time. With specialist knowledge you can make sure that everything – your website, signage, posters, etc – works together to spread the same message.

Information insights

More than ever we live in an information age, so make sure to ask what help potential providers can offer when it comes to accessing and analysing your data. It can be time-consuming to sift through information about your patients, the plan they’re on and whether it’s the right one for them. But this can be vital in helping you identify trends and work proactively, helping the practice to run as efficiently as possible.

Find out what support they might offer, not only in terms of conducting data audits, but also in regard to any possible software tools that could be available to you. Giving yourself the best access to this information ensures you can offer quality service to your patients, whilst making sure the finances stack up.

These are just three things to consider when selecting who you want to partner with. Choosing the right provider can ensure you benefit from the right business support that is vital to building a profitable and sustainable practice whilst freeing you up to concentrate on dentistry.


For more information see www.practiceplan.co.uk