Dentex Partner, Mitesh Badiani explains the benefits that the co-ownership model is able to offer for his staff and his patients
I got involved with Dentex at a fairly early stage. Initially I met with co-founders William Bowen-Davis and Mark Cockburn who gave me the vision of the model and where it was going. I liked it a lot, it was different from what any of the other corporates were offering and I could see how it related to me. I also liked the Dentex team, they were very sincere, knew what they were talking about and had a good background.
My business was six practices and an oral surgery division – and I was looking to sell to concentrate on my clinical dentistry. Over the years, I’d been approached by a number of the corporates and I was considering my options when I became aware of Dentex. The co-ownership model and what partnering with Dentex could offer, really excited me and gave me a different perspective of where I could see myself in the future.
Co-ownership works for me as it allows me to concentrate on what I’m good at – which is managing a group of practices and dentists, while still practising myself and retaining clinical control of my practices. I had struggled with financing growth in the business, which Dentex was able to provide, but it was also able to take over several areas of the business which were becoming quite difficult to manage.
The impact of the change in the business on my team and the patients has been minimal, which is always a good thing. Usually when corporates become involved in a practice, there are huge changes which can have a negative impact. In fact, our team has grown and as we have gotten bigger there is more cohesion and structure, as well as greater support from being part of the wider Dentex group.
One key benefit for me has been the provision of specialist care to patients – based in Devon there has previously been a lack of specialist care available, it has been difficult to attract high quality dentists here if I can only offer one or two days’ work a week. As we have expanded, I’ve been able to offer more work – it might be across a number of practices, but that means that patients no longer have to travel to Bristol for complicated treatments.
Currently three of my practices are being run under the Dentex model, with my remaining businesses being added very soon and we are still growing. Being part of wider collective of practices offers further advantages in terms of visibility, you are able to take advantage of buying materials in bulk for bigger discounts. As part of Dentex we now have HR and legal help in house, as well as support in areas such as marketing and compliance. It is also easier to be able to attract good quality staff, offering full-time hours and security to staff who may have to relocate or move back to the south west.
The branding and ethos of our practices hasn’t changed at all. I think it’s now been proven in dentistry that people don’t buy into a generic brand. When a new practice joins, we need to preserve the existing reputation of its dentists and only look to enhance what is already there.
Clinical expertise is one area where we can really help a practice to grow and develop. We need to help those within the group provide the highest clinical standards to patients – we can share learnings to make this more achievable. For example, I encourage any endo treatment to be done using a microscope as it’s been proven to give better results and using rubber dam for composite treatments too. The collaborative model enables us to stay focussed on the quality of care for our patients.
The other benefit of being part of a larger business is in career progression for our staff. In my region, I meet with all the dentists – principals and associates – and talk to them about where they want to be in five years’ time. It’s then up to us as a business to deliver for them, there’s an exchange of ideas and I can offer help and advice, but the dentist can decide.
For example, we have a dentist who’s keen on lasers, we can sit down with him, develop a business plan, purchase a laser and generate referrals from our other practices. Working in a single practice that wouldn’t be within reach.
There are so many different ways we can look at developing a dentist’s career – that can only happen if you have a number of practices working together.
I like how Dentex is evolving, it started 18 months ago with a clear ambition that has evolved to really meet the needs of dentists in the UK; offering them a genuine alternative to independent ownership or selling out to a corporate.
From a clinical perspective we want to develop a collective of dentists who share and learn from each other, enabling us as a group to offer superior patient care. We hope this will in turn attract developing dentists who want to come and work for Dentex. We’ve set up a model which is transparent, so it benefits every member of the team. Personally, I think its achievable and all those I speak to in the industry see it as positive step for dentistry.
Dr Mitesh Badiani BDS DPDS
Dr Mitesh Badiani is a partner at Dentex, as well as clinical lead at the Devon Dental Centre of Excellence and Plymouth Dental Centre of Excellence, with over 20 years’ dental experience. He has received numerous accolades including: National Clinician of the Year by Primary Care Trust and lifetime achievement award for his charitable work both at home and abroad with his charity Smilestar.