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What is a DSO, and how can it affect the way you practice?

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Dental Service Organizations are here to stay — for many of today’s practitioners, that’s a good thing. 

 

Dental Service Organizations (DSOs) partner or provide contractural services to dental practices to provide essential business management and support for non-clinical services. This allows dentists to maximize their practice from a clinical perspective while relying on the support organization to handle the business side of their operation through professional office management.

 

While various DSO models exist in the industry, most are structured to provide support and accountability within a dental practice. Learning the fundamentals of running a business is non-existent in dental school curriculum, and new graduates enter the industry with limited knowledge of what it takes to successfully operate a business while simultaneously carrying the weight of accumulated debt. Fresh dental graduates are seeking stability, and DSOs are equipped to provide solutions. While debt is undoubtedly a key driver, the trend is also intriguing for those seeking administrative support to focus more intently on their primary goal: optimal patient care.

 

By eliminating the daily stressors of running a highly efficient business, the DSO model can offer a more patient-centred environment, reducing time spent on administrative tasks and increasing valuable time spent chairside. Some of the main advantages for dentists include:

 

  • Relief from administrative tasks including marketing, accounting, human resources, IT support, recruiting, payroll, tax planning, and risk management

 

  • Access to innovative technology and equipment without incurring overhead costs 
  • Ensures complete compliance with regulations and guidelines  
  • Enables practices to accept various types of insurance plans and providers  
  • Can assist under-resourced or underserved populations with access to essential dental services 
  • Networking opportunities with increased access to specialists, mentors, colleagues, and continuing education

 

Additionally, DSOs have the opportunity to implement scalable procurement processes that can contribute to successful practice efficiencies. Integrating a comprehensive inventory ordering and tracking system can create an effective spend management strategy that helps minimize costs and increase profits. 

 

The fact is, Dental Service Organizations are here to stay. While opinions will continue to vary throughout the industry, it’s all based on your outlook. A passion for helping others and ensuring proper oral care is the reason you entered the industry in the first place. Take time to reflect and decide on the best approach for your career and, most importantly, for your current or future patients.

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