When I speak to doctors in transition, I remind them of the importance of keeping their office “current.” For some, that’s as easy as having their landlord repaint as part of their lease renewal agreement or upgrading the furniture in their perhaps, dated reception area. For others, however, it might require a significant financial investment to add computer work stations, digital radiographic sensors, and intra-oral cameras to their operatories. In either case, there is a payoff.
Repainting heavily trafficked hallways or adding a new “accent” color to brighten up a facility always brings positive comments from patients. Re-matting or reframing existing artwork will give it fresh appeal. In fact, simply moving artwork from one operatory to another every four months or so will make patients think the art is new because they’ve probably never seen it before.
Making a significant investment in new equipment near the time of transition, however, should receive a careful financial analysis based upon the ROI. Both the vendor and one’s personal accountant, as well as a knowledgeable consultant can help. Non-digital practices have reduced buyer appeal and values, so requesting advice from your practice broker will also prove helpful.
When I made the substantial investment to digitize my practice ten years prior to transition, I failed to appreciate the plethora of benefits we’d gain. In addition to the obvious advantages of digital radiographic images and patient education using intra-oral cameras and software like CAESY, we improved practice efficiency and patient retention while reducing the burden on our office staff by pre-appointing patients before dismissal from the operatory. And, while we anticipated needing more than five years to gain a return on my investment, it took less than three.
I was recently reminded of a long-ago conversation I had with a doctor nearing retirement. It was 1987, and he asked me if I thought it was worth spending $2,000 to buy the new light-cured composites and a halogen light. It seems he was still using chemical-cured systems that required eight minutes to set. After I raved about the many advantages of the new composite systems in color stability, reduced clinical time, and patient acceptance, he suggested that I probably received a “kick-back” from the supplier, and that no investment of $2,000 two years before retirement was worthwhile! Really? Good grief!
Whether you’re new to practice, well-established, or nearing retirement, keep your office fresh, warm, and inviting, and reinvest in your skills, your team, and your practice as needed to offer your patients the very best.
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“The future depends on what you do today.“