DPO Partnerships in the time of COVID-19

COVID-19 and it’s unforeseeable challenges have left dentists taking on too much risk in a time when their financial future is uncertain. Some are looking to DSOs (Dental Service Organizations) or DPOs (Dental Partner Organizations) to mitigate some of that risk; a partner they can rely on for administrative support to navigate these new pandemic challenges.

What are some of the benefits of membership during a pandemic?

Team Support

Your practice functions most efficiently when you can choose and keep the type and size team you need to succeed. True autonomy can only be achieved when you have the support you need to focus on the task at hand; providing quality clinical care for your patients without distraction.

Fully staffed teams at multiple locations creates jobs, keeps people working through tough economic downturns like we’ve seen recently, and provides better opportunities for dentists to serve more patients. Having the administrative support resources to keep your teams staffed and your practice running efficiently while stemming any loss from unexpected closure is critical to keeping your doors open during a pandemic.

Practice Alignment

A DSO provides you with a larger infrastructure to handle unforeseen circumstances like

Creating standards and procedures for sanitization and screening have allowed DSOs to make the most out of limited availability of Personal Protective Equipment (or PPE) and cleaning supplies. 

Many payers are not covering the increased need for PPE, meaning costs are being passed down to the practice and, ultimately, the patient. DSO support can make it easier to access the resources you need to keep your team members and your patients safe and healthy.

Patient Access

At the peak of COVID-19, 66% of DSO dentists and 80% of non-DSO dentists were seeing emergency patients only, while operational costs continued to climb. By mid-July, things had improved and 51% of DSO and 41% of non-DSO practices were open for business-as-usual. Even so, 42% of dentists in DSO practices and 57% of dentists in non-DSO practices are still seeing lower than usual patient volume. 

Partnering with DSOs clearly has had an impact on patient access on reopen, but how? Continued marketing efforts to keep butts in seats by educating the public on the safety of seeking dental treatment during the pandemic. Despite potential risks, both the WHO and the CDC say there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 transmitted in a dental office. 

The shift toward convenient healthcare (specifically toward telehealth) has created an opportunity for improvement in technology systems. Telehealth can keep patients engaged for treatment even if they aren’t fully comfortable coming into the office yet. 

The mission of a good DSO is to make life easier for doctors and patients. Not actively working toward that goal (regardless of your business structure), whether that be by improved efficiency and screening, or by integrating telehealth into your practice, is a big risk. Does your practice have measures in place to protect you through this or the next pandemic?

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