Q&A with Joe Feldsien, Senior Vice President, Professional Partnerships, Pacific Dental Services

Joe Feldsien serves as the Senior Vice President, Professional Partnerships at Pacific Dental Services.

On February 19, 2020, Joe will serve as a panelist at Becker's 1st Annual Dental + DSO Moderated Discussion. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to industry leaders who plan to speak at the roundtable, which will take place February 19 in Chicago.

To learn more about this exclusive event, click here.

What strategies are you using to attract recent dental graduates?

Joe Feldsien: The Pacific Dental Services® (PDS®) Owner Dentist model enables our supported clinicians to lead other clinicians in clinical excellence. Dental school graduates who join PDS-supported practices have the opportunity to work alongside dentists who own their own supported private practices. We’ve partnered with several dental schools throughout the United States, providing us with the opportunity to connect with the best and brightest students in the field.

PDS’ core business is practice support. Generally speaking, new dentists fresh out of dental school haven’t received the training they need to efficiently operate a standalone practice. Our Founder & CEO, Stephen E. Thorne, IV, recognized early on that PDS could provide business support services to help dentists better provide patient-focused care.

What are three major challenges DSOs must overcome?

JF: For dental support organizations, there are still misconceptions within the dental industry that can have a negative impact:

  • It’s sometimes assumed that non-clinicians are leading clinicians. This couldn’t be further from the truth for PDS-supported dentists. Our primary purpose is to support dentists with operations and business support services, to help them keep their patients healthier and happier.
  • There’s another misconception that for DSOs it’s all about money. Profitability is important to sustain and grow practices. Yet at PDS, we continually discuss the importance of a healthy relationship between purpose and profit. We are committed to investing in the latest proven technology. We constantly work with our supported owner dentists to improve and innovate with proven technology.
  • A third misconception is that some assume that working for a DSO is only a stepping stone toward owning an unsupported practice. Many dentists with unsupported dental practices quickly realize that owning a practice supported by a DSO has many major advantages. Although this isn’t a fit for everyone, it is a good fit for many.

Where are the greatest opportunities for DSOs?

JF: There are many key opportunities for dental support organizations, including:
  • Access to care – for many traditional dental practices, they have their offices open on a somewhat limited basis. As we know, however, patients need and demand more flexibility. For PDS-supported dental practices, access to care is a key differentiator. Many of the supported dentists in our network are open six days a week and remain open during late hours.
  • Financial flexibility is also key. Many patients need support in finding viable financial solutions. At PDS, our supported practices have many patient-friendly payment solutions to help them get the treatment they need.
  • Another big opportunity for DSOs is to provide patients with clinical outcomes and advanced proven technology. The patient/dentist relationship is vitally important, and when patients trust their clinicians, they’re more likely to want to learn more about the patient-centric technology that’s available to them.
    • This includes Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT). The benefits of 3D imaging versus 2D is night and day. With the use of CBCT, clinicians are able to open their patients’ eyes and begin to see what is lying behind the veil to accurately diagnose their patients’ conditions. With CBCT, patients see what their clinicians see. 
If you could solve one challenge in the dental industry overnight, what would it be and why?

JF: One of the biggest challenges in the dental industry is to educate patients about the link between their oral health and their whole-body health. For this reason, we’re committed to educating patients about the Mouth-Body Connection®, PDS’ initiative that’s focused on helping patients understand how what happens in the mouth affects the rest of the body.

As you know, research shows that harmful bacteria and inflammation in the mouth can indicate and even cause systemic conditions throughout the body. Maladies of the mouth, including periodontal disease, are linked with other medical conditions including oral cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and more.

What has been most successful in terms of expanding?

JF: At PDS, we’ve stayed true to our purpose of supporting dentists to help them create Healthier, Happier Patients®. Our differentiated approach has been an important aspect of our company’s growth. We continually look for opportunities to enhance the conventional model to provide the Perfect Patient Experience® that patients need and have come to expect. Some key areas we’re focused on include:
  • Access to care
  • Financial needs of patients
  • Technological advances in dentistry

Pacific Dental Services® pioneered the concept of Modern Dentistry, allowing dentists to combine advances in the latest proven technologies with the best operational practices and procedures. PDS-supported dental practices offer their patients CEREC® CAD/CAM same-day dentistry, Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT), digital x-rays, laser, online scheduling, and the VELscope® Enhanced Oral Assessment System, among other technologies at the forefront of oral and whole-body health care.

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