Q&A with Diana Thompson, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Dental Performance Institute

Diana Thompson serves as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Dental Performance Institute

On February 19, 2020, Diana  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 are three major challenges DSOs must overcome?

1. Financial
2. Operational
3. Management & Team Dynamics

Emerging and established DSO’s goals and motivation is to quickly add to their portfolio of practices whether it be build De Novo, acquire established practices or both, scale portfolio to a certain number of practices, then sell or be acquired within 3-5 years. Some take longer, while others are acquired, then merged a handful of times.

When scaling quickly, the number one category that becomes a major challenge is organizing then standardizing Operations and its Operational Modules, which then has a negative impact on improving Financials, and restructuring, training, then coaching Management and Team. All 3 work hand-in-hand for the betterment of the business. If not aligned, precious time is wasted and ROI is halted.

Where are the greatest opportunities for DSOs?

1. Financial
2. Operational
3. Management & Team Dynamics (Proper Organizational Structure, Chain-of-Command, Training, Coaching)

Throughout my career, I’ve analyzed a multitude of dental practices (GP, each Specialty, OMS, Prostho) continually discovering the same common denominators: money sitting on table or removed from the business without the knowledge of the business owner(s), operations and its modules not being worked at the levels needed to meet objectives, and management and/or team not aware of or understanding the company’s mission to be able to support it, not trained properly, etc. Because of this, I created a service called Operational Equity®. It is customized per DSO business and assists dental practice(s) in boosting financials quickly to improve the bottom line, organizes then standardizes each operational component within the SOP of practice/business, extends proper training and coaching to/for each department and team member to include management, while management oversees process to keep implementation and growth strong and on track.

When partnering with clients, our company’s focus is to comprehensively analyze all aspects of the dental practice(s)/business in each of the above 3 categories searching for areas of opportunity, creating a customized action plan specifically toward the mission, vision, goals, outcome client is seeking, then implementing plan in a timely manner. What I find in each practice, either within a DSO or on its own is bottom line financials can be increased by concentrating on existing patient base operational activity, analyzing the reporting/metrics (in each of the 4-5 categories), operational modules for each location can be organized, then standardized to allow for solid productivity, efficiency, and profitability across all practice locations,, and finally, team member(s) accountable for each module can be trained, then coached appropriately to expand their skill level and meet and/or exceed the demands of their role with company. In addition, management overseeing team member(s) and their activity, will be trained and coached appropriately to expand their skill level while monitoring movement, course correcting where needed, and be the leader that team seeks and organization requires.

What is the Outcome? (greatest opportunity) to name a few:

Financials: Upsurge in bottom line revenue within 3 months, allow business to meet industry standard and dental business KPI’s in a timely manner, while keeping on point w/DSO business purpose, utilize increased revenue to purchase technology to enhance profitability, time efficiency, operations, offer advanced training to all departments, etc.

Operational: Organized and standardized operational components that can be mirrored throughout all locations, then implemented properly in each location, strong SOPs to be implemented properly and promptly especially if/when team member moves on from position, time efficiency, efficient team work, meeting deadlines, etc.

Management & Team Dynamics: Management is now aligned w/organization regarding the mission, vision, goal, and objectives and can integrate into location and with team, while monitoring and course correcting where applicable. Team has the tools to meet organizational objectives while performing their role as time efficiently and stress-free as possible.

If you could solve one challenge in the dental industry overnight, what would it be and why?

Assist private equity firms, investment bankers, and DSO executives in understanding the high level of importance operations, its modules, management and team members are to/for the organization. All of these moving parts must be in formation and aligned or chaos will ensue.

Scaling a DSO business is extremely important, however, if the internal engine is not structured properly to support the organization, company doesn’t have the proper departments established and operating nor have the experienced human capital to support said departments, employees are not trained properly or lack the competencies to support the role and growth of it, backtracking to repair these areas will kill time and halt ROI.

The bigger the organization, the more moving parts. Acquiring then transitioning a practice into the culture of the DSO takes time. Proactively creating a 30, 60, 90 day plan to address each category works wonders for the business and all involved.

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