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Letters: Practice valuation

January 02, 2012

There are many ways to assess a dental practice. Typically when a dentist seeks consultation with a practice management expert(s), the dentist is asked to furnish a significant amount of data related to financial factors.

Practice management consultants have provided an invaluable service to our profession in helping dentists improve the management of their practices. I believe that the scope of measurement should be expanded to include clinical factors. Identifying clinical goals such as: converting emergency dental patients to "routine care" patients; high caries risk patients to low caries risk; advanced periodontal disease to healthy periodontium; highly anxious patients to low anxiety; destructive occlusal patterns to healthy occlusal patterns.

Quantifying these factors may be challenging, though I know of one company that has developed tools to assess periodontal health. I can envision a time when in response to the question, "How is your practice doing?" the answer can be, "Production is up 15 percent and we have helped over 100 high caries risk patients shift to low risk."

Gary Pape, D.D.S.
Wenatchee, Wash.