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Matchmaking begins for ADA Practice Transitions

Online platform, advisor pair dentists based on compatibility

June 03, 2019

By Kimber Solana

 ADA Practice Transitions logo

ADA Practice Transitions began June 1 matching dentists who are seeking to join a practice in Wisconsin and Maine with owners in those states who are looking for a partner, associate or someone to purchase their practice through the new online service launched by ADA Business Innovation Group.

The online platform, along with an ADA advisor, will pair dentists in the two pilot states who share similar goals and philosophies of care. Each participating dentist will receive up to three suggested matches, and if both dentists agree to proceed, they receive contact information and guidance to navigate the entire process, according to ADA Practice Transitions.

In addition, the service also includes worksheets and templates to help dentists customize and organize their thoughts. The ADA advisor will also help facilitate the process and foster an environment for a successful match for both parties.

Dr. Suzanne Ebert
Dr. Ebert

Dr. Suzanne Ebert, an ADA advisor for ADA Practice Transitions, has traveled across Wisconsin and Maine to speak with dentists participating in the program.

“All had the same reaction — they’re very excited that the ADA is providing this service,” she said. “They had various reasons for being dissatisfied with the services that are currently available, ranging from not having enough practices/candidates to look at that fit their needs to not receiving any attention after they signed up.”

As an ADA advisor for the program, Dr. Ebert said the platform looks at basic filters when pairing potential dentists, including location preferences and whether a person is looking for a purchase or employment situation. Next, Dr. Ebert said, she reviews logistical factors such as the number of operatories and expectations on income potential.

“After that, things get much more interesting,” she said. “I will be looking at how compatible the two dentists appear to be based on responses to key questions. For example, I would want to match a dentist who likes to run multiple treatment rooms and fully utilize highly trained dental auxiliaries with a practice that has the space and the processes already in place. This is important to the patients and staff so they will experience continuity of care during the transition.”

ADA Practice Transitions includes a profile functionality that includes demographic information, a personality assessment and a detailed section that helps a dentist articulate their philosophy of care.

In addition, ADA Practice Transitions addresses confidentiality concerns of participating dentists. Unlike a typical classified or online posting, ADA Practice Transitions cannot be seen by everyone.

“Confidentiality is very important to our sellers and incoming dentists,” Dr. Ebert said. “Sellers often do not want patients and staff to know that they are looking at change and incoming dentists are not necessarily ready to tell their current employers that they are looking to leave.”

Dr. Ebert said an advisor will show both dentists only the basic profile details, including philosophy of care statements, general location and essential practice information. Identifying information, such as names, photos and work history, are blocked out. According to ADA Practice Transitions, dentists will never see the profile for a dentist who is not recommended by the advisor to prevent other dentists on the platform from learning that they are looking for a change.

“The only time contact information is shown is when both doctors agree that they want to talk to each other,” Dr. Ebert said.

The pilot program was developed after field research uncovered a need in the marketplace for dentists who want to connect for both employment opportunities and to facilitate the transition of a practice from one owner to another but have had difficulty doing so. Research also found additional needs around learning skills related to basic business management, ownership, patient acquisition, purchasing and staff relationships. The ADA Business Innovation Group unveiled ADA Practice Transitions during the House of Delegates town hall meeting at ADA 2018.

“I believe in this service because it addresses many of the things that I am passionate about,” Dr. Ebert said. “I believe that the ADA must support independent dentistry, and one way to do that is to make the process of transitioning into and out of practices easier.”

Dr. Ebert added that, as she’s been looking at the practices for sale and the income potential of those practices, she is reminded of the advantages of practicing in a rural area.

“The practices are priced significantly less than their urban counterparts and the overhead is considerably lower,” she said. “There is less need for marketing, and with the low cost of living, the outdoor lifestyle and the grateful patients, it is my opinion that every dentist should consider all options, including a rural practice.”

As the first two states to test the program, the Wisconsin Dental Association and Maine Dental Association continue to work closely with the ADA Practice Transition team to help make the platform helpful for their members.

For more information on ADA Practice Transitions, visit ADAPracticeTransitions.com.