Design your practice, design your life

June 1, 2009
If you page through the magazine this month, you will find something very unusual for Dental Economics® — a second cover ...

If you page through the magazine this month, you will find something very unusual for Dental Economics® — a second cover featuring Mr. Doug Young. He is no stranger to DE, since he has contributed many feature articles over the years and is now a regular columnist.

I had the opportunity to attend a revolutionary new seminar at the Scottsdale Center, presented by Doug and Imtiaz Manji, titled “Practice Harmony: Design Your Practice, Design Your Life.“

So many times in my dental career, I have done things on impulse without considering the impact on my family, my practice, or the people who work with me, as well as the impact on my financial health and the return on my investment. This seminar is about totally planning your next office with the intention of succeeding.

Please read the article about this seminar by Doug and Imtiaz. It could very easily be a life-changing event. It was for me!

For more information on “Practice Harmony: Design Your Practice, Design Your Life,“ please read the brochure that is tipped into the magazine. It can be easily removed to save for future reference. I will be doing some case studies on dentists who have taken this seminar and the effect it has had on their dental practice.

I have just received word of the death of another dear friend and colleague, Dr. Harry Demaree. His expertise in dental office design will be sorely missed. Harry graduated from the University of Nebraska Dental School in 1961, and built a thriving dental practice in Lincoln, Neb. By the mid-1970s, when Harry was ready to build his own office, he contacted his friend, Dr. Jim Pride. At the time, Jim was speaking about “design principles“ based on time and motion studies that made it easier to perform dentistry. Harry wanted to incorporate these principles into his own office. He built that office, but more significantly, it was the beginning of a great collaboration between Jim and Harry.

At Jim's invitation, Harry eventually sold that practice and joined Jim's “dental design crusade.“ It would greatly change his life. He studied and lectured with Jim until 1984 when — with Jim's blessings — he moved to Austin, Tex., to start his own dental design company, T.H.E. Design, Inc.

Pat Carter, an interior designer, joined Harry as part of that first “T.H.E. Design team,“ and partnered with him designing and eventually lecturing about the benefits of a well-designed office. It was Harry's personal experience with how design impacted his own practice that made him a compelling speaker and made T.H.E. Design, Inc., the premier dental design company in the industry. They coined the phrase, “high trust, low fear“ environment, and over the years I have met many dentists with who would attest to the difference “T.H.E. Designed“ offices made in their practices and their lives.

What Jim started, Harry perfected. He and I were members of the Academy of Dental Practice Administration, and I remember many hours talking with him about all the new technology coming into dentistry and where to put it in treatment rooms. Today, we can credit him for the dual-entry operatory and “power wall“ that has become an accepted norm for optimum four-handed treatment.

I talked to Pat and her husband, Dr. Jeff Carter, shortly after receiving the news about Harry's death. We talked about our mutual respect for him. I could hear in their recounting the same passion I used to hear from Harry. It is satisfying to know the work he dedicated much of his life to would not be lost. Pat and her husband formed their own dental design company in 2002, now called PDGFazio Design Group (

I have had an overwhelming response to my April Editor's Note on stroke prevention. Many of you called and e-mailed for a copy of the complete story and the laminated card. Remember that the column was written in February. We are now out of the laminated cards, and have changed the way we give our patients this potentially life-saving information. We simply printed it on the back of our business cards. Everyone in the office has business cards, so we can all give this vital information to patients, friends, and family. You will find the story and information on the DE Web site at

Joe Blaes, DDS, Editor — e-mail: [email protected]
Toll-free phone number: (866) 274-4500

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