Roger Levin, DDS, MBA
As most of you reading this column are aware, I present more than 110 seminars per year throughout the United States. Over the last few years, the issue of continuing-education credits for dental practice-management seminars has grown as a discussion topic and motivation for attendance.
Although I do not have any statistics, it appears that many states and state boards do not recognize practice management as suitable for continuing education for dentists. While it may surprise a few readers, I understand why they do not feel that dental practice management is a topic that should receive continuing-education credits. I believe, though, that the better a practice is managed, the better the quality of care will be. Good management allows for greater focus, aids in staff and patient understanding of comprehensive dentistry, and helps ensure that patients value the treatment they receive.
While I understand the positions of the states and state boards, I personally believe that it would be beneficial if up to six credits per period could count in the area of dental practice management. However, as a dentist, I also understand the feeling that each professional needs to maintain a level of clinical education to keep up with the changes and progression of dentistry.
The value of management
What I would like to point out in this column is what happened to me in Orlando on Feb. 26 and 27, 1999. I gave a seminar for the Central Florida Dental Association on a Friday and Saturday. No continuing-education credits were awarded for this two-day presentation. Yet, when I began my presentation on Feb. 26, more than 700 people were in the audience the first morning and more than 100 people were turned away. The second day, the majority of the preceding day`s attendees were still present.
I would like to congratulate each of those individuals. They recognized the importance of turning their dental practices into businesses. They did not allow the subject of continuing-education credit to be a factor in their decision to advance themselves and their careers. I would like to encourage everyone who reads this column to be certain to attend a number of dental practice-management courses annually. Chairpersons of the organizations to which you belong should be encouraged to include some practice management, even if continuing-education credits are not available.
Some organizations are beginning to feel that if they can`t provide CE credit, nobody will come to the seminar. The Central Florida Dental Association certainly proved that dentists and teams have a high interest in improving their practices.
Choose to grow your business
Whether or not your state awards continuing-education credit for practice management is irrelevant. Clinical excellence is important, and it is our obligation to provide the highest quality dentistry possible to every patient. However, it is the business skill and management knowledge of a practice that will truly make each dentist and dental team successful.
It is essential that you regularly attend practice-management education programs. You will learn as there are new advanced methodologies that include management systems and technology that can make a difference in your long-term success.
Roger P. Levin, DDS, MBA, president and CEO of The Levin Group and the Levin Advanced Learning Institute, provides worldwide leadership in dental management and marketing for general dentists, specialists, and dental-products companies.