By: Keith W. Gruebele
Dentists are making smart investments in their practices to achieve their business goals, deliver the best patient experiences, and stay competitive in their markets. See how your colleagues are taking their careers and businesses to the next level—and discover ways you may be able to do the same.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Or so they say.
However, not being broke and not running at maximum potential are two very different situations—particularly when the former will keep you at the status quo and the latter can potentially earn you more revenue and improve your business operations. While one office may be just fine doing things the way they’ve always been done, another may see a boost in productivity and patient care by having made a smart investment.
Practice financing is on the mind of many dentists today—where to get it, how to invest it, and the returns it can provide. Bankers Healthcare Group, the premier provider of hassle-free financial solutions for healthcare professionals, issued a survey to dentists in 2017 about their most immediate financial needs. Here, we share the top five ways that they are looking to invest money toward being better providers, and challenge you to prioritize how financing can help your practice.
1. New, Better, Faster Equipment
Dental equipment is constantly evolving and improving, from being faster and smarter to more diagnostic and smaller in size. While it can be challenging (and costly) to keep up with ever-changing equipment, many dentists are making equipment upgrades a priority for their practices. Of those polled, nearly half (49%) said they plan to buy or lease new medical equipment this year.
2. Access to Working Capital
Dentists managing their own practice probably have many priorities for today and goals for the future. Working capital can help fund many different initiatives to advance a practice, as well as help ensure that funds are there when most needed. As a cash-flow-dependent business, dentistry certainly can feel the pains of slow insurance reimbursements and delayed patient treatments, which is why 41% of those surveyed say working capital is their second-greatest financial need. Having access can help them overcome the cash-flow crunch and worry less about covering the day-to-day costs.
3. Improving Technology
Today’s consumers are digitally driven and, as such, expect efficiency and speed. Improving the patient experience can be as easy as incorporating new technology into your practice. Some ways to do that are by enhancing a practice website by building a patient portals and online scheduling system. Consider improving efficiency by investing in self-check-in kiosks to reduce wait times at the front desk. Dentists (39% of those we interviewed) say improving technology is among a top financial need.
4. Starting a New Practice/Consolidating Business Debt
There are two initiatives vying for fourth place (at 32% each) of key financial needs for dentists: starting a new practice and consolidating business debt.
Starting a new practice can offer rewarding challenges and a newfound sense of freedom and flexibility. While the process can seem overwhelming at first, the rewards can make the initial work well worth it. Being your own boss and running the practice yourself can offer many benefits, which is why one-third of dentists said they would need a financial partner to help with opening a new practice.
Your practice’s finances are already complicated enough without adding multiple lines of credit into the mix. Between insurance payment delays, third-party processors, and changing clientele, predicting finances on a monthly basis can be daunting. Add in multiple debt payments with varying interest rates, loan terms and payment schedules, and things can quickly get overwhelming. It’s no surprise, then, that 32% of dentists interviewed said they would seek a financial partner to consolidate their debts.
5. Buying Into an Existing Practice
Buying into an existing practice can be a significant investment. However, there are many benefits, compared to starting with a new build. For example, an existing practice already has a staff, equipment and patients. Oftentimes, this can help make the transition to full ownership much easier—and just about 30% of those surveyed say this one of their top financial needs in 2017.
When it comes to improving efficiencies, better treatment and diagnoses, and building a patient base, there is one common denominator—the need for the right financial partner to provide with the capital you need.
Keith Gruebele is Senior Vice President, overseeing all loan originations, at Bankers Healthcare Group, the premier provider of hassle-free financial solutions to healthcare professionals. If you’d like more information about partnering with BHG to finance your new medical equipment with fixed rates and flexible terms, have one of our experts reach out to you directly. Not ready to take the next step? Visit our cash flow calculator to better understand whether your monthly cash flow is sufficient to meet your expansion and career goals.