By JONATHAN FINE
As part of a series of blogs looking at the business models available to dentists, this week I’m talking about the wellness centre, a unique proposition that has been beautifully captured by our client Life Dental & Wellbeing in Exeter.
The wellness centre is in many ways perfectly suited to the era in which we live; we have an ageing population of unprecedentedly wealthy people who are going to live longer and take more interest in their health than any previous generation in history.
Links between gum health and systemic health are emerging that put dentistry at the logical crux of wellness centres, and dentists are the natural authority in this multidisciplinary environment, being formally trained medics.
Ben Pearson, the principal at Life Dental & Wellbeing says he’ll make patients potentially live longer by looking after their gum health.
He delivers a stark message on his website, and especially in his video that gum disease is public health enemy number one because of its links to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis and pre-term low birth weight.
The message is so clear and relevant to his target audience that Ben doesn’t need to revert to the usual superlatives you see on dental websites about his ‘excellent’ skills as a dentist and the ‘state of the art’ equipment on site.
When patients arrive at Life Dental & Wellbeing their systemic health is looked at with checks on blood sugar, blood pressure and a cardiovascular Q Risk assessment. Then their gum health is examined by a periodontal hygienist before Ben plots a plan to improve their general health with all this information.
A dietician is also available at Life Dental & Wellbeing and patients can get help on smoking cessation and sleep problems too.
The central message is clear; trust us with your health because we know what we’re talking about, gum disease is undertreated and is probably threatening to shorten your life, we can reverse this and look at other ways to improve you general health.
The message appeals to people in their 50s and up who are increasingly concerned about their mortality and increasingly likely to have gum disease.
There are, of course, many versions of the wellness centre. You can consider offering other services such as:
- private GP
- personal trainer
- beauty treatments such as Botox
- weight loss advisor
- art therapist
- speech therapist
The practitioners you partner with should be well established and contribute their own patient base. The wellness centre facility, the brand, the website and back office system, including reception and patient management, belong to you – the other practitioners simply work on an associate basis.
This is a unique proposition – it spreads risk and represents a robust defence against some of the challenges likely to impact your practice within the next few years. Because of the variety of reasons patients have to visit the centre they will stay with you longer.
Add that to the reality of NHS primary care services creaking under the strain of so many older patients and fewer income tax payers (it will become increasingly difficult for the over-50s to gain access to preventive screenings and treatment for chronic conditions such as back problems and obesity) and you have a really compelling business model.
If you’d like to talk about setting up a wellness centre get in touch – I’d love to help.
Breathe Business CPD at the BDA
Dr Simon Hocken is hosting a BDA Training course titled:
Grow your dental practice using effective retail strategies
By the end of the course you will:
- understand what large retailers such as John Lewis can teach you about running a successful practice
- know how to break through your practice’s glass ceiling
- understand the life cycle of your practice
- discover how to take your team with you when implementing change
- know when the bell has rung and it’s time to sell your practice
- gain tips on how to exit your practice well
When: Friday 27 March 2015, 10:00-16:00
Where: BDA, 64 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8YS
Buy a ticket: visit https://www.bda.org/events/Pages/Grow-your-dental-practice-using-effective-retail-strategies.aspx or call 020 7563 4175.
This training course meets the educational criteria set by the GDC for 4 1/2 hours of verifiable CPD and is certified by the British Dental Association.