Many dental clinics today have grown from being one or two-man practices to more complex businesses with a higher number of employees. This shift has added administrative duties to many dentists’ responsibilities. Therefore, dentists who are also clinic owners need to not only be adept at performing dental treatments, but to have management skills as well.
A dental clinic owner today is responsible for managing staff, coordinating marketing activities, and overseeing the budget, purchases, patient’s appointments, and clinic design. All those tasks needs to be performed in an efficient yet profitable way to guarantee the success of the clinic.
Every clinic owner has a unique management style, concentrating their efforts on specific tasks. We hereby present Akke Kumlien and Heidi Lund, two dentists who take different approaches to manage successful clinics.
Akke has worked not only in Sweden, but also in other countries in Europe and throughout the USA. He got his start as an “assistant dentist in specialist clinics in oral and maxillofacial surgery and prosthodontics”, and ten years ago, he bought the clinic Södertandläkarna in Södermalm, Stockholm, which had previously been owned by the same family for more than 50 years.
As soon as Akke assumed the clinic, he started to refurbish it with reliable high-tech products, aiming to increase production, offer specific treatments to patients, and make efficient use of the space.
“We want to keep both patients and staff happy,” Akke said. “It is very important to keep the staff motivated, having clear tasks and goals. This will reflect in the way we deal with our patients and guarantee that when they leave our clinic, they know exactly what we have done, and are happy both with their experience and the dental treatment provided.”
But keeping both patients and staff happy is not always an easy task.
“As a clinic owner, you will face many situations that are new for you as a dentist,” Akke said. “You can adapt or regret. I choose to adapt.”
In his journey as a clinic manager, Akke decided to get help from an external consultancy company and to take management and leadership courses at Stockholm School of Economics.
“The tools that I got with those courses facilitated our work, enabling us to waste less material, to have faster and more effective procedures, to implement extensive quality control, and to spend less time on administration and more time providing high level treatments to our patients,” said Akke.
The patients who started coming to the clinic under the previous ownership have noticed the difference, Akke said, adding that they show great appreciation for the quality of equipment and procedures the clinic provides.
“A good example of this is our XO unit,” Akke explained. “Our patients enjoy the comfort and the design of our XO, and our staff enjoys the XO unit because it is reliable and facilitates your daily work. The well-balanced instruments and the fact that all tools can be at the bridge really help us to work efficiently and smoothly. Our XO unit provides us with a win-win situation.”
Read more about Akke Kumlien’s dental clinic in Stockholm here.
HEIDI LUND: HØRSHOLM
Workflow and patient experience will always come first for dentist Heidi Lund, who is the owner and manager of two clinics in the north of Copenhagen, in Hørsholm and Skodsborg.
Heidi has been a clinic owner for more than twelve years, but before that she worked for other dental clinics. She used her experience as both clinic owner and employee to create the management strategy for her new clinic in Hørsholm.
“When I decided to expand and have a new clinic, I knew exactly what I wanted to offer my patients and the type of investment I was willing to make,” said Heidi. “The patient is the centre of my new clinic. Having worked in clinics of different sizes, I have observed that it makes sense to design a dental clinic from the bottom to facilitate a good workflow for staff and a good experience for patients.
“To concentrate on patients, I have designed the entire clinic thinking about facilitating the work flow of my staff. All the treatment rooms have easy access to the sterilization room, and at the same time, they are kept away from the patient’s view, to avoid any stress to the patient or discomfort of the staff. This way, they can move freely around the clinic at their own pace without being interrupted.”
“As a manager, I have learned to trust my staff and to delegate as much as I can. Everyone here knows what their tasks are, but there are some decisions that I still have to make on my own. One of those decisions was about the monetary investment I made in my new clinic. I wanted things to last and to postpone another big investment for a while. Therefore, I have decided to go with timeless design and the latest technology in every detail of my clinic from the coffee machine to the furniture, scanner, and especially the dental unit.
“I have chosen to use an XO CARE unit because it saves my staff time. The hygiene system is brilliant. We don´t need to mix any cleaning products or be beside the unit when it´s in cleaning mode, as the unit mixes the products itself and flushes everything in around six minutes. This saves at least 30 minutes of my assistant’s day, every day.
“Another reason I have opted for the XO CARE unit is the fact that we have a lot of older patients. Their comfort is a must for me. As the XO unit has a very flexible neck-rest and supported elbows, the patient feels very comfortable, and that means they will not need to move during treatments, which is good for them and for the dentist, who can work faster and concentrate on the oral cavity. Staff diversity is another topic I have concentrated on when building this clinic. I have several dentists with different specialities working here. My goal is to offer all kind of treatments in one place so our patients don´t need to go to another clinic, no matter what kind of treatment they need,” said Heidi.