Here are some action steps that could change the face of commitment in Organized Dentistry at the grassroots level:
1. See the Opportunities Afforded by Participation
Participation does not have to be completely altruistic. Specialist have known that for years. They have used their participation in Organized Dentistry to market to general dentists. What can you get from your participation besides a warm sense of accomplishment? How about the promotional value that you can build within (or external to) your practice centered on your stand promoting quality, not profit, in dentistry. How about the financial value of building your indelible reputation for stand-up righteousness when you go to sell your practice? The opportunities are only limited by your imagination and foresight.
2. Understand That What is Good for Dentistry is Good for You
If dentistry does better as a profession, you will do better. You are a proxy voter in the future of the “Big Business of Dentistry”, a $47 billion dollar a year industry (by comparison Coca Cola is $44 billion). Get out there and “Kick Butt” in the dental marketplace, you will kick butt in your office as well. Invest yourself in your own future.
3. Understand That What is Good for Patients is Good for You
Yes, of course you know what is best for your patients. You have all the right training and technology behind you. Problem is, you can touch only 1,000 to 5,000 people at a time, according to the size of your practice. Organized dentistry has the potential to touch 300 million+ patients. The more people can be taught to appreciate and demand good dental health, the more you will be able to concentrate on your profession and less on “closings” and “presentations” and even bottom line. If your participation in Organized Dentistry at any level can increase “External Patient Education”, then you will benefit in the wallet. Patients are not just pathological casualties from whom money can be extracted. They are our partners and stakeholders in dentistry, and they will do their “jobs” better with better education and information, at the benefit of all.
4. Make Your Dental Organization Stand for Something More Than Dinner and CE
These days CE is a lousy reason to go to a monthly meeting. The best CE is no longer available locally. This is one of the main reasons for the lower attendance noted in most dental societies and study clubs. Dentists don’t want to waste time going to meaningless meetings, unless they are stagnant dentists. By reinventing your dental society or study club into an organization that stands for the advocacy of dentists, dentistry, and patients, real dentists will have a real reason to participate. Stand for Optimal Care, and do something about it.
5. Make Your Organization Visible
Visible in the dental community, visible in the lay community. It will be good for each individual dentist, and it will be good for the patients. Improving access, having an indigent patient day, volunteerism, supporting “green” issues, will all increase the value of the “shares” of the stakeholders in dentistry. Be even more visible; create a marketing consortium of Optimal Care dentists. Market that your group has pledged never to compromise quality to profit. And police your group. Be loud, be proud.
6. Make Mentorship a Priority
Zig Ziglar preaches that you can get anything you want if you help enough other people get what they want. Young dentists are dying for direction, and very few entities are offering it to them. When was the last time you took a resident or the new dentist next door to a meeting on your buck? Have you opened your door? Your Mouth? Your heart? Young dentists are being taught that managed care or employee status is to be their future. Create an alternative. A direct benefit to you will be the nurturing of an associate, a potential partner, a potential buyer for your practice. Be an alternative to managed care.