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Dental Support Organizations come in all shapes and sizes. As a DSO adds dozens or even hundreds of locations, it faces new challenges. One of the biggest ones is ensuring your entire footprint ties together. i3 Ignite recommends understanding how different locations are performing relative to their peer group.


When your DSO grows into a couple of dozen or more locations, you have probably created some “clusters”. Each cluster is a group of your locations that you feel are like-markets or like-size. Whatever it is, you want to help these groups figure out where they are and what they need to do to get to the top end of their type of peer group… the top end of their competition.


Diagnostic Tools & KPIs

It’s important to be measuring key performance indicators, identifying issues, and implementing solutions that will move the needle quickly. You will need some diagnostic tools and metrics to anticipate when a location is starting to underachieve in its market. Hopefully, you have field teams in place who can spot when a location is starting to “go off the rails,” and you must have a way to deal with that. 


Promote Growth by Improving Your Centralized Services

You also need to look at the DSO itself. Are there some additional things you can do in the centralized services that would make a significant difference? Now that you have operational processes and support teams, measure their impact. Decide which ones are moving forward and which are not. Develop a strategy to boost them forward. When scaling, it is important to iterate locations but also improve the business operations while improving the performance of lower performing locations.


Promote Growth by Adding Services and Products

It is also possible to examine the range of services of your business model. Are there some new services or new products you can offer to incrementally grow the revenue of under-achieving locations? At this point, you need people at the corporate level focusing on evaluating segments and testing data-driven decisions to fine-tune your model. Based on the DSO’s model, you have a target for each location. You want that team to be working as a team around the things that are going to be most impactful. 


Do Pilot Testing

As you conceive of strategies to improve your operations, services, and products, i3 Ignite recommends designing pilot tests and testing them one at a time in a DSO location. By doing a lot of pilot testing and data collection, you will see whether the pilot changes to your substructure operation or service offering are working before you try to implement changes across the board. 

We recommend you do a lot of experimentation and prove the efficacy of the change with data. When growth is proven by implementing a specific strategy, that strategy can be iterated across your like-market or like-size locations and replicated as you scale.  Where you have demonstrated success, continue iterating and measuring the results. It goes back to the old saying, “Measure what you want to manage.”

When successful growth can be demonstrated, location teams will embrace the changes. They now know the changes predictably work.


More Advice from i3 Ignite

Patient Prism clients can benefit from more i3 Ignite advice in the “DSO Series” provided to our clients free of charge through the Patient Prism Academy. Patient Prism Academy is an extensive video library featuring dozens of experts in dentistry and business. 

I3 Ignite provides a tool-based training and advisory approach to bridge the gap between solid strategy and impactful implementation of growth strategies in healthcare delivery. DSOs can reach out to i3 Ignite’s advisory team to help them successfully strategize. Learn about i3 Ignite’s services.

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