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Patient Prism's Dental Industry Blog

Here you'll find hundreds of articles and video interviews with dental industry experts on the topics of DSO and practice growth, dental software, call-tracking technology, patient experience and artificial intelligence fueling the dental industries ability to treat more patients and change lives.

An Interview with Dr. Alex Giannini, CSO of Aligned Dental Partners

 

One of Patient Prism’s first DSO clients was Aligned Dental Partners, so it was exciting for Patient Prism’s CEO, Amol Nirgudkar, to interview Aligned Dental Partners’ chief strategy officer, Dr. Alex Giannini, at the 2021 fall summit of the Dental Entrepreneur Organization. Because Giannini has had an extensive career, founding and serving several dental groups and DSOs over the course of three decades, he always has his finger on the pulse of what is happening in dentistry today.

 

 

Aligned Dental Partners Does Three Types of Coaching


Nirgudkar: What is Aligned Dental Partners and how is Aligned Dental Partners helping DSOs?


Giannini: We formed Aligned Dental Partners six years ago, with a mission of working with entrepreneurial dentists who needed the tools, the technology, and know-how on how to pull it together. We've successfully created over three dozen new DSOs and groups of multiple types. In fact, there have been twenty-one variations in how entrepreneur dentists are collaborating with private equity, bank debt, or their own capital. Many want to build legacy companies that can stay in the family or amongst partners.


We do three types of coaching. The first one is strategic consulting. And that basically means we help them figure out where they are and where they want to go, the strategy to achieve their vision, and the plan to take them from point A to point B. And that may mean bringing on a legal team, a finance team, an HR team, an IT team, marketing, procurement, accounting, and so on. We work with different partners all over the country to help them put together what they need, and then we help them put together their internal team.


Basically, we’re putting together the dental support organization. We may need to help them look for capital or additional practices. That’s a big part. We coach them to create a sustainable business of quality patient care.

The second type of coaching is operational. We have a whole division just for that, and our consultants work with the teams in place or with the owner doctors, and regional leadership to help them execute the strategic plan and meet their goals. We solve problems. For example, if they have patient flow or collections issues, we help them improve their operational systems to succeed.


The third type of coaching is clinical. We have a hygiene coach and a doctor coach that will work in their offices to help them increase revenue. Between the clinical and operational consulting there’s a lot of synergy to improve the bottom line while we’re also working on the top line.

 

 

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“Aligned” Is in Their Name for a Reason


Nirgudkar: You are a unique player in the industry because you understand how all aspects of the business are interrelated. You can’t fix clinical problems without operational buy-in and support. Tell me more about your philosophy, your approach.

Giannini: We don't have a cookie cutter approach. We have a philosophy of doing what's right and creating alignment, whether it's philosophical alignment among the partners and the owners, whether it's alignment between the strategic plan and what's going on operationally and clinically, and so on.


Nirgudkar: In all my discussions with DSOs, the topic of human behavior comes up. It’s difficult to change behavior. When groups acquire practices, they need to assimilate the people in those practices. Do you find it hard to create alignment between the new people and the DSO’s principles, mission, and vision?


Giannini: Well, yes and no. I always align financial interests. If we align our financial goals, and our interests, then everybody will jump out of bed in the morning. They'll be passionate about what they want to do. We see that. A lot of times we breathe new life and new energy into these groups, because we've given them something to work for.

Nirgudkar: Let me challenge you a little bit on that. Obviously, you're a doctor yourself but a lot of clinicians are not that motivated by the financial stuff because they just want to do right by the patient.


Giannini: I was speaking about the DSO level of business operation. On a clinical level, it's a different story. The conversation is different with the clinical team. There, we want them to do the right thing, regardless of money. So, I agree with you on that.

Nirgudkar: At the DSO level, you're saying, "We’ve got to align the financial stuff so that we are making the right decisions from ROI and growth standpoints." But on the clinical level, to operationalize that, you have different conversations with the clinical people, so that they will do the right things that will eventually lead to the right financial outcomes.


Giannini: Correct, the financial outcome is the byproduct of great leadership and great clinical skills--and the support of the management and operations teams. That's why I said our priority is creating alignment amongst all parties. If we can get the doctors to do the right thing, the money will follow.


Nirgudkar: They need to do right by patients with comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plans, full communication, and empathy so patients accept the treatment they need. Sometimes people have the misperception that DSOs tell doctors how to practice, as in, they need to make quotas. That’s very different than what you and DSOs are doing, which is coaching clinicians in how to better communicate with their patients, how to give them a better patient experience.


Giannini: I laugh, because 30% of dentists in a group practice were once solo practitioners. People say, “Group and corporate dentistry is bad dentistry." Turn around and look at what's going on in the solo practices. There's no accountability.

 

Aligned Dental Partners’ Plans for 2022

Nirgudkar: So, what are your plans for 2022?

Giannini: My wife runs a DSO in Florida and Massachusetts, so I'm supporting her in rolling out a new platform. Aligned Dental Partners is doing great. The demand for our services is high due to our reputation for success in doing it the right way. But we’re mindful of how the landscape changes. The biggest issue currently is tempering expectations. Sometimes I think this is like the California gold rush where everybody thinks, "I'll just go there, dig, and do it." But as I heard someone say this morning, “The days of duct taping groups together are over.”


Nirgudkar: That's right. So, if there is an emerging group out there that that wants help, you can go to AlignedDentalPartners.com. Thank you so much, Alex, for spending time with me. I look forward to seeing what happens in 2022.

 

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