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Patient Prism CEO, Amol Nirgudkar, talks with Michael Augins, President of Imagen Dental Partners (Imagen DPO™), to learn how Imagen’s DPO model is distinguished from the DSO model and why it is the organization of choice for associate dentists who aspire to become technologically advanced, practice with clinical autonomy to do what is in the best interest of each patient, and within three years, become partnering owners in the DPO. 



What is Imagen DPO™?

Imagen DPO™ is a dental “partnership” organization that puts a new spin on the DSO model. Imagen works in close alignment with experienced partnering dentists to develop new associate dentists and provide them with a pathway to become ownership partners in the DPO. Imagen DPO specifically seeks dentists interested in joining a partnership that prioritizes education, technology, and exceptional patient care to drive practice growth and long-term personal wealth.

Michael Augins and Rezwan Manji started Imagen during the Pandemic, and it is already one of the fastest-growing dental organizations in the nation. “I think the reason why Imagen is growing is that we occupy a unique niche that we think nobody else does,” says Augins. “I spent my career in dentistry, working with doctors who leverage the power of technology and education to grow their practices. I came from the technology side, and Rez was the president of Spear Education, so he came from the education side. We wanted to create a group that was attractive to those doctors. To do so, we spoke with the doctors that we were affiliated with, and they told us what was missing in DSOs and the reasons why they didn't join other groups.”

What was missing?

  • The confidence they could practice with autonomy and perform the individualized dentistry they know is in the best interest of each patient 
  • A well-defined pathway to grow into ownership in the organization


Imagen strives to give dentists more than other organizations

“We really wanted to create a group that embraced the three core philosophies of clinical autonomy, financial alignment with the organization (providing a pathway to ownership), and doing what is in the best interest of patients,” says Augins. 

Imagen also places high value on leveraging the latest technology and the unlimited Spear Education continuing education system to ensure its dentists are practicing at the highest standard. 


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“Whenever we go into new geography, our first partner is a key opinion leader in that geography, and that is really important. They are known as KOLs in the technology community, people like Rich Rosenblatt, Meena Barsoum, Mona Patel, Shivi Gupta, Tony Hatch, and Michael Snider—all well-known educators and podium speakers.”

The reason why KOLs are sought for each new geographic region is that each KOL signs on to be an educator and mentor for other partnering dentists. The KOLs run a study club network, “but we also supplement that with a compliment of education that is unparalleled in the DSO space,” says Augins. 

Every doctor at Imagen is a Spear CDOCS Mentor, receiving everything online that Spear Education provides. Imagen sends every partnering doctor to DS World, and they can go to any course in the clinical accelerator programs. 

“We invest more in our doctors’ education than DSO's do,” says Augins. “And when associates come to Imagen, we give them what we call a “pathway to partnership.” After three years of growing with us…doing the advanced education, proving their clinical skills, meeting their production goals, and proving their leadership abilities, they are given the opportunity to co-own an Imagen practice with us. It's a different model for them because they can grow into ownership.”

Imagen provides its dentists with a business coach and a clinical coach, but they remain the chief of their own practice. “They own 40% of the practice, so they are economically aligned, but they make the decisions in their practice, and we maintain their individual practice branding,” says Augins.  


Core values & a common business system align the Imagen organization for successful scaling

Dentists who sign up with Imagen are committing to a set of core values, the same educational system, and they have the same business and analytics systems.

“I would describe it as like luxury hotels organization where you have multiple distinctive brands that use similar processes and maintain a similar core culture,” says Augins. “We believe in putting the patient at the center of everything we do. We believe in the power of education. We believe in leveraging the highest technology. We really have been practicing at the highest end of a dental license.”


Process-driven, Imagen has had 31% same-store growth 

Imagen was born during the Pandemic. This was a time when dentists were thinking about their future and recognizing the risk of being on their own. Dentists were more likely to want a partner, so the Pandemic “may have acted as a tailwind,” says Augins. “One of the main reasons why people join us is our focus on helping them grow their practice.” 

Imagen has a formula for predictable growth and helps practitioners implement well-thought-out systems. By operationalizing Imagen’s education, technology, and business systems, dentists grow their practices in multiple ways. For example, each practice has a robust business plan for the clinical expansion and development of associate dentists. They have the buying power of a group and assistance for optimizing insurance participation, fees, the practice cost structure, and many other elements of the business. 

“You are very process-driven,” says Nirgudkar. “You operate like a Fortune 500 company.”

“If you normalize for COVID, our practices are up 31% in same-store growth to date,” says Augins. 

“That’s an outrageously amazing rate,” says Nirgudkar, who has spent much of his career examining the financial statements of dental practices. “At a 15% compounding rate, just imagine the value of what you're going to bring to the table for the 40% guys who are partners.”  

“Absolutely,” says Augins, “Our largest practice with two associates was doing three and a half million dollars before we partnered. And they are on track to do well over four and a half million this year. We believe we can help a practice of any size grow from the ground up and sustain growth…I think one of the ways that we deliver value is we help dental practitioners think about growth as a process.”

Understanding the financial wealth to be attained through Imagen’s pathway to partnership is a high motivator for young associate dentists to choose this DPO. With a commitment to the pathway, they are well on their way to partnering ownership, on the continuous road to clinical and behavioral mastery, and delivering the highest standard of care within a supportive community of like-minded, technologically advanced dentists. They are generating wealth, and what’s more, experiencing feelings of confidence and wellbeing as they give their best to patients to improve health and smiles. 


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