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6 Best Practices for the Early Stages of a Dental Practice Acquisition

By Planet DDS
October 27, 2021

Congratulations, you’ve just acquired a dental practice! Now that you’ve done your due diligence and research, here are the six best practices to help make the acquisition transition a smooth one. 

1. Ensure alignment on your organizational leadership and management style 

At the outset, you want to ensure alignment on key organizational issues including overall practice goals, leadership responsibilities, and management styles. By having candid conversations and avoiding making assumptions at this stage, you’ll set your DSO and the practice up for a smoother transition.  

  • Clarify roles and responsibilities within the practice as well as your DSO. 
  • Set clear guidelines on what tasks will come within the purview of the DSO and what will remain with the practice.  
  • Implement reporting chains and ensure all team members have a firm understanding of the organization structure.  
  • Keep lines of communication open for ongoing feedback to make ensure that any problems can be addressed in a timely manner.  
  • Agree on directional/vision decisions.

2. Become acquainted with a practice’s facility, culture, and team 

To quickly develop a good rapport with the team, ideally you want to have in-person meetings to get acquainted with the practice. This gives you a boots-on-the-ground perspective about how they operate and what areas of alignment will need extra energy. 

  • Observe how their practice culture adapts to schedule changes and daily workflow demands/challenges. 
  • Check their level of accountability for roles, tasks, follow-up, and reporting procedures. 
  • Ask about role specifics, gauge team member satisfaction with their role, and how they respond to critique and/or calls for improvement. 
  • Investigate whether there are gaps in skill that could be filled by your DSO structure. 
  • Learn as much as possible about their culture, adaptive mindset, and willingness to embrace organizational growth. 

3. Identify any inefficiencies and gaps 

It’s likely you will notice some areas of inefficiencies where there’s room for improvement. If you’ve done your research, these should not come as a surprise and in fact, these areas can be viewed as opportunities for growth. Identifying gaps can help improve the practice’ efficiencies, boost revenue, and make for a better experience for the staff and patients. 

  • Gather data on their marketing ROI – what’s worked and what hasn’t. 
  • Inventory their available technology – what’s automated compared with what they accomplish manually.  
  • How does their technology contribute or impede their productivity and workflows? 
  • Confirm that your available bandwidth can support the necessary changes for improving productivity. 
  • What tasks can be completed centrally by your DSO 

4. Stay up to date on finances 

Post-acquisition, this remains of crucial importance. As your financial practices may differ from their practice, it’s important to take time to stay current and make financially prudent short- and long-term decisions.  

  • Stay intimately aware of the finances of the practice. 
  • Are there any accounting, tax, or legal considerations to be aware of post-acquisition?  
  • Run regular reports that help you quickly visualize the financial health of the practice and to help you identify areas of improvement.  

5. Be patient with the pace of staff acceptance 

Be sensitive to the staff’s feelings about the transition. It’s not easy for them to learn new systems and protocols while continuing to do their job. Going the extra mile to check in with team members will help you retain good talent 

  • Gain buy-in as you help them adapt to your systems, operational protocols, workflows, and culture shifts.  
  • Expect some push-back on transitional issues and possible turn-over. 
  • Have a plan in place to fill the team gaps and adapt the practice workflows should attrition occur. 
  • Communicate consistently with the team and keep an open-door relationship with them to respond to any questions, concerns, and make necessary adjustments. 

6. Invest in new systems, technology, and training 

With many acquisitions, it’s common for new technology to be implemented for the dental practice that was acquired.  

Training helps team members adapt to each other, the new culture, and new technology to be integrated.  

  • Allow team members time to accept the new while letting go of previous operational details.  
  • Set up support structures for questions, troubleshooting, etc. 
  • Give team members the freedom to innovate around available technology. This shows a level of buy-in and ownership of the new culture.  

Acquisitions require sensitivity and patience along with strategy and change management. 

The following resources will help you navigate the change towards DSO acquisition growth:  

Most Powerful Denticon Features for DSOs and Groups  

How to Onboard New Dental Practice Employees 

How a Cloud-Based Practice Management Solution Can Relieve Pain Points for Your DSO 

Consider partnering with Planet DDS to provide enterprise technology solutions 

Planet DDS is a leading cloud-based technology provider among DSOs and large group practices. From solutions like Denticon Practice Management Solution to Apteryx Imaging, Planet DDS is here to help streamline your workflow systems and increase efficiencies to help you build your practice, grow through acquisitions, and most of all provide the best patient care! 

Schedule a demo to learn more about how Planet DDS solutions can benefit your growing DSO.