Monday, March 8, 2021

Partner for Success - What Does A Real Partnership Look Like?

At Superstition Springs Endodontics, one of our five core values is "Partner for Success". To us this means, that we are successful when our partners are successful. As we have focused on this value, we have come to more clearly understand who our partners are, and how we can help each other be successful.

At SSE, our partnerships are primarily with our referring dentists, but also include other important providers of supplies, IT services, legal services, accounting services and even janitorial services. While insurance companies are often viewed as an adversary, we should look to build partnerships with them, when possible.

A 2009 study by the L.C. Williams & Associates Research Group details a group of dentists who refer less than 10% of their root canals to endodontists. This group of dentists have a very different perspective about working with endodontists. They tend to believe that they perform the same quality of endodontic treatment as specialists at a lower cost. They are less likely to admit that certain difficult cases should have been referred to an endodontist than their peers who refer more than 10% of their endodontic cases. These dentists are also less likely to describe an endodontist as their partner in delivering quality dental care. As you can imagine, these are not the dentists that we are interested in working with.

efining this value of partnership has given us the freedom to realize that while most of our patients come from general dentists, there are times when we are forced to choose which dentists are given access and priority of our time, schedule and expertise. As you can imagine, those dentists with whom we have a partnership will get that priority.  W
hile working with this previously described group of dentists typically brings frustration, working in sync with partner dentists, and the relationship with them, is a rewarding and fulfilling part of our work.

A partnership is a relationship that benefits both parties. At SSE, this is what partnership looks like to us:

Our partners know:
  1. We will take care of their patients when in pain.
  2. We will stand behind the work we do for their patients.
  3. We will treat their patients the same way that they do.
  4. We will support their treatment plan.
  5. They can contact our doctors directly at anytime with any question or concern.
  6. Their patients will return more confident in their dentist and appreciative of their referral to SSE.
  7. We will do everything possible to help them be successful.

We know our partners:
  1. Respect our team and their efforts to serve their patients
  2. Respect our time and are patient and flexible in getting their patients in
  3. They know our treatment is worth the cost. They encourage patients to see the value in coming to our practice regardless of insurance benefits or distance traveled.
  4. See us as a valuable part of their dental team - not just an emergency service or someone to call to bail them out when they get in over their head.
  5. See value in the work that we do for their patients. They recognize the expertise that comes with endodontic specialization.
  6. Are comfortable calling our doctors directly to help them deal with any especially difficult case or situation.

We understand that referral patterns in dentistry can change for many reasons. The previous study found that the longer a dentist was in practice, the more positively they perceived their endodontist colleagues. Younger doctors were more likely to say that economics of treatment and their availability are more important factors when deciding whether to perform or refer to an endodontist. As doctors become more experienced, better acquainted, as professional relationships grow stronger through improved communication and experience together and as teams get to know each other and work together partnership improves. Sometimes doctors are discouraged from referring to endodontists because of their employment status as an associate dentist. Sometimes an owner doctor gets busy enough to choose procedures that are more profitable for them (crown & bridge) or they just get tired of searching for the MB#2 and look to build a partnership with an endodontist.

Our mature partners (and by mature I do not mean age) express to us that they feel that relieved sending their patients to SSE because they know the experience their patients will have and how it will move them forward in their treatment plan. While many of these partners may still perform some endodontic treatment, they become experts at diagnosis and case selection. They recognize the cases that will save them time and money by referring rather than treating. If you could ask them, they would explain that they are more successful and profitable by the working partnership they have with SSE.

Because of our value "Partner for Success", our partners are given the highest priority in our schedule. While we try to accommodate everyone who needs to be seen, our partners are given priority over self-referred patients, online referred patients or patients from offices that we don't have an established and working partnership.

We appreciate working with the best dental practices around and are always excited to make new partners. If you are looking for the kind of partnership described above, please let us know so that we can take the steps to build a stronger relationship with you and your team.