There was an interesting article featured in the April 9, 2012 issue of the ADA News. The cover story, “ADA Explores Growth of Large Group Practices” caught my eye. The article sites a recent study conducted by the Health Policy Resources Center of the American Dental Association (ADA), which concludes that the rate of solo practitioners is falling. In 2010, 69% of dentists were solo practitioners compared to 76% in 2006.
Certain states and areas of the country are experiencing the expansion at a faster rate than others. For example, the Minnesota Dental Association reports more than 12% of dentists in the state are employed in large group practices.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) surveyed new graduates in 2009 and 2011 and found that 16% of respondents are practicing in a non-traditional setting, defined as either an interdisciplinary practice or a practice where they are employees or independent contractors. Chris Vranas, AAO Executive Director says, “Overall our membership is still at 69% in solo practice, 16% in partnerships, 6% in associateships, 4% interdisciplinary practice and 5% in large corporate practice.
We ask the question – what is driving the trend? The ADA article references educational debt of young doctors and the growth of Dental Service Organizations who need employee doctors to grow.
This trend of dentistry going corporate is something Bentson Clark & Copple has been watching for several years and one that you may have noticed in your drawing area. It will take some time to have a major impact, but understanding this trend will help you as you think strategically about your brand and identity as you communicate with new patients and referrals.
To learn more about the trends of today’s orthodontic residents, check out Bentson Clark & Copple’s 2011 Annual Residents Survey Results.