Spring 2018

The Shape of Things to Come

Key trends for the dental practice of the future.

By Helene Ragovin

When Marko Vujicic, the chief economist for the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute, looks into his crystal ball, he sees several trends changing the profession over the next thirty years. Here’s what’s coming—and how you can be ready.

Goodbye, disease-treatment, fee-for-service model. Hello, prevention-focused, outcomes-based reimbursements. The good news is, ‘even if you don’t touch the handpiece, you’ll still get paid,’ Vijucic said. The challenges ahead will surround how to measure outcomes and what evidence will be used to support them.

Patients are approaching health-care and insurance as they would other products. This presents opportunities to attract patients through savvy marketing and implementing technology that improves the patient experience, such as booking appointments online. But it will be more important than ever to monitor your online ratings and social media chatter about your practice.

Since a 21st-century practice needs more support than one person can likely handle, solo practices will decline and groups will become the norm. Throughout the health-care system, providers will team up across the medical-dental divide and referrals will flow in both directions, further incorporating dentistry into the overall health-care system.

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