Dental Practice Location and Patient Base
Some dentists want to run their own practices. They have to invest much time and money to this endeavor. Particularly, they must decide where they should operate, considering a wide variety of factors.
Dentists should consider the location’s population. Dentists should analyze elements of the location’s demographic, such as the “[median] household income,” “[median] age,” “[households] with private insurance,” etc., to find their targeted patient base (Hathaway 2017). Although a wealthy patient base may correlate with high revenue since their wealth could encourage them to pay more for treatment, this may not occur in some areas (McDonald 2017). For instance, although Maryland contains a relatively wealthier population than Pennsylvania’s population, a Sokanu national survey reveals that the dentist’s average salary in Pennsylvania is $157,000 per year, which is greater than the dentist’s average salary of $145,000 per year in Maryland (McDonald 2017). This difference can partly be attributed to “the cost of doing business and state regulations…” (McDonald 2017). In addition to these factors, wealthier people may not contribute to the clinic’s earnings, if they do not need much dental treatment (McDonald 2017). Furthermore, dentists may not want to prioritize a younger patient base over an older one (McDonald 2017). Some younger people may not have a lot of cash or may believe that they do not require dental services at the moment (McDonald 2017).
Dentists also need to research other dentists and their patients in the areas. Although they may want to avoid competing with them, the amount of dentists in certain areas may reveal significant information about the population (McDonald 2017). For example, no dentists in the area may mean that “there is insufficient population to serve as a patient base,” people do not seek dental care at all, or they look for treatment at other locations (McDonald 2017). Instead of looking for areas with no dentist, dentists “could consider locations that have low dentist-to-patient ratios” (Goldin Peiser & Peiser 2014). Furthermore, dentists could tap into a patient base that their competition is not focusing on, such as patients with dental insurance or patients that need cosmetic services (Hathaway 2017). Though, for specialists opening their own practice, they should be near general dentists who can refer patients to them (Goldin Peiser & Peiser 2014).
In addition, the practice’s geographic position relative to other places affects the patient base. Particularly, it should be visible and accessible with ample parking (Goldin Peiser & Peiser 2014; The Cirrus Team 2016). Dentists should also consider the clinic’s location relative to other businesses, which could invite particular customers (The Cirrus Team 2016). These customers could become more aware of the clinic and go to it for treatments (Hathaway 2017). Practices could also be near schools so that parents could take their children to the dentist afterwards (Arulrajah 2018).
Some factors related to location, such as its people, competition, and geographic position, affect the clinic’s patient base. Dentists must examine these elements carefully since their area’s patients are crucial for their long-term earnings.