The dental support organization is thriving in the U.S., and could account for 30% of all dental practices by 2021, according to a report published last year in Dental Practice Management. Dental support organizations range in size from small group practices to huge corporations with hundreds of dental practices. As DSOs scale up, they face new challenges.
AJ Acierno, DDS, and his brother Mike Acierno, DDS, co-founded DecisionOne Dental Partners in 2011. It started with their private practices and expanded to include 25 dental practices by August 2018.
Dr. AJ Acierno said what keeps him awake at night is the same thing that led him to start a DSO in the first place: the legacy he and his brother want to leave behind.
“We want to look back and say we changed the way dentistry was being done in order to improve lives. Honestly, any decision that we ever make is based on that. So what keeps me awake at night is can we do that? Are we achieving that? Is our voice big enough to be able to achieve that? Are we growing at a pace that we can achieve that?”
Dr. Acierno talked to Amol Nirgudkar, the CEO of Patient Prism, about how the Acierno brothers did like where healthcare was going and had a desire to make a difference.
“I wanted to change our field,” said Dr. Acierno. “I wanted it to be better, and I wanted to be better for both our colleagues and for patients. And so, that's what keeps me up at night: to be able to stay true to our vision. If that vision works, we're changing healthcare, changing lives. And, there are a lot of people looking at that vision saying I want to do that. And if we don't achieve it, I let a lot of those people down, and myself.”
What keeps DSO CEOs awake at night varies from person to person, but staying true to the vision of your DSO is likely a key part.
The complete story of DecisionOne Dental Partners’ development and the challenges they faced is told in a video series available on Patient Prism Academy.