Dentistry is experiencing a transformation in response to a changing environment. The cost to start or purchase a dental practice can be substantial and often requires an initial investment in the range of $100,000 to $400,000. The average, new three-chair office often costs between $175,000 and $250,000. Even at today's relatively low interest rates, servicing such a large debt can be difficult. The start up time for a new practice can be considerable. It often takes 3 to 7 years for a new practice to break even. In addition, the practice of dentistry has become more complicated. For instance, OSHA regulations have increased the complexity and cost of practice. Third party coverage and managed care have made necessary an improved and enhanced understanding of traditional business and practice management methods. Changing needs for differing communities require health professionals to be more culturally sensitive and aware. Legislative and legal initiatives at a local and national level demand new political insight. Many choices, considerations and decisions are involved in the process to establish or purchase a dental practice. The foundations for many of these considerations are built upon business and management principles.
DHPP 538 H2, “Applied Business Practices," is a course designed to provide dental students with the necessary skills and knowledge to become productive and successful dental care practitioners in a changing professional and practice environment. Skills obtained in earlier departmental courses serve as a foundation for this course and provide a context for business, practice management, behavioral sciences, interpersonal and communication concepts and translation. Applied Business Practices is a fifteen session course consisting of four multidisciplinary and interrelated sections. The first section of the course is designed to provide dental students with the business skills needed to develop a working business plan. The second course section has been designed to provide dental students with a basic understanding of legal principles, our judicial system and legal obligations. The third section of the course has been crafted to provide each dental student with the management and business insight needed to understand what is needed to successfully operate and manage a dental practice. The final section of the DHPP 538A has been crafted to provide third-year dental students with information needed to successfully apply for postgraduate residency or specialty programs.