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Collaborating on Treatment in a Multi-Practitioner Practice


In a facility with multiple practitioners there is the unique opportunity of having other dentists to join forces and work as a team. This will provide the best most cost-effective treatment for your patients. There are many advantages for both patient and the providers.

Advantages of Collaborating with Other Practitioners

When the patients can see the dental practitioners working together it gives them increased confidence in the care they are receiving. They can know that more than one provider agrees upon their treatment plan. It is also an advantage for the practitioners when there are other dentists available to share ideas with when decision-making.

Having multiple dental practitioners in one office with varied skill sets is of benefit to both the patients and to the facility. Team members, who have a patient with a treatment plan that is outside of the practitioners skill set, can consult with another practitioner and refer that treatment to them. Upon completion of that specific treatment the client would then continue to be scheduled with their primary dentist. Doing so prevents the need to refer the patient off-site to another provider and lose business.

Potential Obstacles to Successful Collaboration

Take note to avoid competition or strife between practitioners within the office. Before being able to corroborate on care, make note of any:

  • Competition between partners
  • Resistance to change
  • Differences in personalities
  • Different levels of experience among practitioners

Identification of these factors can help you take successful steps to make a treatment collaborative plan more effective.

Overcoming or Avoiding Obstacles to Successful Collaboration

As a facility you should focus on the big picture; that is, the overall goal of the practice.

If necessary provide written agreements that help establish practice guidelines between the practitioners, outlining the mutual benefits and advancements that can be made through collaboration. Encourage strong personal relationships among personnel, especially in a staff that is “split” among providers. Remember – the patient is your top priority!

Signs that there is a Need for Team Building Among Dentists and Staff

  • Recurring and/or unresolved conflicts regarding patient cases
  • Confusion about assignments/duties
  • Decreased productivity
  • Complaints of favoritism or discrimination
  • Apathy and lack of involvement
  • Complaints about quality of service

Methods to Improve or Encourage Collaboration among Team Members

Team building is a continuous process; it needs to be regularly nurtured and maintained as it grows in to a cohesive unit. Teamwork is something that takes focused effort and doesn’t simply occur on its own.

With good team building skills, you can unite employees (and dentists) around a common goal and in turn generate greater productivity. In the absence of team work you limit yourself and your staff to the effort that each individual can make alone. Encourage respect of individual differences and continually work to nurture trust.

  • As a practice it is important to establish team values and goals
  • Regularly schedule team building activities or events for employees
  • Regard every employees’ ideas as valuable
  • Encourage cooperation and trust among dentists and staff
  • Encourage sharing of information among team members
  • When a problem or conflict arises, allow the team to problem solve as a group; allowing them to work together on creating solutions.
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This article contains general information only. Sunflower Bank is not, by means of this article, rendering accounting, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This article is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, before making any decisions related to these matters, you should consult a qualified professional advisor.