An Interview with Dr. Alex Molayem
Practice management is a challenging science for general dentists with no background in business, but Alex Molayem, DDS is intimately familiar with these challenges. Dr. Molayem is a general dentist who has opened multiple practices as well as acted as a consultant for dental practices. After spending his first eight years seeing patients, he realized that the dental landscape was being consumed by technology and disruption from private equity firms looking to cash in on a lucrative industry. Therefore, he decided there was a need for dentists who understand the priorities of healthcare to get involved and guide the industry in the right direction. Dr. Molayem began to focus his efforts and “specialize” in the business side of dentistry.
Recently, he joined Synergy Specialists as a business development strategist to help private practitioners survive in this challenging landscape. Thanks to his background, Dr. Molayem has a comprehensive understanding of the unique roadblocks that dentists face in the path to success. We spoke with Dr. Molayem to get his unique view on the state of the dental industry today as well as his take on the Synergy Specialists model.
How do you feel general dentists can most benefit from partnering with Synergy Specialists?
“I think a major challenge of owning and working in a private practice is that you’re trying to wear two hats at the same time – clinician and CEO. You graduate from dental school with no understanding of small business management or retail services, and after several years it can become really exhausting and expensive to learn from all your mistakes. You’re a healthcare provider but also an entrepreneur. That challenge really spreads providers thin and can make it difficult to implement new programs. Synergy Specialists helps general dentists plug specialists into their practice to offer patients the best care under one roof. As dentists usually have their hearts in the right place, it is the business end that most often suffers.”
“Bringing in Synergy Specialists allows the general practitioner to shift a lot of the business burden of recruiting and administering specialty care. Synergy does these things well and very often even talented GPs need some help so they can focus on their existing practice.”
“The net result is improved access to care, more coordination between the GP and specialists, lower costs of care, and most attractively to some providers, increased production. As much as we’d like to emphasize patient care above all, improving your practice’s financial health allows you to spend more time on patients and make more decisions that prioritize the patients first.”
With regards to orthodontics, how can bringing in an itinerant orthodontist help a general dental practice – especially in light of the mail order aligners that are becoming ubiquitous?
“While I personally hate the idea of mail order healthcare, there is definitely a market for them. People are willing to experiment to save money, but I think its scope is limited and there will always be a need for face-to-face time with an orthodontist. I think people are smart enough to understand that if they’re going to spend a significant amount of money, cutting out the provider is the wrong way to do it. I believe that more often than not, they’ll want to do it correctly the first time, and that means placing their care in the hands of a seasoned professional. So while educating the public is extremely important, there’s still an added pressure on the industry to find new ways to lower the cost of treatment to make the decision easier. Plugging in an orthodontist into your practice adds a lot of value without much expense, and therefore this arrangement allows GPs to lower their prices because the practice is operating more efficiently.”
“Ultimately the point of all this is to establish a one-stop-shop for patients, which makes the practice more profitable, frees up the doctor’s time, and will improve the quality of care.”
What about specialist retention? Some GPs have reported serious headaches when their orthodontist decides to leave. How does Synergy Specialists help GPs avoid this pitfall?
“Working with Synergy provides a lot of benefits for the GP, not the least of which is protection in case a specialist leaves. We have an entire network of orthodontists, so even in the event that an orthodontist leaves, we leverage our extensive network immediately to fill the void. This is huge peace of mind for the GP. The last thing a GP wants to do is stop seeing patients to go through the exhaustive process of finding a new specialist. The patient receives continuity of care, and the GP is not left scrambling for a replacement orthodontist or struggling to offer orthodontic services themselves.”
“There are many other services and features to this offering that I’d like to tell you about, but I’ll just leave it at this, general dentists who are looking to bring in a periodontist, orthodontist, or other specialists can connect with us at Synergy Specialists by clicking here or calling 1-800-684-7479.”