Fewer dentists owned a dental practice in 2015 than in 2005, according to an article in the September 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association. Author Marko Vujicic, PhD, from the ADA Health Policy Institute, explored how this trend is poised to change dentistry.
The decline in practice ownership is not limited to one age group and cannot be solely attributed to an increase in younger and female dentists, noted Vujicic, who is the chief economist and vice president of the Health Policy Institute. He suggested that this decline may usher in a divide between the clinical and management functions of the profession, so that people with business expertise run one side of dentistry, leaving dentists to focus on patient care.
"Practice management is one of the areas today's new graduates feel least prepared for, and the dental care environment is about to get a lot more complex," Vujicic wrote (JADA, September 2017, Vol.148:9, pp. 690-692). "As healthcare becomes more interprofessional, dentists will have a bigger role in managing chronic disease and interacting with other healthcare professionals."
So how else is the decline in practice ownership playing out? See the graphic below for more data and analysis.