20 years ago the Dental Industry was a very different place.
Only Dentists could own dental practices, computers in practices were a rarity,
the appointment book was an actual book, and the internet was in its infancy. There
were no corporates, HICAPs had not yet been invented, Health Funds had no
influence in dentistry and Henry Schein and Halas were separate and competing
Dentists in private practice were also in a very different position. Most dentists in private practice were solo practitioners and success was measured by how many weeks and months the appointment book was filled in advance. However, at this time, there was little connectivity between dentists and their professional interactions were facilitated primarily through dental events and study groups which meant many dentists were isolated within their own practices. Dental supply companies also capitalised on this isolation by setting prices with little or no opportunity for dentists to negotiate or receive discounts.
In 1997, the dental industry was disrupted through the creation of Dental Innovations and the formation of Australia’s first Network of dental practices owners. Founded by Merv Saultry and supported by a committed Foundation membership of 30 dentists, the Dental Innovations Network was launched. The objective of the group was simple: empower dentists to be proactive in their own industry and break down the isolation barrier of practice owners.
This disruption was achieved through the direct support of DENTSPLY, who recognised the value of working with dentists proactively and chose to break ranks from other suppliers to support Dental Innovations terms through pricing and service. The DENTSPLY relationship has stood the test of time and has remained the cornerstone of our services, which is now entering into a new exciting phase with DENTSPLY Sirona and will bring a great new dynamic to our member’s relationship.
The breaking down of the isolation barrier for dentists was achieved through the creation of our members Chatline. Launched in 1998 and famously greeted by ‘What is this email thing?’ by one key supporter, the DI Chatline is one of the first and most longstanding forums for dentists in private practice. Through our member’s forum, dentists have created a highly professional and supportive environment for the open sharing of ideas, opinions and best practices, which has set the standard 20 years on. The most important element to this forum is that it enables the sharing of knowledge between both experienced and new practice owners both in terms of clinical and business skills. Through this forum, members are also actively able to participate in the evolution of Dental Innovations with many of our services being instigated by dentists though our Chat forum.
Today Dental innovations has over 600 members across Australia and over 50 services to assist dentists in private practice. Our services available to members cover all aspects of the operation of dental practices and provide systems, solutions and savings for the principal dentist which reduces the operating cost of a practice, and ultimately makes it more profitable.
Over our 20 years the dental industry has changed substantially and Dental Innovations has always sort and found solutions and services for our members to adapt and thrive in a changing environment. This continues today with the rise of corporate and health-fund driven dentistry. In 2017 we will be entering into a new phase with the launch of Dental Innovations New Zealand, the creation of our bespoke practice memberships for patients called Ezy Membership, and our inaugural and exclusive member’s conference.
Whilst Dental Innovations facilitates our network, it is our members who actually drive our innovation and creates the supportive environment which our independent dentist members can depend on.
At this 20-year mark we would like to thank our foundation members for the vision and commitment they represent in changing their industry and all past and present members for their involvement in creating Dental Innovations into what it is today.
If you think you can contribute and be part of a proactive network of practice owners working together to make their practice more profitable simply call 1300 797 019 or email berris @dentalinnovations.com.au