Dental and Medical Counsel Blog

Communicating Dental Practice Transitions To Your Team And Patients

August 22, 2018
Communicating Dental Practice Transitions to Staff

Big transitions can be a huge step for your practice and at some point, you will need to notify your team and patients you're buying a dental practice, selling a dental practice, or putting together a purchase agreement. Make sure that you share the right information with the important people within your practice. These strategies will allow you to communicate more effectively with your patients and your team. 


Notify Team Members First

Ideally, you want to notify your team after all sales documents have been signed and contingencies satisfied and waived. This will allow the staff to feel like valued members of the team who are highly involved in the transition process and who will still be appreciated by a new dentist taking over your practice.

Before you tell your team members, however, make sure that you let them know whether or not you're sharing information with patients yet. Talkative team members could steal your thunder and mention things to your patients before you're ready, including sharing details that aren't public knowledge. Be sure team members understand what they're allowed to share and when. 

Decide When to Tell Patients

Ideally, you want to tell your patients that there's a transition coming on or right after the closing date. Whether you're selling your practice or bringing in a new associate, you want to make sure that patients are fully informed about your plans as early in the process as you can. Failure to notify patients of pending changes can lead to lost patients, disgruntled calls, and a number of other key problems. On the other hand, you don't want to get your patients worked up over the potential for change before you're sure that it's coming.

What Do You Need to Share?

There are several details that will be important to your patients and your team when you're preparing for a period of transition. It's important that you communicate those details in a way that will help smooth the transition. Even if you don't have to deal with many of the repercussions, the new dentist coming into your practice will! Consider some of these key details.

Informing the Team

When you inform your team about the transition, make sure you give them the information they most need to know. Talk with the new dentist about some of the details the staff will need. If possible, involve them in some of the early discussions with your staff. They'll need to know things like:

  • When the transition will take place and how: will you stay on for a period of time and work with the new dentist, or will you be stepping away completely?
  • What changes the new dentist will make to the office, if any?
  • How their position will change based on the new dentist's goals?

Talking to Patients

Like the members of your team, patients want to know when the transition will take place and how long you'll be available. They also want to know:

  • Buyer’s education and family
  • Whether or not there are circumstances under which you'll come back--for example, to fix any problems or finish up any work you're doing for them. 
  • That you consider the new dentist to be trustworthy and capable--that is, that you feel you're leaving them in good hands.

How to Communicate

When it comes to communicating the transition, you'll want to have a solid strategy in place. Make sure you spread the right information effectively. Try some of these strategies:

Convey it in writing. You may choose to send out an email or write a letter to your practice's patients on or near the closing date. Sending out a message in writing ensures that everyone has access to all of the relevant details, including when the transition will take place, what changes they can expect, and other important details. 

Talk with your team. While you may want to send out a letter to the members of your team, either through email or through some other form, make sure you take the time to sit down and talk with your staff face-to-face. You'll be able to make your announcement to everyone at once and ensure that you don't miss anyone who might be offended that you didn't tell them sooner. 

Keep meeting throughout the transition. Many of your team members will have questions throughout the process. Make sure that you have regular meetings that will allow them to share their questions. Give them the chance to meet with the new dentist and learn more about them. 

When you're preparing to make a big transition at your dental practice, whether you're buying a dental practice or selling your practice, it's important to control your communications effectively to help smooth the process. By utilizing these strategies, you can create the basis for an easier transition for everyone involved. 

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