Henry Schein Inc, Melville, NY, recently “graduated” the first class of its Henry Schein Dental Business Institute, which was designed to teach dental practice owners and operators business fundamentals. The company worked with a simulation developer, Sim Studios, to create real-life situations that the 17 graduates could apply in their dental practice to help them operate a more productive and efficient business.

Launched in March 2015, the Henry Schein Dental Business Institute was designed for dental practice owners in the early stages of group practice development who wanted to expand the size of their enterprise, or enhance their management skills in the areas of human resources, marketing, finance, and operations. Education was delivered by industry leaders who provided tools and resources for growing dental practices to compete in a new environment.

“At Henry Schein, we believe in providing practitioners with the tools they need to operate a productive and efficient business so they can focus on delivering the best quality patient care,” said Eric Nuss, director of Henry Schein Business Solutions and the Henry Schein Dental Business Institute. “This concept is the cornerstone of the Business Institute. We created a program to meet the business needs of dentists that provides the coaching and training to help dentists identify and implement effective strategies to grow their practice. Thanks to program partner Sim Studios we were also able to offer real-world business simulations that gave students a concept to literally play with. We had Legos and a box of toys in the middle of a table to help stimulate thought and action around the building blocks of their business and at the core, to always have fun. This approach to learning how to solve business problems in the dental office challenges the orthodoxy of traditional business education. And that is our goal.”

The first day involved interactive workshops by Jameson Management that aided in the development of mission, vision, and purpose statements, followed by communications expert Katherine Eitel, training each practice owner in how to communicate their mission, vision, and purpose to their dental teams. The next day, participants received coaching from a founding member of the Academy of Dental Certified Public Accountants (ADCPA), Bob Gray, who helped with the development of a business plan. Sim Studios also provided a competitive business simulation predicting the outcomes of more than 150 different business decisions.

“The Dental Business Institute is a great example of how practices can utilize the power of custom business simulations to provide innovative training that has a real, lasting impact on the bottom line,” said William Hall, vice president of learning and development at Sim Studios. “Participants who experienced the simulations get as close to a real-world experience one could receive.”

During the business simulations, practitioners considered the current state of their practice, and developed a road map of how they can take their practice to the next level. First, they asked themselves, “who am I going to employ,” “how will I attract and retain patients,” “what investments will I make.” Second, they asked themselves, “which practices will I consider adding to my portfolio,” “how will I develop the infrastructure?” The third simulation is all about delegation and leadership. Here they were asked, “how can you expand, yet stay true to the original mission once you have added more practices?”

Participants gained practical experience in business and public speaking skills, and learned how to develop business plans.