Dr. Andrew Matta, DMD, MBA, Founding Partner & Chief Medical Officer, North American Dental Group

Efficiency: What does it mean for your DSO to be a leader in today’s dental market?

Dr. Andrew Matta: For us, it really means leading the way in how we interface with the many constituents that we serve. Our approach has always focused on the team members that take care of our patients. When you approach your team with gratitude and empathy it creates a culture of compassion which is key when you are a healthcare provider. In doing so the patients win as they have highly motivated and engaged teams taking care of their needs. When patients are happy, communities are happy, which we believe is the true measure of success for long-term viability of our practice.

Efficiency: In your opinion, what are the three most important characteristics of a leading DSO?

Dr. Matta: We understand that we are in the business of taking care of people; whether our team members or the patients we serve. The three characteristics that we feel are most important is for us to have:

  • Clinical Leadership – It is essential to have a strong focus on clinical leadership. Also, having a healthy working relationship between the business and clinical leaders.
  • Servant Mentality – this allows all team members organizationally to know that we are all here to serve. When you lead by example from the top to the bottom and the bottom to the top it helps create cultural alignment.
  • Field First Approach – we know that patient interactions are critical in the quality of the care our supported doctors and supported teams provide and having the entire organization focused on that helps us make great patient decisions.

Efficiency: What is your organization’s mission? In order to be a leading DSO, must that mission change or evolve over time?

Dr. Matta: Our organization’s mission is to deliver “best in class care – every patient/every visit”. We have an internal dialogue and North Star of being the Cleveland Clinic of Dentistry. Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic are among the world’s best health care institutions. Our doctor led organization has worked as a community to establish a group collaboration of high standards around quality and safety of care. Those standards and the mission should continuously improve and evolve.

Efficiency: How are dental patients’ expectations changing, and how do leading DSOs help their practices respond appropriately?

Dr. Matta: We have seen a continued focus on convenience, quality, and just-in-time care. Even though we serve many different demographics and socioeconomic statuses, we see that there is a general theme to make the overall experience more convenient to busy lifestyles. Whether that is scheduling tools, hours of operations, days of operation, and/or the customization of care, the convenience factor is in play. Quality matters – they are reading the reviews, watching the videos, and learning as much as possible of the people that are going to take care of them. We have seen an influx of decisions around online feedback versus historical community-based reputation. Lastly, patient do not want to wait. They are used to getting their way to what they want now, and the consumption of content and e-commerce has continued to train and evolve the consumer to this point. We feel that these three key points need to be an area of focus for us to remain viable. 

Efficiency: Are DSOs being called on to provide a new, creative leadership in dentistry? Dr. Matta: Leadership within the dental industry is continuously changing and we are being asked to step-in and fill the leadership void as we welcome new, young dentists starting their careers and, at the same time, senior dentists are retiring. We recognize the shifting landscape of our profession, but we also know that regardless of the paradigm, there is no substitute for excellent patient care. Whether we are partnering with a clinician in our organization close to retirement or with a new associate joining our group, we know we can unite around a collective purpose regarding patient care. Layering standards of care, measuring outcomes, and focusing on quality allows us to build bridges with these different mindsets. The flexibility in approach allows us to lead these people with some of the key common themes described. It is like a language where we are all using the same alphabet and our job is to make it all come to life with the same narrative so that it all makes sense.