Are you building your practice on what your patients need today? If so, your business model may be gravely outdated.
“There’s an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love,” Steve Jobs said in 2007 – ‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been’ – and we’ve always tried to do that at Apple. Since the very, very beginning. And we always will.”
Developing a ‘demand driven’ dental practice is like skating to where the puck is going—not where it is. With all of the options patients have today, it’s critically important to understand demand. Demand is customers’ needs and desires (emotional, psychological, and physical) that they want satisfied and have the purchasing power to satisfy. Meet the demand and you can satisfy your patients better than your competitors. The key is recognizing trends and patterns in markets and customer segments to determine what customers will want in the future. “If you’re waiting to ask your customers what they need, you are already too late because they are telling your competitor the same thing they told you,” says Rick Kash, co-author of How Companies Win, a bestselling book that tells why companies must shift their attention from simply supply or service focused to demand focused.
Companies need to understand not just current demand but latent and emerging demand, says Kash. And he isn’t talking about just big businesses. One of the most compelling things about How Companies Win is that the authors’ frameworks apply as easily to dental practices and neighborhood dry-cleaning shops as they do major retailers.
“Some people see trend and see threat. Others see the same trend and see opportunity,” says Jim Carroll, a healthcare keynote and futurist. Wireless and mobile health is providing transformative opportunities in dental and overall health care. One of the big trends unfolding today is the huge velocity behind wireless and mobile health applications and the rapidity of changing patient/consumer behavior.
The statistics around mobile technology are, of course, well known, but Carroll adds that they are worth repeating:
But it’s what consumers are doing with these technologies that provide so much potential for innovation. With respect to health care, the numbers are quite staggering:
What we have happening here is a massive trend in which people are changing their behaviors, actions, wellness, and day-to-day routines in which they actively manage their health circumstances through the personal digital assistants which are becoming an ingrained part of their lives, explains Carroll.
The centuries old relationship between dentist/doctor and patient is changing in a massive way. Innovation is all about anticipating opportunity in the midst of these changes.
Looking Ahead: How to Predict Where Demand Will Emerge Next
Gaining a key business advantage comes from understanding the future of demand while it is still forming. There are ways that you can do this beyond simply asking your patients who often don’t always know what they want. Here are recommendations from How Companies Win:
Imagine the dental practice of 2020. What do you see?