"So, how do you put a geeky germophobe to good use? Make him the office manager."
This is how Mike Cruz introduces himself. Irreverent? A little. Self-deprecating? A lot. But that’s how they like it at Dee for Dentist Family & Cosmetic Dental Care. Each team member is introduced on the practice website using fun, quirky descriptions, and Cruz’s introduction goes on to explain that his “extensive knowledge of film and pop culture guarantees that awesome movies and great conversation can always be found at Dee for Dentist.”
Cruz opened the Las Vegas, Nevada practice in 2011 with his wife, dentist Dee Dee Meevasin, who patients call Dr. Dee Dee and Cruz refers to as “Doc.” The couple started the practice with the goal of creating an amazing patient experience and it just so happens that they’ve had a lot of fun along the way. Because of that, their patients have fun, too. Everything from the modern, bright apple-green and gray décor to the coffee bar, the movies playing throughout the office, the latest technology and the creative messaging is part of the brand that Cruz helped build – a brand that revolves around fun.
“We want patients who appreciate our humor and personality,” said Cruz. “We try to connect with our patients, and our personality drives everything we do.” Staff members are definitely on board, one being described as “Inventory Princess,” on the practice website and another as, “a supernova of fun and excitement that explodes every morning at 9 a.m.”
Cruz and Dr. Dee Dee balance each other out nicely. As the office manager, Cruz oversees daily tasks and ensures that team members have everything they need so that Dr. Dee Dee can focus on patient care. “Doc and I have a vision together,” he explained. “Her focus is more on the practice in terms of treatment and things like that. I kind of get to steer the technology. Seeing what makes sense, figuring out how to incorporate it and make it work, then coming up with how we can integrate it with the team to make sure it’s seamless. I set the course and get out of the way,” he added.
Part of setting the course has involved the integration of technology including Eaglesoft 17, CEREC Omnicam and GALILEOS. “Technology sets the tone and is one of the big ways to differentiate your practice,” said Cruz. “But it’s more than that. It works – and it can help diagnose and help treat and help you work more efficiently. These are all things that make a practice successful.”
This foresight is part of what makes Cruz successful in his role. It’s also what earned him a scholarship from Patterson Dental to attend the 2014 AADOM National Conference in San Diego. According to Evan Gilfoyle, the Patterson territory representative who nominated him, “Mike and the team have a vision for the future of the practice and Mike looks for opportunities to achieve that vision.”
With a uniform that includes bright green shirts, the team is unified in more ways than one. “The uniform is keeping everything in theme, keeping our brand together,” said Cruz. “Really, it’s just an excuse to make it easier to get dressed in the morning,” he added laughing. Fortunately, the office manager with a great sense of humor is far more than a self-described geeky germophobe.