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The report is based on a survey of 400 dental practices across the United States conducted in November and December 2020.
Vyne Dental announced the publication of its State of the Dental Industry Report 2021 with data about industry changes in 2020 and the outlook for the year ahead. Divided into 5 sections—impact of 2020, hiring and the economy, technology, industry, and overall practice outlook—the new report is based on a survey of more than 400 dental practices across the U.S.
The data about the impact of 2020 is focused on the effects the coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19) pandemic had on practices and the industry as a whole. The survey found 42% of practices felt the biggest impact they felt was financial, while an additional 32% stated the biggest impact was on patient volumes.
When it comes to using teledentistry to remotely connect with patients, 72% of practices said they didn't offer teledentistry services last year, and 62% said they do not plan to offer those services this year.
While the impacts of the pandemic were felt across the board, just 8% of practice leaders said they were considering selling their practice due to the pandemic, while 4% said they might join a DSO, and 3% said they are considering merging with another practice.
When it comes to staffing issues, 46% of practices said they are not looking to hire additional team members in 2021. Most practices said they plan to keep staffing and scheduling at current levels for the time being.
Interest in investing in technology and software was also low heading into 2021. Just 17% of practices said they were likely to invest in new practice management technology this year. Almost a quarter of practices are planning to spend less than $299 per month on software.
When asked about where they look for help navigating the industry, 43% of practices pointed to the American Dental Association, 29% look to their local or state dental association, and 13% look to industry publications.
Practices do appear to be adopting patient communication strategies that align with patient preferences with 53% of practices saying text messages will be their preferred method of patient communication. Email came in at 24%, and 19% of practices said they prefer to contact patients by phone.
As practices look ahead to 2021, 44% said they anticipate patient volume will be their biggest challenge, while 19% named staffing as the biggest challenge, and 17% cited industry updates and regulations. Questions about what actions can help practices increase their profits were met with split results as 38% said marketing can make them more productive or profitable, while 31% said less coding or industry changes would have the biggest impact, and 26% look to technology adoption to provide the biggest productivity or profitability boosts.