The perceptions of South African dentists on strategic management to ensure a viable dental practice

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    OBJECTIVES : How do dentists perceive the influence of the external environment on, and what is their confidence in, planning the strategic management of their practices? METHODS : A cross-sectional survey using an anonymous online questionnaire was conducted among private dental practitioners, members of the South African Dental Association. Stata release 11 was used for descriptive data analysis, including determination of frequencies. RESULTS : The majority of the respondents work 40-44 hours, see more than 70 patients per week and are fairly satisfied with those numbers. Only 27.56% of practices confirmed written vision/mission statements. One third (33.78%) were only moderately confident they could plan and execute strategies to ensure a viable practice. Almost a tenth (8.11%) does not feel confident at all. Medical schemes, disposable income of patients and dentist-patient communication were the most significant challenges. Clinical practice was more satisfying than the business side. CONCLUSION : Dental practices are increasingly complex, with a myriad of challenges. Ideally the dentist as owner/ manager/leader, should be able to strategise management of the external and internal environments to achieve the vision, mission and objectives of the practice. Dental schools, in collaboration with SADA, should work towards equipping dentists with the necessary management and strategic thinking skills to ensure success.