02. 13. 23
On this episode of The Modern Practice Podcast, host Gary Tiratsuyan is joined by Dr. Jeff Sindelar, practice owner and Partner, at Smile Advantage.
During this conversation Dr. Sindelar shares:
– A look into his career path and journey into owning his own practice, and founding Smile Advantage.
– His unique perspective into the current state of dentistry
– How his practice is utilizing Rectangle Health’s technology to increase cash flow and automate tasks
And, how building a partnership with Rectangle Health has offered even more value to Smile Advantage members.
Learn more about Smile Advantage here >>.
Explore Rectangle Health’s solutions for your practice here >>.
Gary Tiratsuyan 00:21
Hello, everybody, and welcome back to The Modern Practice podcast. We’ve got a very special episode in store for you today as welcome Dr. Jeff Sindalar, partner at Smile Advantage, to the show to continue the conversation in our two part series with this wonderful team. Jeff, welcome and thank you for taking the time to join the podcast.
Dr. Jeff Sindelar 00:39
Absolutely. Thank you, Gary. I appreciate you having me. I’ve been looking forward to this.
Gary Tiratsuyan 00;44
Likewise, and it’s my pleasure, Jeff. And before we get started, I’d love to give our listeners the opportunity to learn more about you. Can you give us some insight into your experience in the dental space and your career journey?
Dr. Jeff Sindelar 00:56
Sure. I’ve been a practicing dentist since 2006 in the community that I grew up in. It’s a small suburb in St. Louis, Missouri. I started in a three op practice with my father in law. It was a tiny office. I split some of my time working as an associate in another part of St. Louis. Also, I did some mobile dentistry as well, around 2010. It was then that I bought into my father in law’s practice. We built a 3200 square foot office with eight Ops. Since then, he’s retired. I’ve been able to bring on another partner. We’ve also added an associate dentist. About a year ago, we expanded the building another thousand square feet and added two more Ops. We have a very busy office with a great team.
I’ll tell you, I’ve been very fortunate to have such a strong team and a large and very loyal patient base. Really, though, that’s just one of my day jobs. I have another one. In 2014, I co founded an in office membership company with a couple of other dental colleagues. We called it smile advantage. At the time, it was through this company I’ve had the pleasure of helping hundreds of dentists and their teams we build, implement, and grow their own membership model of dental care within their practices. I probably am just about as passionate about in office membership as I am about being a dentist. It’s been a fun journey.
Gary Tiratsuyan 02:23
That’s incredible. Thank you so much for that. So, part one of the series, as you know, were joined by Ryan Corby and Shelley Otti from your team Smile Advantage. Dr great people. They gave us great insight into the evolution of Smile Advantage over the years, but I wanted to bring it back a bit. And as a founding partner, what was your vision for Smile Advantage when you decided to create the organization?
Dr. Jeff Sindelar 02:48
Honestly, the original vision continues to be the same today. Back then, I wanted to bring dentists and patients together to offer an alternative to traditional dental insurance. I knew there was a need to open our doors to patients without insurance or even for those patients that were losing insurance or even patients that were unhappy with the coverage that they didn’t have when talking with my patients. Just suggesting at that time to buy an insurance plan just didn’t make much sense. And it really doesn’t make much sense still today.
Gary Tiratsuyan 03:20
Thank you so much for that, Jeff. The mission is definitely clear, and Ryan and Shelley touched on this in our last episode. But I wanted to ask you how Rectangle Health has helped your organization move that mission forward.
Dr. Jeff Sindelar 03:35
They really have helped us to develop solutions for the administrative needs that comes with starting a membership program and really with managing a growing membership base of patients. Established offices that we are fully immersed in the membership concept need a digital resource to help them keep track of their members by merging Rectangle Health’s innovative credit card processing tools. With our mission, we’ve really been able to help dental offices hold on to credit cards for recurring membership payments in a very secure and PCI compliant way. Our offices can post payments into just about any practice management software out there, and communicating with patients about payments is top priority. It’s for both smile advantage and rectangle health.
As we build for the future and as our offices continue to request tools to help them grow and manage their membership programs, we work hard to implement features into our software to account for those custom needs. Rectangle Health is always there to help us build those solutions.
Gary Tiratsuyan 04:39
Incredible. And I want to shift a bit, because, as you mentioned earlier, not only as a partner at Smile Advantage, but as a practice owner as well, you’ve got unique perspective. So I want to talk a little bit about the current landscape in dental and all of healthcare, really. We talk about challenges like staffing shortages, inflation, a lot on this show, but it’s reality. So as a practice owner, how do you see things shaping out in the upcoming months?
Dr. Jeff Sindelar 05:09
Well, honestly, I’m always optimistic about what lies ahead. The obstacles in front of us are not insurmountable. Inflation is really in front of us, and staffing shortages do seem to be affecting our profession. Just like every other business out there, we just need to be creative. We need to work with our patients, meet them where they are at financially, prioritize treatment, or maybe spread out payments. Staffing, on the other hand, that’s tough. It’s hard to tap into a shrinking pool of available assistance, front desk and hygienist. We’ve had to do it a few times since COVID hit and thereafter. But I think we need to start by creating a great culture in our practices. We need to create an environment, really a team that others want to be a part of.
We also need to make sure our practices are on the forefront of technology and taking advantage of digital tools to help our teams. In the back, but also at the front desk, life is busy, and dentistry is busy. When we are successful, we don’t want our teams to get burnt out. If there’s a tool or a software that we can implement to lessen the burden of everyday administrative tasks, we should look into adding it into our practices. Those pieces, those pieces of the puzzle, those additional tools. It allows our teams to focus on patients and deliver customer service at the speed of which our patients want to receive it. I think that’s the key is to really leverage our teams and to give them what they need to be successful.
Gary Tiratsuyan 06:51
Great insight there, Jeff. And it’s a combination of people plus solutions, right? So given these challenges that we just spoke about, can you talk to me a little bit? How smile. Advantage. Dr. Help.
Dr. Jeff Sindelar 07:03
Well, we can help by offering that service, that admin tool that organizes and tracks a successful and growing membership program. We help dental teams by reducing the headaches that come with running a membership program. Really? Don’t get me wrong. They are good headaches because it means your program is growing, but they are administrative headaches nonetheless. We have a talented team. Smile advantage dr. It seems like day in, day out, they work with dental offices to answer questions. They train existing teams, and even when new hires come in, they’re willing to train them. And I’m really proud of the fact that our team creates new, fresh, custom marketing pieces for our offices to be successful. I truly believe our team will do whatever it takes to help a dental office put their membership program on autopilot and to be really successful.
Gary Tiratsuyan 08:01
Yeah, and that’s definitely the mission. On the Rectangle Health side as well, we always say healthy practices make healthy patients. And shifting back to your practice, specifically, you’ve been utilizing Rectangle Health software for five plus years. Can you talk to me a little bit about the processes you had in place prior to onboarding with Rectangle Health and post implementation? How have those processes evolved and simplified?
Dr. Jeff Sindelar 08:29
Yeah, of course. I don’t spend a lot of time up front. I have a great team of people up there. I always get their feedback, though. I can’t believe it’s been five years. That flew by very quickly. So happy that I met Ryan Chambers years back and he was able to come into the picture and help us at the office. But our processes before Rectangle Health, looking back at it now, I feel like they were antiquated collecting payments, posting payments to accounts, end of day or end of month reconciliation. All that talking with the team, they would say that was intensive. Our teams are busy. They have a lot that they need to do. And it seems that Rectangle Health has provided us with a great piece of software, a platform that really makes their jobs a lot easier.
It goes back to what I was saying about adding digital resources in our practices to make it easier on our teams and to lessen their load. More structure means less mistakes, less headaches for me, less headaches for them. And the tools that Rectangle Health provides keeps us on the cutting edge with our patients. Features like that, and these are newer features to us, but features like text to pay and payment plans, even something as simple as having that hardware that allows for tap to pay Apple Pay at Checkout, allows us to run a business the way our patients want us to want us and need us to run our businesses.
Gary Tiratsuyan 10:01
Yeah. And it goes back to meeting those patient expectations, that same experience they have in the retail space with their Netflix accounts, their Amazon accounts, having those cards on file, easy ways to pay, really enhances that experience. Have you gotten similar feedback, Smile Advantage Dr members as well?
Dr. Jeff Sindelar 10:21
Yeah, really, we do. Our clients have been very happy with not only the payment solutions, but I really want to point out the customer service, it really is top notch, honestly. Many of our clients were already working with Rectangle Health because you have such a large presence in the dental community before working with us. Smile Advantage Dr for them, it’s an easy transition. Now, offices that are new to Rectangle Health, they always provide positive feedback about the experience. They do make comments about the tools and resources. And it’s also important that I think I point out that they look at the cost savings as a huge benefit for those existing offices.
Though I think it’s a huge plus that we partner with Rectangle Health that they get to keep all of their credit card processing under one roof, because that’s a lot of what membership is all about. Through Smile, Advantage is holding on to credit cards and being able to run those. So being partnered with a company like yours allows us to have that easy transition offices that already have it or looking for credit card processing to come in with, really an industry leading platform like yours.
Gary Tiratsuyan 11:40
That’s incredible. And with the implementation of any new technology process procedure, there’s a learning curve. And when it comes to your staff, when it comes to Smile Advantage members, when onboarding you touched on this a little bit when onboarding and utilizing Rectangle Health software, is it a long process? How do you feel that learning curve? Is it steep? Is it smooth transition?
Dr. Jeff Sindelar 12:11
It’s a smooth transition. In fact, last week, we installed new equipment at my dental office, and we updated to the newest version of your software. I touched base with my team yesterday, and I was asking them how it was going, and they told me that it was really simple, there was nothing to it. They feel that the dashboard. What’s in front of them is really easy to navigate. They did tell me that one of the computers, it wasn’t communicating with the hardware first thing in the morning. When they showed up, they quickly made a call, and within minutes, they were up and running. So really no glitches there. But that’s the kind of service that we’ve come to expect from our rep, Ryan Chambers, and everyone at Rectangle Health.
I also have the added benefit of knowing what it’s like to work with Rectangle Health through Smile Advantage, so we have to find solutions that work within your company to help our companies be successful. And everyone there is always willing to make sure that my team gets what they need and know what they need to know. Everything seems to be such an easy and simple transition. So, yeah, I think I can only sing high praises.
Gary Tiratsuyan 13:30
Thank you so much for that. And Jeff, before we wrap up, I want to ask if you can share the best bit of advice. It could be something someone said to you or that you always mentioned in your conversations to set up a practice for success short term and long term.
Dr. Jeff Sindelar 13:48
That’s great. I pay attention to a lot of Facebook threads of dental groups, and I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a lot of consultants by way of Smile Advantage because we work with them to help offices implement the membership concept. And they all have a lot of different opinions on how to be successful in the dental practice. And I’ll tell you, if I think about it long and hard, I have to go back to thinking about how my father in law taught me to practice. Early on, he prioritized taking great care of patients, but he also prioritized taking care of his team of employees. He knew that great customer service couldn’t be delivered by himself alone.
He needed to surround himself with employees that knew that he cared about them as much as he cared about the dentistry and taking care of patients. When we talk about all the staff shortages and inflation and everything else that I hear the buzzing about within the dental community, whatever challenges still that lie ahead, I believe that if we take care of our team members, they will help take care of our patients and our businesses. So I really think any storm can be weathered if we build a team that knows that we prioritize them.
Gary Tiratsuyan 15:13
Powerful words there. Thank you so much for sharing that. And thank you for taking the time to join the show today. I know your schedule is jam packed, so we really appreciate it.
Dr. Jeff Sindelar 15:23
My pleasure. Thank you for the opportunity.
Gary Tiratsuyan 15:26
For listeners tuning in today. If you’d like to learn more about Smile Advantage, you can do so by visiting Smile Advantage. Dr will have that link and a link to explore Rectangle Health technology in the episode’s description below. Thank you for tuning in. Till next time, everybody.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.