Dentist uses MBA skills in starting new practice
Andrea Lewis graduated from the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry in 2005 and from the School of Public Health department of health policy and management in 2007.
The training from both programs was vital in establishing her new dental practice. She established the Oak Valley Family Dental practice in Beaumont in 2006. Dr. Lewis’s management training proved valuable during the six-month planning phase in which she finalized a lease agreement for a renovated old house, secured funding, selected computer systems, purchased supplies and equipment, and hired a dental assistant and receptionist.
As part of her culminating activity in the MBA program, Dr. Lewis completed several standard management procedures, such as developing an 18-page marketing plan. She undertook strategic planning in part by doing a SWOT analysis, in which she identified strengths—such as having latest technologies and procedures; weaknesses—such as having inexperienced/newly licensed staff; opportunities—such as being located on the main street within a fast-growing town; and threats—such as the number of other dental practices in close proximity.
Furthermore, Dr. Lewis conducted a break-even analysis considering four major classes of procedures and three types of patients (cash pay and two different insurance companies). Based upon costs and expected revenues, she determined that the practice would need to attract at least 15 new patients a month in order to make a profit within four months.
Following up on results from a focus group and satisfaction surveys, she decided to secure a market niche through establishing the practice as a unique dental office, offering spa services in addition to dental services.
“This project is a great example of a health policy and management culminating activity, in which knowledge learned in the classroom is applied to the real world in order to improve health care delivery,” says Jim Banta, PhD, MPH, assistant professor, School of Public Health department of health policy and management.
According to Dr. Lewis, the education she received in the School of Public Health has made a better career possible.
“The MBA program at Loma Linda has opened doors to a better dental practice and additional opportunities for overseas mission projects, which is my passion,” says Dr. Lewis.