Corporate myth busting with Primary Dental

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Primary Dental
Photo: Andrea Francolini

This article is sponsored content brought to you by Primary Dental.

Primary Dental by Healius is one of Australia’s top four dental operators with a commitment to supporting quality, affordable and accessible healthcare. With around a third of the Australian population avoiding dental care due to lack of transparency and high cost, Primary Dental is looking to the future by challenging the industry’s status quo. 

This dental corporate has a unique value proposition, being the only dental corporate in Australia to operate 62 centres within medical centres. With an average of 600 patients visiting a Healius-owned medical centre each day, patients are provided with a holistic healthcare experience—everything from dental and GP services to specialist and physio. 

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CEO Michelle Aquilina is leading the dental division’s growth and she makes one thing very clear: patients are at the core of everything they do. 

“We’re focused on driving a patient centric mindset across our centres. We do this by embracing and collaborating with our strategic partners and by providing dentists with continuous learning opportunities while also allowing them their clinical autonomy,” she said. 

In 2018 Primary Dental launched a first of a kind, educational program called FORWARD. The program comprises of a 12-month CPD curriculum tailored to dentists’ interests and industry trends. That same year, the company opened four new centres and refurbished four more embracing new technology and lean design principles. “We were the first corporate to introduce self-check-in kiosks and flexible digital payment methods at dental practices. We’re very attuned to the rapidly changing needs of consumers and as a result are focused on continuously innovating and improving, moving to new workflow and operational efficiencies, all while delivering quality care and service,” said Aquilina.

Feedback from dentists on the company’s shift to patient-centric innovation and collaborative approach has been overwhelmingly positive. 

Dr Sam Pak, Dentist at Primary Dental Baulkham Hills, never thought he’d join a corporate, but when owning a practice in the early 2000s became unfeasible, he turned to Primary Dental. Five years on, he says his relationship with Primary Dental is still strong and he encourages dentists to consider the unexpected benefits a corporate like them can bring. 

“Primary Dental has provided me with full support to focus on doing the one thing I became a dentist for—caring for patients,” he said. “I never thought I’d join a corporate. Back then, corporates were seen as the ‘enemies’ of dentists. I, like many young dentists, wanted to own a practice and about three years after I graduated I bought a surgery. What followed were several operational and staffing challenges, because, simply put, dentistry was and still is a highly competitive industry.” 

With a team of over 500 staff supporting the dental business, the company looks after everything from marketing and education to infection prevention and quality control. An added advantage, Dr Pak says, is the strong patient flow. “Located in an established Medical Centre, I get referrals from GPs all the time. Patient flow was one of my biggest challenges when I owned a practice and here I don’t have to think twice about it. It’s a great advantage.” 

“Another big improvement has been the education offered to dentists. We have clinical autonomy but Primary Dental embraces us by investing in our development. We’ve had lectures, hands-on learning, conferences and various opportunities to connect with other dentists. Providing these opportunities improves patient care and helps the industry overall.”

The company continues to innovate, keep ahead of industry trends and has big plans for its future. Aquilina sums it up well. “We essentially represent accessibility to the nation,” she said. “We need to remove the concept that corporate is the voodoo of the industry. It isn’t. A good corporate provides management, lifts industry standards and creates a high-performing culture while empowering the people to focus on delivering good patient outcomes.”

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