In Latin America, many dentists own their own practices. Dentists typically work in small clinics, alone or perhaps with a few associates. They often have a dental assistant or hygienist who often works as the receptionist, and they have the equipment they need for their most common procedures. In the case of implants, crowns or other restoration work, they often work with a local laboratory. If they need to perform surgery, most provide dental surgery at their own clinic.
Recently, more and more of these small practices are becoming accredited. However, they are still the minority.
“Dentists typically fall into one of two categories,” says Monica Rix Paxson, author of The English Speaker’s Guide to Medical Care in Mexico. “The first category is the dentists that think that the cost of accreditation is much higher than they can afford. More often than not, they haven’t bothered checking prices. But if they could afford it, they would be interested. The second category is comprised of dentists that think dental accreditation is simply ‘not for them.’ They think accreditation companies only offer accreditation services to big hospitals…not small dental clinics.”
The truth is that some international healthcare accreditation organizations like Acreditas Global, the Latin American subsidiary of the US-based AAAHC, offer services and prices that are adapted to the needs small and mid-sized dental practices. More importantly, these dental clinics greatly benefit from international accreditation precisely because it is an opportunity to stand out from their competitors. “Accreditation is an international seal of approval and makes your dental clinic attractive to international patients,” says the CEO of World Medical Guides, Inc.
While many dental clinics start modestly, the most successful practices are the ones that upgrade their branding, attract specialists, offer more services, attract medical tourists, maintain the latest technology and perhaps even manage their own laboratories. These same dental clinics are likely to appreciate the value of accreditation. The smartest dental clinic owners will use accreditation to leverage their success and profitability.
So, is accreditation worthwhile for your dental clinic? The answer is yes, especially for those dental clinics that are committed to growth.