Size is one of the key ways to measure network strength, and the latest NetMinder data reveals that dental network size continues to increase.
There are two ways that networks generally grow:
- Organic growth through direct contracts with the dentists themselves
- Partnerships, leases and reciprocal arrangements
We see a clear trend that indicates both are happening. More networks are partnering, and dentists are joining more and more networks.
Out of the top 15 national dental PPOS, 13 have one or more partners, according to our data. More than half have three or more lease partners, and the partners are not limited to traditional rental networks. Even carriers are offering some or all of their contracted providers in partnership arrangements.
Additionally, dentists continue to join more networks. From March 2009 to March 2013, the average number of networks per dentist in the top 15 networks grew from 6.2 to 7.4. Now 37% of dentists are in 11-15 networks, compared to just 26% of dentists participating with that many networks in 2009. By contrast, the
number of dentists in one to five networks shrunk from 55% to 46%.
Part of this increase can be attributed to the multiplier effect. When a dentist joins a lease network, he or she ends up in many networks.
I’m going to be diving even deeper into the data in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more dental PPO network trends!