Dr. Jumper Vs. Dr. Keeper

One of the limited business lectures I received in dental school taught me the lesson of Dr. Jumper vs. Dr. Keeper. Dr. Jumper is the dentist who becomes enamored with every little pearl marketed to the practice, every piece of new equipment, new technology or new gadget that is promised to return millions. Consequently, Dr. Jumper leaps into these purchases and becomes the new best friend of any sales rep within a hundred miles. This becomes quite costly until the time that Dr. Jumper, if that time ever arrives, finally realizes that “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

In contrast to Dr. Jumper, Dr. Keeper is the dentist who one might consider “Old School.” This doctor is the one who never updates the office décor, never changes any techniques in response to more efficient technology and never buys anything the sales rep is selling. One of my patients described her former dentist’s office where the equipment is held together by duct tape. That’s a good example of a Dr. Keeper. Dr. Keeper resists the temptation to buy into anything new or different even when doing so would greatly increase the productivity of the practice. This also proves quite costly because from time to time, certain things come along, for example, computers, which can tremendously enhance business revenues while significantly mitigating overhead. If Dr. Keeper were able to clear the hurdles of discomfort and intimidation, the resulting net income from the upgrade would reward greatly for this fortitude.

The idea here is to be neither Dr. Jumper nor Dr. Keeper. The tenet expressed to us was that we should become dentists falling somewhere in between these two doctors. My proposal would be to become Dr. Analytical. This dentist blends the best qualities of both doctors while leaving behind those characteristics that inhibit practice growth and prosperity. Dr. Analytical effects cost control by determining whether purchasing the new product, service or fancy piece of new equipment will do one or more of the following things:
1. Make the doctor more money
2. Make the doctor more efficient
3. Make the doctor’s job easier
4. Make the doctor’s job more enjoyable
5. Provide patients a necessary service otherwise unavailable.

If none of these benefits is present, the sales rep can peddle those products down the road to Dr. Jumper.