In January, I had the privilege to be invited to the 11th annual, Future of Healthcare meeting, held at the El Mangroove Resort in Costa Rica. While first impressions might make you say, “Oh sure. It sounds like just another expensive vacation write-off,” nothing could be further from the truth. While the location was truly amazing, it played an integral part in the event. Attendees were all business during sessions, even tabling heavier discussion for, “on the beach.” I noticed that even social time, dinners and downtime at the pool, were largely filled with serious conversation about the day’s business.
Attendees were largely made up of practice owners and spouses. The organizers intentionally targeted practice owners of various ages, backgrounds, and practice types that all had one thread in common, they are actively integrating a Complete Health Model into their practice.
In fact, Barb McClatchie, DDS and Eric Goulder, MD came from Columbus, Ohio, where they combine her dental practice and his cardiology practice, to share their research and experiences with the group. Both are equally passionate about the prospect of combining medicine and dentistry into a profitable practice, and are living it every day.
There was a lot of sharing about the struggles and wins of actively integrating various cancer screenings, sleep and airway diagnosis and treatment, heart attack and stroke prevention, asymptomatic diabetes screening, and a host of other rapidly advancing clinical elements into a practice. Dr. Michael Fullbright from San Diego shared his experience adding a nutritionist on staff as part of a Complete Health program, and the advancing research in “food as medicine.” The statistics presented surrounding these chronic conditions and the impact of early diagnosis in a dental setting was astounding and inspiring.
At a lot of events I attend like this, many attendees seem to come to listen to lectures, take a lot of notes, and sneak away early. Not this group. I was particularly impressed by how serious the discussions were, how engaged the attendees were both in and outside of sessions, and how every participant came ready to contribute their own personal experiences from the past year, as much as to learn. The vibe was very much that of a high-end mastermind group.
Every morning began with professionally led exercises designed to awaken and focus attendees on the day’s agenda, and every day included group activities such as cleaning the beach and planting trees, that were clearly designed to bring the group together in thinking beyond their individual practice missions.
Perhaps the element that I found most significant was how the organizers created accountability partners for the rest of the year. Each couple was directed through an exercise to create goals, action plans, and milestones for themselves in 2019, then they paired up with another couple for discussion. The couples outlined their plans and set up a schedule for calls and meetings for the rest of the year, where they would report on progress to the other. I was extremely impressed by how seriously each considered their commitments to themselves, their practices and their accountability partners.
To be honest, I get invited to a lot of dental events and meetings, and my schedule just doesn’t allow for most. I can say with complete confidence that I walked away from the 2019 Future of Healthcare meeting excited about the future of the dental industry. I met some amazing people, like Dr. Jeff Lowe from Hays, Kansas, one of the founding members, and Heather and Rob Lucas from Cincinnati, Ohio, who aren’t just talking about the integration of medicine and dentistry, they’re making it happen!
I was surprised to learn that the group was also behind the 2014 movie, “Say Ahh,” produced by Partners In Complete Health, which can be found on YouTube and other online sources, and is currently gathering the latest clinical data for an updated release.
I suppose if I had to choose one word that describes what I took away from this meeting, it would be, community. The Future of Healthcare group is a real community of very passionate, engaged, medical and dental practice owners integrating their belief of an oral systemic health connection into their practices, and putting their ideas into action.
I came away convinced that these amazing dentists and physicians really are driving the future of healthcare.