As a pediatric dentist in Colombia, Angela Yepes, MBA’22, had decided she didn’t want to own her own practice because of the headaches associated with running one.
“I didn’t want to deal with all that. I thought I’d be an employee for the rest of my life,” she says.
But when she moved to the United States and began helping her husband run their practice in Indianapolis, Angela decided she needed to understand more about the administrative side of the dental practice. She enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in Medical Management at the Kelley School of Business.
“I found that I enjoyed seeing the office’s growth and learning how to work with employees, insurance companies and patients. I like finding that balance between quality and profitability,” she says. “I’m surprised how much I’ve come to enjoy this work.”
Angela didn’t pursue her dental license in the United States and, instead, focused fully on running Dr. J Pediatric Dentistry with her husband, Juan. The practice employs four dentists, three dental assistants and three office assistants. Angela discovered that it was not only helpful, but essential to be a healthcare provider who understands the business side of the medical care they are dispensing.
“For many years, dentists with a private office dealt only with patients paying in cash. The business was simple. Today, we must sell our service to insurance companies. Patients have a variety of ways to pay,” says Angela. “We need to know how healthcare works outside the dental chair so we can provide patients with a valuable service without compromising our quality. To do what we do best, we need to provide a service that makes a profit.”
Today, we need to know how healthcare works outside the dental chair so we can provide patients with a valuable service without compromising our quality.”
As she worked through the 12-month graduate certificate program, Angela found each lesson to be relevant to her daily duties running the dental office. She now prepares balance sheets and finds that financial reports are no longer just numbers on a paper provided by her CPA.
“Everything since day one of the program has been useful. Marketing was absolutely amazing, as was business foundations analytics,” says Angela. “Prior to gaining a business perspective, we in healthcare often think: They pay; I receive. But the business is more than that. The innovation course helped me understand the business principles that guide our work.”
In fact, Angela says the experience has completely changed her view of the dental business.
“It’s a complete, 360-degree change in viewpoint,” she says. “The Kelley Graduate Certificate in Medical Management is 110% worth the investment in money and your time.”
During the program, Angela applied the graduate certificate lessons directly to her workplace during a course called Leading People and Managing Behavior in Healthcare Organizations. During the class, she addressed challenges in retaining employees.
“We examined our employees—how long they’d been with us, what information or write-ups were in their files and why people left. We ultimately realized that our employees didn’t have very clear understanding of our vision and our mission as an organization,” she says. “Because they didn’t have that knowledge, we weren’t on the same page.”
Angela initiated a process to communicate the vision, the correct protocols for patient care and a better understanding of the desired company culture.
“As a result of this exercise, we developed a very solid, high-quality team that helped us finally find the flow that we wanted, even in spite of the global pandemic this year,” says Angela. “Our employee retention has been 100% since we began, and we haven’t had any poor reviews or complaints from patients, parents or doctors.”
As a result of this exercise, we developed a very solid, high-quality team. Our employee retention has been 100%.”
Once she completed her Graduate Certificate in Medical Management in August 2020, Angela decided her business education journey was not over yet. She enrolled in the Evening MBA Program at the Kelley School, where her graduate certificate credits easily carried over into the top-ranked, 24-month program.
“I know there’s more to learn. The certificate was just the first brush stroke; the MBA will give me the whole picture,” she says. “We are planning to open two more locations, and I will be in front, making that possible. Eventually, I might look into consulting for dental businesses. Understanding the business side of this industry has given me confidence to do these things.”
As she embarks on her next business degree, Angela says she’s grateful she took the first step toward understanding her own business through the Graduate Certificate in Medical Management.
“I tell my husband every day: I don’t know how we would’ve survived everything without this knowledge because it’s a completely different way of doing business. You gain a whole new point of view.”