John and Kristin Morton of Morton Dentistry in Christchurch are the 100th practice to join the Lumino family John and Kristin Morton of Morton Dentistry in Christchurch are the 100th practice to join the Lumino family CREDIT: Ellis and Co

Smiles Abound as Lumino Network Hits 100 Practices

Tuesday 17 May 2016, 10:24AM
By Ellis and Co

Smiles are in plentiful supply at Lumino The Dentists today as New Zealand’s largest dental group celebrates hitting the 100 practice milestone after more than a decade of investing into growth.

The nationwide New Zealand dental group had humble beginnings, with Lumino’s parent company, Abano Healthcare, acquiring the small Geddes dental business back in 2002 and investing into software and management processes to set the business up for future growth.  It took ten years for the network to grow to 50 practices and a further six to double that today’s milestone 100 dental practices across the country.

Lumino broke new ground in 2011 when it became the first ever New Zealand dental brand to advertise nationally on TV, with its geographical spread enabling it to launch nationwide marketing campaigns. It is now one of New Zealand’s best known healthcare brands, with 85% prompted brand awareness.

“We have been investing into Lumino’s growth for over 13 years and hitting the 100 practice milestone is a significant achievement and a result of the effort we have put into developing a culture of excellence and becoming an employer of choice”, said CEO of Abano’s dental businesses, Andy Tapper.  

“The corporate dental model is increasing in popularity, as dentists become more aware of the benefits and value we offer, such as training, career development, clinical freedom and the ability to focus on dentistry rather than administration.

“The dental workforce demographic is changing with more female graduates attracted to the flexible working conditions we can provide. In addition, there is a growing reluctance on the part of young graduates to take on the debt associated with setting up their own practice.

“We have a number of initiatives to reward our staff and are well known within the industry for the clinical training and development opportunities we offer, as well as our network-wide conferences which provide the opportunity to share knowledge and meet others across the group.

“Our reputation now precedes us and we are increasingly being approached by dentists and dental specialists wanting to join our group. This means we can provide our Lumino patients with a full scope of dental services from general dentistry to orthodontics and highly specialised dental surgery.”

Customer focused campaigns such as 18 months’ interest free and $69 dental exam and xray offers have been hugely popular, with Lumino dentists now seeing nearly half a million patients a year.  Its upcoming promotion, starting in mid-June, ties into the 100 practice celebrations, with 1,000 free exam/x-rays being given away as a thank you to loyal patients.

The growth trajectory is part of a long term strategy from Lumino’s parent company, Abano Healthcare Group, and has been so successful that the company has also established a similar and fast growing dental network in Australia.

Internationally, there are now a number of dental groups in the States and UK which have upwards of 500 practices and turn over more than $1 billion in revenue.  While the trans-Tasman market is smaller in size, the opportunity is still significant and Abano is seeking a 10% share of the $11 billion trans-Tasman dental market, with an acquisition pace of one practice every two to three weeks.  

Corporate dentistry is a worldwide trend that is becoming increasingly popular in a variety of healthcare and medical services sectors and Lumino is leading the way in New Zealand, says Andy.  

Significant initiatives include:

  • Introduction of Lumino Clinical Advisory Committee in 2007, a group of senior Lead Dentists which meets regularly and assists the Lumino senior management team with strategic initiatives and the clinical development and direction of the group.
  • Continuing development of inhouse training and career development programmes, including mentoring, new graduate and fast track development programmes for new dentists.  This year, Lumino will be holding its 12th group-wide conference.
  • Lumino brand launched in 2005. In 2011, Lumino was the first New Zealand dental business to advertise nationally as part of its nationwide marketing and branding activity.
  • Lumino currently has 85% prompted brand awareness, making it one of New Zealand’s best known healthcare brands; 10% of New Zealand’s adult population are Lumino patients.
  • Only dental business in New Zealand able to offer 18 months’ interest free payment terms, in partnership with Q-Card, to help affordability in dentistry.
  • Almost half a million Lumino dental appointments took place in the last 12 months, with an average patient rating of 9 out of 10 for overall experience (in Lumino’s latest patient satisfaction survey).
  • Use of leading edge CRM and data warehousing software to improve marketing, customer service and patient retention.
  • Growing diversity of dental services on offer, with an increasing number of dental specialists now part of the Lumino group.
  • Nationwide community support programmes, such as KidsCan Lumino Day, which provided over 550 adult patients with more than $200,000 worth of free dental care in 2015.

Morton Dentistry Makes it 100

Morton Dentistry in Christchurch is the 100th practice to join the Lumino family, after dentists Kristin and John Morton realised the advantages that the Lumino model offered.

“Previously we had both been very anti the corporate dentistry model and associated it with loss of autonomy and 'hard selling' of dentistry.  However, after hearing CEO Andy Tapper speak, we realised there were many advantages we hadn’t considered.

“We felt more comfortable that we would still enjoy clinical freedom and retain the practice culture that we had, but could free ourselves from many of the headaches of running a small private dental practice. It really appealed to have tried and true business systems introduced to streamline the administration side of things and a comfort to know that there was a specialised team of Practice support managers, HR personnel and IT experts to call on if required.”

In terms of growing a practice, having an advertising and marketing team who understand the rapidly changing world of consumer behaviour and media also appealed to "Baby Boomer" John and "Generation X" Kristin.

Relocated in a new and airy building following the 2011 earthquakes, Morton Dentistry is a general family dental practice.