Dr. Ro Tapped as First-Ever Head of Dentistry for Walmart!
Updated: Dec 5, 2019
Dr. Ro Parikh has been chosen as the first-ever head of Dentistry for Walmart as they launch Walmart Health, a game-changing healthcare initiative which includes a comprehensive dental clinic as well as primary care, counseling, labs and x-rays, health screenings, vision services, hearing, fitness and nutrition information, and health insurance education and enrollment services.
This new model for healthcare services will revolutionize the way healthcare is provided. Experts predict rapid expansion of this model, which focuses on transparent and low pricing for all key health services regardless of patient insurance status. For example, labs start at $10 and an adult teeth cleaning starts at just $25. Patients will receive a cost estimate as soon as they book their appointment so no surprises will happen.
“I am so honored to be part of this! I believe in mentorship and patient-focused care and cannot wait to bring this perspective into Walmart so that I can help so many more patients receive the dental care they need and could not afford before now.” –Dr. Ro
This is the first in what experts predict is a growing trend of combined basic healthcare services. Dr. Ro has been tapped specifically because he is an expert at rapid growth on a corporate level that does not sacrifice personalized patient care. He plans to bring that perspective with him and show the national chain that it is possible to grow and expand while keeping the patient experience at the center of the operation.
“Whenever you grow, you must remember what is important. All of my offices have kept a unique culture despite being part of a larger DSO [Dental Service Organization]. They remain focused on providing personal attention and care to every patient that walks through that door and maintaining excellent relationships among their colleagues. A medical practice that sacrifices personal care to attain franchise growth will find it difficult to succeed and begin to lose their patients to smaller practices that have the time to devote to their needs.” - Dr. Ro
Dr. Ro knows all about organic growth. After graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Dentistry, where he also earned a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), with emphasis in marketing and finance, he opened his first practice with just 3 employees and 650 square feet of space. This small office eventually grew into the Chicagoland Smile Group, now a network of over 20 dental practices across multiple specializations. The group boasts nearly 100 dentists and dental specialists.
Walmart made an excellent choice. Dr. Ro’s unique background in finance, marketing, and dentistry empowered him to lead his practice to exponential growth during one of the country’s most difficult economic periods. His success with the Chicagoland Smile Group spurred him on and he founded DSO Strategy, LLC., a “passion project” dental consulting firm created to mentor entrepreneurial dentists in mapping out strategic growth plans to become thriving DSOs in their own right.
Throughout his consulting career (and continuing into his role at Walmart Health), Dr. Ro has always highlighted successful and thriving relationships as the primary indicator of success rather than size or capital. This approach is one of the reasons that he received the UIC College’s C.A.R.E. (Connecting Alumni to Reignite and Engage) Award in 2018. He continues to serve as a judge at Clinic and Research Day and mentor students coming through the college, helping them focus on compassionate and quality care.
There is no doubt that his relationships-centric philosophy will help Dr. Ro as he joins the inaugural leadership team at Walmart Health. The unique all-in-one care facility that offers extremely affordable and transparent pricing to those who can’t afford more traditional care facilities and / or don’t have insurance is certainly going to explode in popularity, especially in today’s economic environment where medical bills are among the top causes of bankruptcy.
Dr. Ro is particularly well-suited to his new role because of his passion for creating patient-centric business models that are also functional and highly efficient. These practices allow their providers to be caregivers first and administrators second, and he looks forward to bringing this mentality to a global organization like Walmart.
“Good medicine is good business, and by doing things the right way (by always putting the patient first), success will follow. In my dental practices, I work to maintain relationships as a reputable clinician and do right by the patients and people I work with each day. My passion for dentistry runs deep, which is why mediocrity is never an option.” –Dr. Ro
Walmart Health set out with a goal to provide access to basic healthcare services to Americans nationwide, regardless of their economic standing. This concept revolutionizes how healthcare is provided and is very exciting for dentistry, because it brings them into the medical fold when they have for so long been seen as a separate industry with separate insurance and care. Patients will benefit from having a “one stop shop” for all of their medical needs instead of having to travel to multiple separate facilities, then wait for those places to share lab results among themselves.
This allows for more comprehensive care plans, where medical providers are working with each other directly. For example, a patient with a health disorder in one area may very well have a chain-reaction effect over the rest of their body – eyes, teeth, cardiovascular, respiratory, even vision. Walmart Health has cut through all the red tape and pending approvals for specialist referrals it usually takes for care. Instead, the Walmart Health team can efficiently provide all the basic care that patients will need under the same roof, with clinicians who communicate directly with each other to ensure comprehensive and cohesive care plans.
The pilot Walmart Health Center has already tripled their initial expectations, with over 100 visits per day on average. Collaborative healthcare has been a major benefit to both patients and providers, and the collaborative aspect is providing a lot of hope and excitement for dentists, who can finally provide healthier lifestyles and holistically treat their patients. After all, dental health has been linked to a massive number of overall health benefits, such as stronger immune systems, increased fertility rates, improved focus and mental acuity, and decreased risk for infections throughout the body. Despite these links, dental health and other medical fields have generally remained separate before now.
With a projection of such massive and unprecedented growth, Walmart needed someone competent and well-versed in unexpected rapid expansion. With the model focusing on affordable care for typically under-served communities, they also needed someone who could address patient needs and ensure that the business knew how to communicate effectively with patients. Dr. Ro is the perfect person for the job, thanks to his patient-centric views on expansion and mentorship-focused approach to DSO. We can’t wait to see what’s next!