A conversation with Dr Richard Howarth, Commercial Director at Gensmile & Principal Dentist at Smile Style Dental Care
Doctify Spotlight is all about prompting thought-provoking conversations around the achievements and inspiring stories of our excellence-seeking healthcare partners. As part of this new and exciting series, we are sharing our valuable partners’ views on the industry, their philosophy and reflections on their career journeys. We hope you will enjoy reading about our conversations as much as we do.
At Doctify, we believe that hearing about the stories of our valued healthcare professionals from both a personal and professional perspective is truly inspiring. For today’s post, our spotlight is on Dr Richard Howarth who serves both as the Commercial Director of the dental group Gensmile as well as the Principal Dentist at Smile Style Dental Care. Starting his career as a hospital dentist training in dental surgery and orthodontics, he found himself in the realm of general practice in the early 90s where dentistry was changing significantly. As with many who go on to start their own ventures and practices, Dr Howarth’s reason to start his own was due to an inevitable disillusionment with NHS’s “fix it” approach to dentistry at the time. Departing from this kind of mindset, his practice at Stafford (now a multi-disciplined practice serving for the past 30 years) was accordingly focused on preventative dentistry.
When asked about the three words he believes that best describe the “healthcare philosophy” of his organisation, Dr Howarth unhesitantly responds with “patient-centric care”, “centre of excellence” and “holistic approach”. Concomitantly, the success of the practice equally has to do with their unique take on the dentist-patient relationship: for Smile Style, it is all about being the “dental health coaches” for their patients, which shows that they aim to offer much more than a service. It is an ongoing, caring and essentially a didactic relationship.
Challenges to Learn from
A conversation focusing on professional growth and milestones is not complete without looking at the obstacles and challenges one faces. When our conversation turned to some of the challenges Dr Howarth faced over the years, he starts by saying that starting one’s business and managing people concomitantly is an evident one. However, some challenges have been more instrumental surely. A cause close to his heart that marries dentistry and social responsibility is the Charity Dental Mavericks and travelling to Morocco in order to provide communities with no hitherto access to dental care was evidently a huge challenge. The same charity also took him to the refugee camps in Greece where he worked with refugees fleeing Syria. This humbling personal and professional challenge has reminded him further that being born in the UK with access to healthcare and education are not to be taken for granted.
The Future of Patient-Care
Turning our focus towards the industry as a whole and his outlook on its future, we started talking more about the changing expectations of patients. Dr Howarth also sees the current pandemic as the ultimate litmus test in revealing the fault lines and limitations of our healthcare system. When what way of thinking CEOs in the healthcare industry should adopt and overall what their guiding principles should be, the answer was a brutally honest one:”…highlighted by the current pandemic, there is health inequality in our nation and people can only achieve health if they live in health environments. The mouth is not separate from our body demonstrated by the links we have found to Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and heart disease to dental disease and infection.”
With Gensmile’s partnership with Doctify marking its one year anniversary, the importance of digital presence and online reviews was our next stop. In today’s world where it is crucial to make informed decisions especially in healthcare, Dr Howarth stresses that “timely” reviews are key to attracting new clients. In fact, he finds the ability to collect reviews quickly and efficiently with Doctify to be the biggest impact on their review collection journey.
“In today’s world where it is crucial to make informed decisions, especially in healthcare, “timely” reviews are key to attracting new clients.”Dr Richard Howarth
Considering the globalisation and decentralisation of healthcare services via developments in telehealth favourable not only to his organisation but to the future of the healthcare industry as a whole, he foresees that the rise of self-paying patients and personalized medicine will become more prevalent. However, it is not just about technological developments for Dr Howarth. He strongly believes in and is guided by values that should lead us to take a more holistic and united approach for the wellbeing of our communities and societies. Independent of one’s background, a healthier lifestyle should not be inaccessible, he adds and on a governmental level, healthcare professionals should uphold more holistic initiatives such as the “sugar tax” and increased taxation on large corporations whose products are unhealthy.
Dr Howarth is one of the many eminent partners we are proud to work with who deliver professionalism and inspiring medical excellence with flying colours every single day. We hope you enjoyed our conversation with him as part of our new series to put the spotlight on our valued partners.