Revolutionising the patient journey

CEO Mia Grundstrøm has already made a rocket ride at Colosseum Tannlege after only three years in the dental industry. It's been a challenge, but in a few years the company has grown from 34 clinics to nearly 70

Feature image
Mia Grundstrøm, CEO of Colosseum Tannlege

Colosseum Tannlege is the Norwegian arm of Colosseum Dental Group, the pan-European dental health business. The Norwegian company was founded in 1986 by a dentist who believed that chain management would be the future of dentistry. He was right: today there are several dental care chains in Norway, and Colosseum Tannlege is still at the top.

Mia Grundstrøm became CEO of Colosseum Tannlege in 2020, six months in to the COVID-19 pandemic. She previously served as CEO of Aleris, Norway’s leading private healthcare company, providing hospital and medical services nationwide. She had been with Aleris for 13 years, growing up through the company from business controller, to CFO, to CEO.

“I saw Colosseum Tannlege as my next challenge,” Grundstrøm said. “It is motivating to be part of the development of this industry, where Colosseum Tannlege still has great growth potential.”

2022 was the fastest growing year for Colosseum Tannlege to date, with 22 new clinics joining the chain. “It’s been a tough, but incredibly interesting and motivating year as a manager,” said Grundstrøm. “The biggest challenge has been to balance integration and ongoing operations. We had to expand and establish a larger organisation and management to handle all the new clinics.

“Pandemics, brutal wars, energy and financial crises have severely tested us and other industries in recent years. It’s a challenge, but it really shows the importance of good cooperation. And finally, it has demonstrated the excellent adaptability of the Colosseum Tannlege staff and dentists. I am proud to be part of a company that supports patients every day and provides them with quality service.”

For Grundstrøm, scaling the business while retaining that high level of service is about getting the right people on board, and putting people in the right place. “We all have different skill sets, and by understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses, we can create strong teams that can take our business to the next level,” she said. As a manager, you must dare to hire people who are more knowledgeable than you, Grundstrøm went on to explain. This isn’t always self-evident to all managers, but shared knowledge gives you double back.

“My motto is that knowledge in itself is not power, but shared knowledge brings power and value, taking you and your company to the next level,” she said.

Scale with polish
The field of dental health is witnessing increasing competition, driven by higher customer expectations. The modern patient expects – and demands – the highest dental quality. But perceived quality extends far beyond just the examination or treatment: it encompasses the entire patient journey, from initial contact, to consultation, to the end of treatment.

In order to compete in the dental market, we must focus on our patients,” Grundstrøm said. “We need to exceed their expectations of dental treatment so they can tell their friends about their experience.”

To accompany the business’s huge expansion, Colosseum Tannlege has taken a number of steps to improve its availability to its patients. It opened a new customer centre to ensure that all incoming inquiries are answered quickly – whether by email, phone or other channels. As well as expanding the number of clinics it operates across the country, those clinics have also extended their opening hours. And a new online chat channel for patients to contact the customer care centre is imminent.

In 2022 Colosseum Tannlege invested NOK 140m in new modern equipment, and in the construction of large interdisciplinary clinics designed to provide efficient and quality care to patients. In the past, the idea of a large dental chain would have been a daunting thought for many practice owners – but Colosseum Tannlege is excited to see more independent dental practices join a larger dental service and experience the positive aspects of being part of a greater whole.

“A large interdisciplinary clinic offering a wide range of services creates an inspiring professional environment and is an excellent platform for interdisciplinary learning and knowledge exchange,” said Grundstrøm. “The most important thing is that patients receive the best and correct care possible with modern technology and equipment.

“Our clinics have well-functioning facilities that allow our therapists to devote their time to treating patients, rather than dealing with administrative issues. At Colosseum Tannlege, dentists are given the opportunity for further development.”

The future of dentistry is digital
In the field of dentistry, online appointment scheduling is fairly new. While customers increasingly book everything else online, dentists often continue to send appointments by mail. Colosseum Tannlege has developed an online booking system so that patients can choose the appointment that best suits them. Not surprisingly, online booking has quickly become patients’ most popular way to make an appointment.

The dental health industry is also being advanced by artificial intelligence. Modern technology has been speeding up developments in the field – such as in identifying and treating caries. More commonly known as tooth decay, caries is a common dental problem that is sometimes detected too late. Advanced technology and AI can put an end to this delay: allowing dentists to detect dental caries faster, and start treatment based on a more effective process.

Shared knowledge brings power and value, taking you and your company to the next level

AI-based technology can also be used to detect and measure bone loss in the tooth area. This allows dentists to better understand patients’ dental health and help to detect the need for tooth extraction at an early stage. These advances are helping to improve the prognosis of patients at the same time as reducing the cost of treatment.

Another exciting development in dental health is the use of 3D printing. This enables more precise and cheaper manufacturing of dental implants and other prosthetics. Dentists can make individual preparations of prosthetics that meet the individual needs of each patient and improve their therapeutic effect.

AI and modern technology have the potential to play an important role on the road to achieving a more sustainable and eco-friendly dental health industry. Using 3D printing reduces material consumption and waste, while AI-based diagnostics and treatment planning can improve accuracy and reduce the need for invasive and resource-intense interventions.

Colosseum Tannlege is also responding to the trend of sustainable development. “What we do in the area of sustainability matters to our patients and future patients,” said Grundstrøm. “Climate change, changing consumer habits and new regulations require sustainability. Tackling major societal challenges. The situation requires greater action, responsibility, and long-term action in dentistry.

“We take this responsibility seriously. That’s why we form sustainable partnerships with other Scandinavian countries and promote sustainable development. We want to make big strides in sustainability, and as part of a larger team we can make big strides together. We are the first DSO in Norway publishing annual quality and sustainability reports – this ensures the necessary internal attention and commitment. It’s what we do in our day-to-day business that drives us to improve.”

This commitment to sustainability looks inside the business, as well as out. Each year the company conducts an annual employee survey, led by Great Place to Work, the international workplace culture organisation. According to the latest survey, 86 percent of Colosseum Tannlege employees feel their work is meaningful and ‘more than just a job.’ “In other words, we take care of our employees!” Grundstrøm said. “I am incredibly proud of the work we do and our culture of inclusion and collaboration.”

Owners with strong purpose
Colosseum Tannlege is a part of Colosseum Dental Group, which operates more than 620 modern, fully equipped clinics and 50 laboratories in 11 markets across Europe. The group employs more than 12,500 dentists and assistants, and treats more than six million patients per year. Colosseum Dental Group is owned by the Jacobs family through Jacobs Holding. Jacobs Holding donates all of its financial dividends to the nonprofit Jacobs Foundation. The Jacobs Foundation invests in the future of young people by supporting the development of young people and children through programmes around the world. It aims for equal access to high quality education whatever their background and wherever their home.

“Having an owner with such a long long-term perspective and a clear purpose as Jacobs helps us bring the best out of our business, which again promotes the best for our patients,” Grundstrøm said.