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Here you'll find hundreds of articles and video interviews with dental industry experts on the topics of DSO and practice growth, dental software, call-tracking technology, patient experience and artificial intelligence fueling the dental industries ability to treat more patients and change lives.

Part 3 of my presentation at the March 2022 ADSO Summit Meeting on artificial intelligence delves into the importance of understanding the KPIs you want to measure and what impacts them on a micro level so you can change those influencing factors for a predictable level of improvement. AI plays a leading role in doing that today and will play an increasing role in the future.

 

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Our DSOs need to move from using descriptive analytics to using predictive, prescriptive, and preemptive analytics. These are provided by customer relations management (CRM) systems.

 

A few DSOs are using Salesforce, but Dentrix and Eaglesoft do not include CRM. A customer relationship management system uses customer information to nurture customers, to point them in the right decision, which for us is getting them back to the dental office. 

 

What kind of performance information do you really need?

Every DSO manager wants key performance indicators but determining which specific KPIs are useful helps reduce data overload, so you can see which actions (behaviors) will predictably improve your monthly results.

For example, if your Hygiene production was 25% last month, that’s a KPI. You think you can do better, but do you know how much better? What additional metrics do you need to set your Hygiene production goal intelligently?

And do you know the impact of your Hygiene production on your Restorative production? How many patients did the hygienist send to Restorative last month? What did the hygienist do that influenced patients to move forward with treatment? Maybe your hygienist should do more of that.

We need to understand what hygienists do and why things happen before we can lead our teams to higher numbers. We need deeper information. We must be curious about what will change in our numbers when we change something else, such as spending more minutes with patients or empowering and educating our team members to lead patients. If the information doesn't give us insight, all we have is data.

 

You need actionable intelligence

If all your spreadsheets and graphs do not give you actionable insight to make a decision and take action, you're not there yet. That’s where artificial intelligence plays an important role. It can take you from hindsight to insight to foresight (propensity). AI can deliver insights from massive data so you can predict that changing A will change B and result in C. 

If I want 10% same-store growth, which is difficult for a mature practice to achieve, what steps do I need to take? Do my current analytics predict what I can do to achieve that with greater than 90% confidence? 

We need to expect more from data so we can achieve more with data. We want to know with 95% confidence that if we do A, B, C, and D, we’ll get same store growth of 10%. 

Where AI comes into play with patient acquisition and retention

Machine learning processes massive data and makes associations among data. Google’s machine learning crawls through Web data, searching all our content and applying its algorithms which impact our marketing. Our ads need to show up as SEO. There’s a lot of opportunity on the Google side to deploy AI to optimize what’s driving the right customer to us at the right time. Think in terms of filling our seats with patients who fly with us at least economy plus. Business-class is great. First-class is even better.

When the right patients call to book an appointment, we don’t want them to fall out of our funnel. That's where we stand at Patient Prism. Our Patient Prism AI is enabling your receptionists to become great salespeople.

And the sales mindset should be, "How am I going to help this caller move towards better health?" When those answering the phone provide excellent service and are knowledgeable, patients trust them. Actionable intelligence from AI coaches those who answer the phones, so your teams can convert more callers to scheduled appointments.

When more patients are having optimal experiences, trust grows and needed treatment is accepted.

AI can be used to improve the percentage of patients that show, the percentage who accept treatment, the percentage who return for examination and maintenance care at regular intervals, and your percentage of collections. There are AI tools available today to improve these important metrics by providing actionable intelligence that improves all parts of each patient’s journey.

More thoughts on micrometrics...

Once you know what you want to improve, you have a direction for defining the KPIs you need to measure, and I am referring to performance data on a micro instead of a macro level. Improving new patient conversion could be an operations issue as simple as having more people trained and available to answer live calls during peak call hours.

You need data on how many calls are coming in when, how many are picked up live, how many go to voicemail, and how many seconds on hold do callers wait before hanging up. Those are details that provide insight into what is impacting conversion performance. Do you need more staff available for phones mid-day?

Another widespread problem is time pressure on team members answering calls. Are they distracted? Are they untrained and ill-prepared? When you isolate what is happening, you can take action to solve the problems. 

DSOs need KPIs across the entire patient journey. It comes down to your corporate teams thinking proactively about what KPIs you want to improve, thinking about the micro information you need to collect to get a solid understanding of what affects those KPIs, and then changing things that will generate improvement.

 

Where we are today...

Artificial intelligence can be trained to track and assess the information you need, report usable information within minutes (eventually in real-time), and perform propensity modeling that says if you do A, B, C, and D, you will have certain results with 95% probability. AI can tell us what to fix and how to fix it.

That’s where we are today. AI platforms are being developed for application in all areas of dental practice. In the next segment of this blog series, we’ll look at some of these platforms and applications with an eye on how they impact patient acquisition and retention.


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