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Patient Prism's Dental Industry Blog

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.

It was my great honor and pleasure to present at the March 2022 ADSO Summit Meeting in Austin, Texas. My presentation was titled “AI for Patient Acquisition and Retention in the Age of Consumerism. Part 1 of this presentation was an introduction to artificial intelligence in dentistry and the challenges before us in making best use of emerging AI technology.

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is the new, bright, shiny technology of today, and it is pervasive in business and our personal lives.

 

For example…

In 2006, Netflix, held a competition to create an algorithm that would predict how much someone is going to enjoy a movie based on their preferences. Although Netflix isn’t the only company using a recommendation engine. Other companies include Amazon, LinkedIn, Spotify, Instagram, YouTube, and many other Web platforms. About seven years ago, Netflix started using artificial intelligence at scale and has done a phenomenal job of applying AI, data science, and machine learning to solve business needs and provide shows consumers love.

Netflix’s bots looked at the scripts from the most successful movies and film series of the last 20 years. By collecting data on viewer behavior and analyzing that data, AI determined what resonated with viewers and built propensity models for the most engaging content. The writers of their shows started creating content driven by data. 

They knew from their propensity modeling that when they launched a show it would have high viewership and engage more customers. The Ted Lasso series’ scripts actually included dialog written by AI. Even the thumbnail images Netflix pushes to its customers are personalized by the AI, based on the customer’s previous click through behavior.

Amazon doesn't have people sitting around thinking that if Jeff bought Good to Great, maybe he would like Adam Grant's newest book or Simon Sinek's new book, The Infinite Game. Amazon’s AI recommendation engine is designed to recommend books that Jeff is likely to want to read, based on the book purchases of consumers who also bought Good to Great.

 

In dentistry…

Technology developers start with a problem AI can solve. Today, they are looking at the applications for AI in all aspects of dental practice and our DSO platforms. The question we ask is: How will we use AI to improve patient outcomes? Once we figure out how to deliver patient care at the highest level, our EBITDA and same store growth will follow. And AI is going to help us do that.

 

Challenges in dentistry that AI can address beyond clinical diagnosis…

We’re all aware of software platforms that utilize AI to interpret radiologic data and perform propensity modeling for specific treatment modalities. We’re aware of AI platforms that increase the accuracy and efficiency of filing insurance claims and reduce the human time sink in claim follow-up for collections. DSO teams do benefit from computer assessments of images, computer modeling, and instant intelligence from millions of clinical cases. DSO teams do benefit from AI assessment of patient records and insurance claims. 

There are more aspects of dentistry that AI is addressing or will address going forward to meet the challenges we face in profitably providing care at the highest level. For example…

 

Time


We are in an era where there is an extreme shortage of time. What's the most fashionable thing to say today? "I have no time." Everyone says that. We don't sleep enough. We don't have time to exercise.

We need to recognize that patients, doctors, and practice teams have little time in which to interact and effectively create opportunities for best outcomes. 

And then there is the issue of attention span. Google says it takes eight seconds for a potential patient to look at your website or ad before taking the next action. Consumers are rapidly making decisions based on what they see. AI can help us put the most compelling content forward.

 

Trust

Consumers are now sophisticated. They do research online. My 17-year-old daughter said the other day, "Dad, I got a problem with number 14." Really? This is the new generation of people who have researched everything. They're highly sophisticated. So, the way we communicate with them on the phone, on the website, on our videos, in the front office, and in the operatory, must take into account this fact.

Respect for “where the patient” is in their research and knowledge is an intentional behavior that facilitates trust. It is immensely important at all stages of the patient journey.

We have the potential in this industry to use AI to deliver a personalized profile on callers, for example, the health concerns they researched and the pages they have visited on your website before calling your website phone number.

 

Rising Patient Acquisition Cost


Dentistry moved to a direct-to-consumer model in the last 15 years. Clear Choice started that trend. We have figured out how to directly reach consumers. Dental practices and support organizations of all sizes are spending more on marketing than ever before.

Simultaneously, we need to make sure new patients are not falling out of the sales funnel. Fifty percent of new patient calls don't result in an appointment on the first call. A staggering 52% of treatment plans were not accepted in 2021.

We need to make it easier for patients to accept treatment. These are problems AI companies like mine are evolving to address better and better.

 

Complex Tech Stacks


DSO are looking at many technology platforms to build an operational ecosystem that will enable them to support their doctors and teams in delivering the highest standard of care. The tech stack is a challenge because there are so many bright, shiny products.

DSOs ask, “Do we need everything to be successful?” DSOs need to deploy technology that:

  • works in synch,
  • is easy to use so it will get used, and
  • is supported by companies that onboard and train employees to put the technology into operation

We’ve got great companies delivering AI intelligence for DSOs, but we need to figure out how to better integrate the technology.

Imagine deciding to spend $5,000 on an implant campaign because the ROI will be 10X. To forecast that ROI, you need to know your click through rate, your lead conversion rate, and how predictably the callers appointed for initial consults will proceed with treatment given x, y, and z. You want the type of intelligence AI can give you at scale so you can invest wisely not only in your marketing but also your technology, local teams, and facilities to serve more patients with implant treatment.

Questions DSOs ask when considering new technology...

A new tech company seems to form every minute. These are just some of the questions DSOs ask when considering which technology to use:

  • How many windows will need to be open on a computer?
  • How can the data from different platforms be transferred to a central data hub and how can we organize it to be easily used?
  • How much data is too much? Which data is most important to us?
  • How difficult will it be to train our employees?
  • What if we need help with using the software?
  • What will it cost me? What productivity and accuracy will it give us?
  • Is that quantifiable?
  • What ROI can I really expect from using it?
  • Is my practice management system compatible with it? 

 

The DSO industry's challenge...

As an industry, we need to figure out how to transfer data from different platforms to a central data hub and how to organize it to be easily used. We need to understand which specific operational intelligence we need, so we can uncover insight and foresight that helps us:

  • make better business decisions
  • serve more patients at the highest level

Next: ADSO March 2022: Part 2 - Addressing Holes in Your Marketing Funnel

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