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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.

Talking AI with Amol Nirgudkar, “The Mayor of Dental”

Dental Marketing Theory is a podcast by Gary Bird. In this episode, Gary talks with Patient Prism’s CEO, Amol Nirgudkar, about his dental journey and how Patient Prism can turn dental practice phones into an A.I.-enhanced sales machine.

Bird names Nirgudkar “the mayor of dental,” saying, “Everywhere I go, you're there. So, tell me a little bit about how you got into dental and into the position that you find yourself in now.”



Part 1: The Origin of Patient Prism

Eight years ago, Nirgudkar was a CPA running a firm focused on healthcare and real estate clients. Sixty to seventy percent of their healthcare portfolio were dentists. One day he realized he wanted to do something more, so asked himself what he should be doing. “The answer was that I'm really good at figuring out how to attract the right customers,” says Nirgudkar. “So, believe it or not, I started doing dental marketing for fun. I asked some of my clients if they would mind me trying out what I had successfully done for my accounting firm, this time in the dental world."

Dentist Profit Systems was the marketing company he started and ran for five years. “We had about 50 clients, and we did a fairly good job of getting the right customers. We collaborated with people who wanted to spend 5% to 8% of their revenues on marketing. We drove a lot of leads into the funnel, and that's how I realized that there was a problem I could solve,” Nirgudkar continues. “The problem was that no matter how many leads we directed into the funnel, if they were not being converted, it didn’t matter.”

The marketing was wasting time and money if the leads were not well managed. Nirgudkar bought a dental practice to learn the business and fell in love with the industry that has “such a profound impact on people’s lives.”

Nirgudkar reports that some of his marketing clients were sure the marketing wasn’t working because they weren’t seeing an uptick in new patients. He decided to listen to recorded phone calls to see what was happening and discovered that the receptionists were not doing a good job of answering new patient calls and scheduling the callers. Deploying people to listen to calls and coaching clients’ receptionists was time consuming. Nirgudkar asked his co-founder, "How should we do this? How do we scale this? How do we do this in a way where we can efficiently and quickly understand what went wrong and provide feedback?" 

Nirgudkar wondered if Alexa could be trained to understand dentistry. His current CTO suggested they create AI software. At first it was a minimumly viable product that allowed the Patient Prism software to listen to phone calls using machine learning. Natural language processing, which is a subset of AI, was taught to not listen but also assess what was happening quickly and accurately, and report back to clients how to improve new patient call answering and conversations to convert leads and recapture lost opportunities.

“It’s the same technology that drives Alexa,” says Nirgudkar. “But Patient Prism’s AI bot has been taught to understand the context of dental phone conversations well beyond keywords.”

Bird wonders when Nirgudkar realized he was on top of something big.

“It was kind of a weird thing because when the United States Patent Office actually issued us a patent, we realized we were building something innovative,” says Nirgudkar was inspired to pursue the AI more. The patented technology uniquely had the AI can listen to a phone call and create a visualization graphic of what happened across a timeframe. Users of the software did not need to listen to voice recordings to understand what happened.

“Once we realized that, we piloted this with a friendly DSO that was one of our clients, and usage made an impact in adding more patients. For the same amount of marketing spend, they were adding more new patients to their offices every month. And then we decided we should start a company. We had solved a problem and could make a bigger impact by pursuing this.”

Nirgudkar retired from his CPA profession to focus on Patient Prism full time. “I made it my life’s work to figure out how to put more patients in the chair,” says Nirgudkar. “Given dentistry’s focus is so much on marketing and advertising, this was the right time to do this. The whole industry is going gangbusters with new patient acquisition.”



RELO (Re-Engage Lost Opportunity) Alerts Distinguish Patient Prism: No Other Company Is Doing This

Bird remarks, “I know you have many cool things you do at Patient Prism, but I think the thing that really separates you, makes you unique, and really can't be duplicated any other way that I'm aware of is your RELOs.“

Nirgudkar explains that RELO stands for Re-Engage Lost Opportunity. Patient Prism’s AI alerts dental offices of lost opportunities so quickly they can re-engage the patient quickly and schedule them.

“Before Patient Prism, dental offices could record phone calls and deploy people to listen to them but it was inefficient,” says Nirgudkar. “How many calls are they going to listen to every day? Which ones and how quickly can they act upon something? By the time they listen to recorded calls, it is too late.”

“Even if you're listening to them the next day, it's too late,” says Bird.

“Patient Prism’s AI assesses a 10-minute recording in 0.2 seconds. It accurately understands who called, why they called, if they are an existing or new patient, and whether they booked or not. It then sends that information to the dental office or DSO within 12 to 14 minutes of the call. Now those answering the phones have a second chance to make the first impression. Now they can call the patient back quickly. We’re the only company doing that.” –Amol Nirgudkar, Co-founder and CEO, Patient Prism


The Results of A.I.

Nirgudkar has seen multiple quantifiable results from clients using Patient Prism. “We've seen their scheduled rates go up anywhere between 10% to 30% in the first 4 to 6 months. We've seen them add anywhere between 5 to 10 new patients a month,” says Nirgudkar. “And you can imagine the value of a patient today. The lifetime value of a patient. If you're adding 8 new patients, that's 100 new patients a year.

“Provided you use the data and call the patient back, we're seeing 60 to 100 new patient opportunities recaptured a year per location without having to spend more money on marketing.”

Patient Prism’s real time analytics surface up problems to be solved, for example, missing too many phone calls during business hours or a receptionist’s lack of knowledge. 

Bird says, “That’s a whole separate issue. I've seen this happen. An office's phone conversion drops down from 80% to 50%. They hired someone and no one trained them. They were literally thrown on the phones. You need a way to catch that. And I know that you deal with a lot of that as well.”

Nirgudkar reports that during the last 6 months, a shortage of experienced dental workers has resulted in hiring front office team members with no prior dental experience. Patient Prism helps acclimate them with video training modules and Patient Prism feedback so they can optimize conversion quickly. 

“We've got to get them acclimated to the dental terms, the vocabulary, the knowledge,” says Nirgudkar. “The patient can figure out whether you know your stuff or not within seconds. If a caller says, “I'm looking for a dental implant. Do you do them?" and the receptionist hesitates, the caller thinks they haven’t called the right place. So, it’s important for receptionists to have confidence”

An example of Patient Prism training is feedback to say, “You called the right place, and our expert dentist can diagnose your implant needs and answer your questions specifically as they relate to your case. Let’s get you started.”

Patient Prism's A.I. in Dental Technology Platform - Performance Report


A.I. Tech Products Are Creating Efficiency Across Dentistry

In addition to Patient Prism A.I. technology assessing dental phone conversations, other A.I. technology is providing rapid diagnosis and treatment recommendations from almost real time assessment of 3D scans and radiographs. A.I. technology is assisting with financing and collections. 

“I think the challenge now is to operationalize A.I. technology within the dental office so that it creates more time for the team members in the dental office to spend with the patients and not do other mundane things like revenue cycle management. Those things are the ones that we will outsource to technology so that we can spend more time with the patients earning their trust and changing lives for the better.”



About Gary Bird, SMC National & The Dental Marketing Theory Podcast

Gary Bird is the founder and CEO of SMC National (featured on the INC 5000 list). SMC is a marketing company that creates steady, predictable new patient growth for dental groups and DSOs, and SMC leads the dental industry in using advanced, actionable data (in real-time) to produce predictable, stand-out results. Dental Marketing Theory is Bird's podcast that provides like-minded, passionate individuals a platform to share experiences and expertise in the dental industry. His podcasts discuss how marketing theory, development and acquisitions enhance an overall success plan. 

Ready to supercharge your DSOs growth this year? Schedule a demo with Patient Prism and learn how combining SMC National + Patient Prism will generate and convert high-quality new patients for your practice!


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