The pandemic is (hopefully) gone, and 2021 was an excellent year for the great resurgence of dentistry.
Everybody grew quite a bit in 2021.
But what’s happening in dentistry today? What trends and technology should you look out for?
The economy is unstable. Interest rates are going up, consumer spending is going down, and gas prices are going up.
Still, you want to make sure that your practices are growing at a good pace, hopefully at a double-digit clip.
Currently, the average dental office is losing about 27 patients per month. In addition, the hygiene reappointment rate is only 59% (Dr. Scott Luna).
So, can DSOs go against this trend and leverage state-of-the-art machine learning technology to increase their revenue?
Let’s dive into how DSOs can access actionable data that can take their practices to the next level regarding new patient revenue.
Table Of Contents
The Major Pillars Of Dentistry In The Era Of Consumerism
What does the patient acquisition journey look like in dentistry?
You must understand all customer touchpoints and optimize every step of the way to ensure they’re going down the funnel.
How can you book more new patients?
But before we go into that, let’s first talk about the major pillars of dentistry in today’s era.
Shortage of time
How do patients find your practice?
- Search on Google about their problem
- Find your website or GMB
- They like what they see and decide to make a call
- They quickly talk to someone who understands them and books the appointment
We’ll go more in-depth on this journey later.
So shortage of time is critical from a patient standpoint as well as from the perspective of your team members.
There's not enough time in the day to do all the things we want to do. Your processes must be optimized appropriately.
You have to be able to do things quickly and adjust fast.
Healthcare patient sophistication and trust
In healthcare, patient sophistication and trust are becoming super important, which means you have to deliver.
Patients are way more sophisticated today than they ever have been.
They know precisely that they need a crown on tooth number 14, or they made a root canal.
So you must ensure your team members on the phone, on your websites, or everywhere else are conveying to the patient that you are knowledgeable and trustworthy.
Earning trust is very important, and if you don't know what you're talking about, that becomes a huge trust issue.
So, training is a significant factor here.
Your staff must be exceptionally well prepared to deliver an excellent experience over all your communication channels, especially the phone.
More dollars are being spent on all sorts of marketing than never before in dentistry.
So many different channels and platforms to connect with your audience, offer them value, and earn their trust.
You have to spend more money on marketing to drive high-value new patients into your funnel.
Access to care
It's crucial to get patients in your offices within a short period of time.
Patients don’t care if you’re booked out. They’ll just look for another provider.
Nobody's going to wait too long. That's why your cancellations and no-shows are high.
You'll have to be able to get a patient in within the shortest time.
Think about all the things needed to get access to care easier, faster, and better in all kinds of ways.
How AI Affects The Dental Patient Journey
Let’s talk about the journey of the dental patient.
- What does it matter?
- Where does it start?
- Where does it end?
It matters if you’re a: DSO, group practice, single practitioner/doctor…
You have to understand, map, and appreciate the journey that a new patient takes to come into your offices.
It most likely starts with a Google search.
Sometimes it starts with social media.
Very few times it starts with an insurance referral.
Make sure your website is optimized for search engines! SEO has extremely high ROI when done correctly.
Your ad hopefully shows up. Your organic ranking shows up.
They must like your reviews, reputation, content, and all the stuff.
So you have to convert them to move forward. They're going to call you to book an appointment, right?
At that point, the phone conversion rate right now with new patients nationwide is 42% (ADA).
So, on average, 58% of new patients calling your office are not booking an appointment.
And that's a big problem.
That's where Patient Prism comes in.
We leverage AI to understand those conversations so that we can move that patient forward.
You must think about what happens at the assistant hygiene, doctoral, and treatment plan coordinator levels to move that patient forward.
If you stop the patient in their tracks, they will not move forward.
So mapping the patient journey is super important and understanding the metrics around that is also essential.
How many obstacles in your office prevent the patient from booking an appointment?
4 Ways Patient Prism Brings More Revenue To Your Practice
1. Attract High-Value New Patients
We make sure that you're attracting suitable high-value patients to your practice.
What kind of patients are you attracting to your practice? It’s important to know that.
It's not all about marketing sometimes, right?
Sometimes it's about you not being able to have space for that patient to come to see you for the hygiene visit.
2. Convert Calls Into Appointments
Are you converting those calls into booked appointments? That's super important as well.
You have to be able to convert. Just spending more money on marketing and driving those leads is not enough.
We will show you the reasons why patients are not booking.
- Is it scheduling?
- Is it capacity?
- Is it pricing or insurance?
- Is it some other reason?
So we look at that data and tell you what’s happening in real time.
3. Overcome DSO Growth Challenges
AI takes 0.2 seconds to analyze a 10-minute conversation.
Humans can't compete with that, right?
If the patient doesn't book a call, then our humans in Tampa look at the notes that AI has made, provide some immediate coaching, and in less than 15 minutes...
You get an alert from our system to the office manager or the call center manager saying:
"Hey, you lost $10,500. What will you do about that?"
And along with that alert, we send a couple of training videos.
It could be something like:
"Hey, you had a patient that was out of network. This is what you should have said in order to get them in."
- Or you had a patient who was very concerned with price, but we didn't offer them financing.
- Or you had a patient who needed Invisalign, but you had no idea what that was.
And now the offices have the second opportunity to make that first impression.
Now you can go back to the patient and say:
"Sorry, you called us earlier. We forgot to give you information about XYZ. You can come on in, and we'll help you."
And that's how you recover revenue.
4. Train Your Team
All of us need coaches. All of us need help in whatever we're doing in life, business or personal.
And we are passionate about training team members in real-time on how to address some of the needed soft skills.
No patient knows how good of a dentist you are, but they know how you make them feel, right?
If you make them feel that they can trust you, then you have won the bet.
So you have to train your team members to earn the patient's trust while on the phone in the shortest period of time.
What Are The Other AI Trends in Dentistry? How Can DSOS Take Advantage of That?
There is a tremendous amount of computer vision AI right now.
Companies like Coral are doing a fantastic job diagnosing treatment, which is huge.
There’s a massive opportunity for diagnosing treatment steps. AI is going to make a significant impact on that.
AI is making an impact on marketing as well. By analyzing and predicting which campaigns perform better, for example.
When computers start passing Turing Tests, we will see virtual receptionists answering calls and doing things that will let your teams spend more time with their patients.
AI is not about spending less time with your patients or displacing humans. Humans need to be doing stuff with other humans, and AI needs to do things in the background.
In the next five years, we'll see almost a hundred percent of practices use some sort of AI to help optimize their business.
That’ll enable them to spend more time with their patients, earning their trust and getting them to the proper health.
Patient Prism’s promise of AI is to analyze a conversation accurately within 10 minutes of missing the patient, missing the appointment, and taking corrective action.
We are the only company in the world today that delivered this full promise of AI.
We deliver actionable steps for dental practices to recover lost opportunities, improving their staff’s skills at selling and handling calls simultaneously.
How valuable would that be to your practice?