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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.

Note: This article describes a previous version of Patient Prism. You can read about the latest version of Patient Prism, V3, here.

February 2022 --Chris Sands of Pro-FI 20/20 Dental CPAs interviews Amol Nirgudkar, co-founder and CEO of Patient Prism, to discuss challenges facing dental practice owners and managers today. In this video segment, they discuss the obstacles that get in the way of converting callers to booked new patients, and how the Patient Prism AI platform removes those obstacles.




Are you failing to convert new patients who call?


In this video blog (part two in our “2021-2022 Challenges in Dentistry” series), Sands and Nirgudkar continue to discuss the challenges of meeting patients where they are and quickly addressing what is important to them. Without understanding what is happening, what is at stake, and what to do, it is impossible for dental practices to thrive in today’s world. The cost of new patient acquisition is just too high if callers are falling out of the funnel before booking an appointment. Conversion optimization is a must.


What gets in the way of new patients making appointments?

“Access to care is super important,” says Nirgudkar. “Most Americans have not seen a dentist. There's cost, there's lack of insurance, there are COVID concerns that are ending now, dental anxiety, and much more. Why do I say this? Because I think we, as dentistry, need to do a better job of helping people understand the importance of dental care, and we need to do a better job of convincing them it is affordable. If they don’t take care of themselves, problems worsen in the mouth. Waiting only costs them more. We need to improve the patient journey.”

The patient journey begins with want Nirgudkar calls the marketing funnel. When a prospective new patient calls, does the patient go through the funnel and come out successfully? Or does the patient fall out of the funnel before going through?

“What does ‘coming out of the marketing funnel successfully’ mean?” asks Nirgudkar. “It means that they have accepted the treatment they need, they have had the treatment, they have paid for the treatment, and they have referred friends and family. That’s success. We want to make sure that every time we touch the dental patient, whether it’s our website, ads, through our phones, or human interaction, that experience is absolutely perfect. If it’s not perfect, the patient is going to stop right in their tracks and not move forward.”


One of the things DSOs have figured out well is the patient journey

“They know exactly what a patient searched for, where the patient landed, the reviews they saw, the ad they saw, the video they looked at, when that person called, how the call was answered, whether an appointment was booked, whether the patient showed up, how they were welcomed into the practice by the front desk and the dental assistant, how they were handed off from the hygienist to the doctor and from the doctor to treatment coordinator, whether treatment was scheduled, what clues the patient gave about any concerns, and so on,” says Nirgudkar.


You don’t need to be a large organization to have visibility into the entire patient journey

Nirgudkar relates a number of common attrition problems that Patient Prism can shine a light on for dental practices and groups of any size.

When a practice knows they are good at attracting patients because the phone rings frequently but not many are scheduled, the marketing could be attracting the wrong types of patients. Alternatively, phone receptionists could be failing to convert callers to scheduled appointments because the receptionists need motivation and training. A third type of problem is scheduling new patients that don't show up. A fourth problem is seeing new patients for a first appointment, recommending treatment, and then failing to schedule that treatment. 

Do you know how frequently these issues are occurring in your practice? Patient Prism gets to the bottom of these issues rapidly by automating the appropriate metrics.

“What does it cost to make the phone ring? What happens afterwards?" asks Amol Nirgudkar. "Have a document that maps that all out. You’ve got to be able to measure and manage the process and move forward solving each type of problem."

Sands says he speaks to Pro-Fi 20/20’s dental practice owners about the cost of customer acquisition but he doesn’t think they take it seriously enough. He says, “They don't understand the value of knowing that cost.”

“You want to be able to pull the lever and turn the cost up and down, depending on how good the month is going,” says Nirgudkar. “You want to make this into a science. You want to know exactly what lever to pull where, so that you can drive the right customer into the right chair at the right time and follow this through the entire patient journey. You must completely get that from beginning to end. When you get that, you're going to succeed. Obviously, you need to deploy analytics but the moment you have visibility into this stuff, you're going to do really well.”


AI comes in to save the day by automating data collection and alerting you with analytics


Patient Prism is AI technology that does natural language processing to understand what humans are talking about over the phone. Based on over eight million new dental patients calls to date, Patient Prism’s platform is the only technology that interprets and reports the intelligence dental practices need at a deep level, and Patient Prism does this extraordinarily fast.

“When we started Patient Prism, I wondered if we could train Alexa to understand dentistry and tell us why our dental marketing clients’ leads were dropping out of the funnel during their first phone call,” says Nirgudkar. “Three years and five patents later, we realize that we have built the world’s first deep AI system that really understands dental conversation.”


Patient Prism understands why a new patient calls an office but does not move forward with an appointment.

  • Maybe the call went to voicemail.
  • Maybe the call was on hold too long.
  • Maybe the front desk is not well informed about the dentistry the patient thinks he or she needs so there was an immediate lack of trust.
  • Maybe the receptionist was in such a hurry that the caller was offended or thought, “They don’t really want me for a patient.”
  • Maybe an appointment was not available until next month.
  • Maybe the receptionist mishandled the caller’s concern about the cost of implants.
  • Maybe the receptionist did not assure the caller that they could evaluate the caller’s insurance benefits and maximize them.
  • Maybe the receptionist dismissed signs that the caller was really concerned about something that threw up a roadblock.


Patient Prism tracks specifics. For example, if the caller mentioned a crown or implants and the caller has no insurance, did the receptionist offer financing?

“Patient Prism’s machine models are so accurate that we know up to 30% of these callers can be recovered as your new patients -- if you know what to say to them on a call back and if you do it within an hour to a day,” says Nirgudkar.


Patient Prism provides fast feedback. Patient Prism has the ability to tell you within 15 minutes why you lost a lead, and it coaches you in how to recover that lead. You might be coached to call back and say something as simple as, "I am so sorry I was in a rush when you called. I just had too many people trying to get my attention at the same time. I want you to know that we would like to have you as a patient, and I have time to talk about your needs now if you have time now. I really do care.”


Patient Prism also evaluates the value of each lost and won lead based on the conversation and the dental practice’s own fee schedule. Lost and earned revenues are just two of many metrics Patient Prism tracks to provide insights into a dental practice’s business potential. Knowing the value of a lost lead, not just from the perspective of marketing cost but also from the perspective of potential increased revenue, motivates dental practices to do those call back calls.


How many lost opportunities could you recover when your practice calls back callers who did not schedule an appointment?

Nirgudkar answers this question, "Mondays are very busy for dental practices receiving new patient calls. As of yesterday, a Monday, our median RELO (re-engage lost opportunity) alert was sent within 12 minutes. There's no company on the planet today that comes even remotely close within a few hours. Some of those people you call back actually come back. Our ratio right now is 30%. It's a big number. Now you are not spending any more money on marketing and have acquired 30% of people you lost only by understanding what went wrong and the following back with them very quickly. We want to give you that second chance to make the first impression and that's the power of AI to do it at speed and do it accurately.”


Staff training is more than automated – “It’s served on a silver platter”


Front desk teams do accept and readily adapt to Patient Prism because it makes them more successful. It fosters confidence as they grow in competence and efficiency. They are excited to see the metrics and energized to compete for a higher patient acquisition percentage. It’s good for the business and good for them.

“Since COVID there has been staff turnover and I see Patient Prism accelerating the training of new front office workers,” says Sands.

“It’s not difficult because we put it on a platter for you,” says Nirgudkar. 

Patient Prism's client success team provides initial training, and the Patient Prism platform continuously provides the information you need. Alerts from Patient Prism contain the AI information and additional feedback from our live call coaches in Tampa -- with links to short video tips. That’s all that is needed to automate learning and reinforce that learning until it is second nature.


Watch Part 3 of this 5-part interview >>


A free guide for your team to reduce broken appointments on the phone.

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