Why Dental Practices Should Be Leveraging AI to Improve Profits

January 25, 2022

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Find yourself confused about all the hype around Artificial Intelligence (AI)? You may be missing out on opportunities to increase revenue and improve profits.Although terms such as AI, Big Data, and Data Management are widely used, they can be hard to discern and even harder to understand the relevance to your dental business. But in today's challenging business environment, as dental practice owners continue to fight for profitability, it's essential to know how AI can improve profits. Luckily for you, we're here to help.Read until the end, and you'll walk away with not only a better understanding of AI but how you can implement AI into your dental practice to increase revenue through qualified leads and improve profits through streamlined, digitized procurement.Now, let's get to the good stuff.

Understanding AI

AI: Artificial Intelligence. For many of us, the term still conjures up movies starring Will Smith, or, depending on your vintage, maybe even Keanu Reeves. But the once seemingly out of this world tech is now out of its infancy and has reached the mainstream. Although it's not quite yet at the level depicted in movies, it is helping companies everywhere leverage business intelligence to drive results-oriented decision-making.Before moving on to what it can do for you, let's clarify what exactly AI is.Essentially, AI is computers mimicking human intelligence. Or, as Forbes so perfectly states, "In the most simplistic terms, AI is the computer simulation of human intelligence in machines that is programmed to think like humans and mimic human actions. A typical AI analyzes its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success."But if all it does is think like humans, then why not just have humans do the thinking? Well, because the aptly named tech can perform analysis at a level and speed not capable of humans.

How Dental Practices Can Use AI

Sounds great, but how exactly does any of this lead to optimizing revenue and profits for your dental practice? Although you spend most of your time and efforts running the day-to-day of your dental practice and ensuring your patients receive the highest level of service you can provide, your practice is still a business.Scaling that business profitably not only requires reaching your "audience" (clients and potential clients) in perhaps new, more effective ways but implementing the kind of best practices and streamlined workflows that allow for an efficiently run dental practice. Let's take a look at how AI can help you do just that.

Data Management

If you're looking to scale, offer more services, or even better serve your clients, AI can help.Although you may not realize it, your dental practice generates a lot of data. AI helps you better aggregate, analyze and use that data so you can work smarter, not harder, and better serve your customers while improving efficiencies.

Better Serve Your Customers

By training AI to meet your needs, you can streamline your workflow by using voice commands to retrieve what you need while you continue to multitask and take care of your patient. For example, instead of having your employees hunt for the image you need, you can use voice commands, and AI-enhanced imaging machines will immediately provide you with exactly what you're looking for. Need to see that last X-ray? Just say, "Show me the last X-ray for patient X."When deployed along with machine learning (a subset of AI where the machines learn to learn), AI can be used to identify patterns and predict possible occurrences like diseases, lesions, or infections. At the front end of the house, AI can help you send patient reminders and book appointments while your staff stays busy taking care of the patients you have in-house.

Improve Efficiencies

The success of your dental practice is heavily dependent on how effectively it is run, but dentists are often busy taking care of patients and aren't necessarily innately business-minded. AI-based dental software such as Method Technologies can assist you in implementing streamlined processes and drive better business making by leveraging data.Method's data-focused analytics provide the information you need to navigate the many challenges that beset your operation. AI-driven dental practice analytics can help you gain a more accurate idea of how you're doing and identify opportunities for improvement.

Marketing Campaigns

How often your patients come in for services, what patients are electing for higher-cost services, where they live, and who they are— you're likely sitting on a goldmine of data that could help you level up your practice. Perhaps there are new services you could be providing or a new patient base you could be targeting. Or maybe you want your practice to spend more time doing certain high-value procedures?AI can help you track and analyze practice data that can be utilized to drive more targeted and effective marketing campaigns so you can gain high-value patients and scale strategically. If you're looking to place automated placement ads, AI can ensure you're using the right platforms to attract the type of business and patients you want.If used to its potential, AI has the power to transform your dental practice and reach your growth targets by identifying new prospective patients consistent with the traits you're looking for. This allows you to run laser-focused ads that offer deals or bring attention to services you're looking to grow.

Chat Systems

From ordering your favorite pizza to walking you through a complex B2B purchase, chatbots are at the frontlines of AI. Empowered with natural language processing (the ability to analyze and generate human speech), chatbots automatically engage and respond to received messages. They can be built to respond based on keywords received and can continue to respond the same way each time, or, with machine learning, they can adapt their response to fit a unique situation.Each and every day, your front office staff receive a lot of inquiries they must quickly respond to, whether it be through your website or social media channels. Although answering inquiries is imperative to maintaining service levels and growth, this can be time-consuming and takes your dental staff's attention away from their other tasks. Luckily, you can now program chatbots to assist with your day-to-day communication with new and existing patients.Although traditional chatbots build leads and nurture sales prospects and can understand a set of pre-programmed commands, thanks to their machine learning, they can continue to improve based on inputs. So as they experience new situations, the smarter they get, and the better they respond to a patient's specific needs. This makes them well suited for a wide range of uses, including being able to analyze sentiment and predict what website visitors are looking for.For example, if a patient logs onto your website and sends a message inquiring about tooth extraction, your chatbot can reply with pricing as well as describe the service and process. Best yet, it can then prompt the potential patient to either ask further questions or go ahead and book an appointment.Also, unlike an employee, the software is programmed to respond immediately and can handle more than one inquiry at a time. So, not only does using a dental chatbot alleviate your employees, but it quickens your response time and can lead to more bookings!

Workflows

Coupled with automation, AI can help increase efficiencies through streamlined workflows, delivering reduced labor costs and higher accuracy rates while your employees focus on providing optimal patient care.Automation such as Method's ability to quickly turn Request For Quotes (RFQs) into order requests and Purchase Orders (POs) can help save valuable time while reducing the types of human errors that could damage your profitability. Features such as predictive text can help speed up tasks that remain manual.Workflows that involve different departments or employees often stagnate. AI can help keep the work flowing with push notifications and reminders. Approval processes can be monitored electronically to ensure adherence to company practice.Best practices such as the three-way-match process, segregation of duties, and monitoring spend against budget can be easily implemented and automated, safeguarding your practice from harm and keeping an eye on its dollars.AI can also help make light work of ensuring regulatory compliance, validating documentation and monitoring for expiry dates, and providing warnings before documents expire.Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a valuable tool in monitoring the performance of your dental practice. However, they often go underutilized as dental practitioners or their employees simply do not have the time or ability to monitor progress. AI can help, allowing you to effortlessly monitor the areas of your business that are vital to your long-term objectives, ensuring you stay on track and meet your goals.

Procurement

When it comes to the purchasing of your dental supplies and services, AI can empower critical decision-making and provide you with the data you need to level up to more strategic procurement.

  • Quickly and easily compare current pricing and availability for every item you purchase across vendors, so you can make the right buying decision each and every time.
  • Analyze dental supply purchasing patterns for improvement opportunities so you can save by taking advantage of volume discounts or improve cash flow by aggregating orders.
  • See what you purchase, how much you spend, and with who, so you can strategically shift purchasing volumes to suppliers of choice and create a competitive supplier landscape that ensures continued long-term savings and favorable service.
  • Save both time and costly mistakes by utilizing inventory management software that makes the day-to-day management of your dental supplies less cumbersome and error-prone.
  • Implement an intuitive ordering system that monitors stock levels and triggers you to order, ensuring you order what you need when you need it and never risk running out of critical supplies.
  • Monitor open orders and receive a warning if delayed so you can react before disruptions impede your production.

How to Implement AI into Your Dental Practice

Today, AI is providing dental practices with an opportunity to better target their patients, improve processes and profit margins and deliver more personalized patient experiences, and all with scalability.If you're looking for growth, AI may be your secret weapon, allowing you to move away from a reactive mode where all efforts are spent fighting fires and dealing with the day-to-day of servicing clients. Instead, leverage AI to get to the root of the problems and stop them from reoccurring so you— and your employees— can move on to more forward-facing actions.You'll want to avoid implementing AI simply because it's trendy. First, take a few moments to ask a few important questions before gearing up for AI:

  • Take the time to understand where AI can help you most. What business problem can AI help you solve?
  • Do you have a goal for your dental practice that AI can help you reach?
  • How are your employees doing? Will AI help them do their jobs better and relieve them of some pain points?
  • How are your dental supplies doing? Are you happy with how your supplies and purchases are being managed? Are you worried you're paying too much?
  • Are you retaining patients? Are there ways AI can help you improve your patient experience?
  • If you're looking to scale, can you find competitive advantage through AI?

Lastly, it's important to know your business priorities and be realistic when it comes to implementing new technologies. Make sure you align yourself with the right partners who understand the realities of your dental practice and will be "hands-on" when it comes to implementation and training. The last thing you want is someone who passes you a manual and leaves you to be on your merry way.If improving profits is one of your business priorities, then Method Procurement Technologies can help get you there. Our AI analytics can help you buy smarter and faster, so you can scale profitably. See how Method Works.Ready for a Demo? Request a Personalized Demo That Suits Your Dental Practice's Needs.

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