Finding Efficiency in Delivering Patient Care with Cory Pinegar

Efficiency doesn’t mean sacrificing patient experience. In this episode, we chat with Cory Pinegar from Reach to learn how practices can boost efficiency in delivering patient care.

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Alec Goldman (00:01.774)
Welcome back to How I Grew My Practice, a 15-minute podcast sponsored by NexHealth. My name's Alec. I am joined today by Cory Pinegar, founder, CEO, and as he would put it, trash man of Reach. He's here to talk today about finding efficiency in delivering patient care. Cory, how are you? Good to see you.
Alec Goldman (00:25.390)
Cory, please for the folks who don't know you and your incredible backstory, if you don't mind just giving us a couple seconds, minutes on who you are and how you kind of got to the point of where you are with Reach.
Cory Pinegar (00:25.525)
Good, thanks for having me on.
Cory Pinegar (00:38.705)
Yeah, so in one word, lucky is the, or fortunate is the right word. But I, when I was at college was a very early employee at Weave when it was 50 to 60 team members. And in December of 2016, while Weave was going through a downsizing of 30 to 40% of their staff at the request of their venture capital fund, I got the opportunity with my partner, Casey Henson,
Cory Pinegar (01:08.629)
a small division within Weave. It was called Recall Solutions. And doing about 250k a year, 200k at that point for team members and Brandon and Jared Rodman, who were the founders of Weave, sold it to us for a dollar. No strings attached, no residual equity, but just got the setup of the lifetime. And I think the most important note is I went to my dad when we got the opportunity.
And I was like, dad, listen to this. We can buy a re-care scheduling company for a dollar. And I really respect my dad in business and life. And he's like, this is the worst idea I've ever heard. And so every day for the last six and a half years since then, I've worked to prove him wrong. And we've been really lucky. We've grown to a couple thousand practices, a couple hundred team members. And our goal is to provide seamless services that gives dentists more peace of mind.
less stress and responsibility at the front desk, and also better healthcare. We believe if we do those three as a brand, our company, our financial growth, our results will be taken care of by focusing on the practices, front desk staff, and patients.
Alec Goldman (02:22.766)
Cool. I mean, that is the first time you told me that was one of the most remarkable stories I've heard about how somebody has kind of taken ownership of a company. But just for some of the viewers who may not know enough about Reach, can you give us a little bit of background on just the service that Reach is providing to those thousands of practices across the country?
Cory Pinegar (02:43.869)
Yeah, really good question. So there's three services that we provide below it all. What we're focused on is helping practices run more efficiently. So number one, we have an answering service or a scheduling service. The data behind that is 32% of all phone calls that go to a dental practice go unanswered. And the myth behind this that I just wanna talk about before we hop into greater detail.
is most people are like, oh, I need an after hours answering service or I need a 24 seven 365. We're open Saturdays and Sundays. We're open till 10pm. I can promise you, you before you need to go after hours need to look at those busy times during the day where your staff doesn't have the capacity to answer all of those inbound phone calls when you're doing your morning huddle.
People are often driving to work. That's when they think, oh, I gotta take care of that root canal, or I need my six month hygiene cleaning. And so during that eight to nine 30 window, phone calls are missed at a rampant rate. During the lunch hour, when staff is at reduced capacity, patients actually call in at a higher capacity. And then at the end of the day, that three 30 to five 30 period where people are wrapping up, picking up their kids from school, calls come in at a higher rate, but practices are wrapping.
up their day. And so what's so fascinating is these dental practices, which really are small businesses at the end of the day are built to handle the inverse of capacity. People are just getting started in their day when they're most busy. And that's not the dental practices problem to solve, where it's like, Oh, our front desk, yes, he just needs to pick up the phone call more. That's not realistic is how do we build systems that help these practices run more efficiently?
so that the front desk team member's not doing 20 things and that patients are actually getting taken care of. The worst is when you go into a medical practice, the front desk is on the phone and they give you the finger of, I'll be with you in five to 10 minutes. And so we wanted to build something. And I think NexHealth does this equally or better than we do of, how do we help them run more efficiently by taking a lot of the mundane tasks out of the day to day to allow them to focus on patient interaction.
and relationships. So that's number one. Number two, what we do is we do overdue patient recall. That's actually the genesis of the brand that we bought from Weave, which was called Recall Solutions. 56% of all active patients within a practice management software are overdue. And so we take that list from five to 7.30 at night when people are home and available to schedule, and we call and say, hey, Dr. Smith noticed that you were
you know, unscheduled. And he was concerned and wanted to get you back on the schedule. I've got some upcoming times this Friday or next Monday when works best for you. And then finally, we do the insurance verification component. All of us know darn well that you can call Delta Dental and you can wait 45 minutes before you even speak to a rep. And so all of these things are extremely time-consuming. And the latter two can often fall on the back.
burner, when you're wrapping up your day and you have 10 free minutes, the last thing a staff member wants to do is go print the retail report and to begin calling on it. And so that's why, you know, we've been really excited about our upcoming partnership with NexHealth, because it allows us to focus on the impacts that are best while also allowing NexHealth to come in and take out the mundane tasks that are most cost effective to be dealt with through automation and software. So
really excited about what we're doing together here and also just explaining a little bit more about what we do at Reach.
Alec Goldman (06:39.594)
Nice, Cory. Um, so if you don't mind taking just a step back from, you know, how you've been running this business for a number of years, specifically in 2023, how have the challenges of practices that you've been working with, how have those change relative to that of 2022?
Cory Pinegar (07:00.501)
So 2022 for us and even elements of 2021 were purely focused on staffing shortages and increasing rates of the cost of office managers, dentists, inflation was beginning to push up and retention was an issue. And to the single location practice, I still think staffing or being understaffed is the most relevant issue today.
From my view, and I get to sit in a really unique seat where I get to talk to small dental practices every week and your largest five DSOs in the country, I am beginning to notice a shift where the economy is beginning to take a change and also the cost of debt is becoming different. So I think over this year, what I would be aware of is, okay, how do I get staffed? Not only because I'm understaffed.
But then how do I run my practice as efficiently as possible so that I can be producing the cashflow I need to weather any storm? And so I think what we do at Reach really focuses in on that, where if your marketing dollars and your goodwill is creating calls, can we be answering those? Can we be scheduling those? But my very honest perception of reality over the next 12 months,
is efficiency is becoming the name of game at the largest practices in the country. And I think that's gonna trickle through to the rest of dental practices.
Alec Goldman (08:32.002)
Yeah, we hear the same thing at NexHealth, just like the number of practices who are worried, just really about the topic of labor and finding great help. So I guess my question here, Cory, is it makes reach sound almost obvious, but what is the common pushback that you hear with practices who say we're not actually interested? Why wouldn't they be interested in something that scales with demand as patients are calling or not calling?
Cory Pinegar (09:03.881)
This is a great question and very accurate because turning over the driver's seat, the driver's wheel to other people to handle interactions with patients is scary. And so many of us, including myself, have called MasterCard or Visa or a call center where you have a really crappy experience, to put it lightly. And so for us, we're consistently focused on
creating the perception and also the operational reality that people can have a delightful experience Rolling through a systemized and scalable system But most people when they think of a call center or an after-hours service think of someone saying great. I'll take a message Maybe they'll call you back tomorrow and it really doesn't provide value. And so our Common objection is I'd like the idea conceptually
But are my patients gonna be treated well? Or is it better for me to send them to voicemail and call them back myself? For me, the only way that we actually overcome that is through consistent success stories.
Alec Goldman (10:11.650)
That makes sense. I think there's also just the stat that you shared before that 32% of dental calls do not get picked up. I think there's also just the element of empathy for patients who don't have time during their day to make a phone call for an important, whether it's a cleaning or an implant or an extraction, whatever it may be. So providing options to make sure that a phone call is going to be picked up after hours is super important. And obviously, as the NexHealth are here.
Alec Goldman (10:40.758)
providing an option that they could do it themselves is extremely important. Um, so I guess outside of just like the, perhaps making the appointment, if you can give us a little bit more on the insurance verification before implementing reach at an office, how much time are practices spending doing things in regards to claims and insurance? Like just to share that with the listener, like how painful of a process is that for practices?
Cory Pinegar (11:10.273)
So we don't do anything with claims, so I couldn't profess to know enough data to talk about it. But with regards to insurance, the crazy thing is every insurance company is also different. Some brands or some insurance companies, to get the relevant information, you know that you need to call. And as soon as you ask about two or three patients, they make you hang up and call back again. Some of them...
have great online portals where you can access all of the relevant information. And so by state, it varies because Blue Cross Blue Shield of Colorado is different than Blue Cross Blue Shield in another state. And so it is such a fragmented system that is built to, in my opinion, be as least helpful as possible to the dentist, because they know if you don't have time to call in,
and you don't verify a level of insurance, they're going to have to pay out less claim dollars. And so it takes a long time to reach a rep. Some of the companies are beginning to transform the level of information that they provide online. Our goal at Reach is to be that last mile of work. If you can get the information online that you need to mark the eligibility and know the needed information to properly serve the patient.
That's the right option. And if I'm looking, I would say 24 to 36 months ahead, there will be a software company eventually who begins to solve the insurance verification game. Where we want to win as a group is there's still what I would call the Amazon delivery last mile. Software can get it so far, but someone's still got to take it to your doorstep and ring that doorbell. We want to do that last mile or that grunt
work level where you're like, that could be 35 minutes. How can we through our systems be more efficient? And so we provide dedicated team members who know your practice management software, they work off your forms, and we're really there to do that last mile and heavy lift of work so that patients can get better and more access to healthcare. And that staff aren't busy for 45 minutes on hold instead of engaging with patients as they should be.
or missing inbound phone calls.
Alec Goldman (13:34.402)
Right, so then it shifts back the focus to, I think the thing that matters most, which is A, getting patients indoor and making sure that they have somebody in the office really spending time with them and caring for them. What was really interesting about how you guys are, from a macro level, you're working with so many practices, you see so many of the small use cases pending different types of insurance. It kind of was the realization of, wow, they must know all of the secret sauce of what it means to have the right etiquette.
of scheduling on the phone or what it means to be handling with each of these insurance companies if you for, you know, kind of for our listeners here, what are like, can you give us what, what is the ideal call script to get somebody booked? Like what does it mean to make sure that you can provide care at scale for all different types of practices? Like how has reached effectively done that?
Cory Pinegar (14:30.645)
So this is a great question and we are not the experts here. What do we want over time to become the experts and how to schedule new and existing patients, how to deal with insurance companies? Yes, but anyone who claims to be an expert in my eyes is not. It's the evolution of we want to continue to learn and improve every day. My actual feedback is scripting does not work very well. It's about creating guardrails and training.
and then being authentic within that framework. But you can call a practice and they could go, thanks for calling Sunny Smiles, how can I help you? And you don't express, they're saying all the right things, but you don't sense them. The human being that you wanna connect with, because you're about to go in and have your mouth open for an hour and a half while you get drilled on for a crown. You want that idea that this is a safe space who understands me.
And so every practice is different and you have to define what does success look like? What do we want our interactions to finish? And then you've got to provide that training and framework. And then you actually have to get out of the way for allow staff to sound authentic through that. So it's more of training and accountability and process scripting in my eyes fails at scale.
Alec Goldman (15:55.190)
Makes all the sense in the world. Last question, I know we're coming up at time, we're just at the 15 minute mark. But I think what's really cool about Reach is providing a service that is people serving other people. There's tons of providers out there that are providing a software that helps improve patient care, similar to NexHealth. How does your team work with all of these different softwares? How do you kind of implement and go into an environment where not...
intruding, but you're actually working side by side with all this different software.
Cory Pinegar (16:29.097)
lot of training, a lot of division of teams, and then we have to access different software in different ways. And so, you know, below the scene, I'd love to profess that we've got incredibly sexy technology that integrates it and makes it all happen, but there's different ways. There's some practice management softwares we still need to remote access to this point.
And so it is about building something at scale. And my hope is over the next 12 to 24 months, we can provide a part, a provider that allows us to centralize a lot of that, which I think is possible, but to be honest and vulnerable as, as much as people can on the outside, look at a business and say, wow, it's grown to be successful below and on the inside every day is about making it work. And sometimes we have to duct tape things together as a business. And sometimes we can concrete.
and really fix things for years to come. But we're a brand that's evolving every single day and our goal and me as a business owner is to be honest and say, we're not a perfectly sexy engine on the inside. We just are in the pursuit of perfection, which we know is unobtainable, but we wanna see ourselves win an inch or a foot most days or most weeks.
Alec Goldman (17:40.366)
I think this is a lot about yourself, but really about the culture you're building, setting up a team who is innately curious to figuring out and being willing to do the duct tape to figure out what actually scales. Last question for you, Cory, what are your last thoughts on just optimizing scheduling, delivering a little bit more efficient care in a market that we're just seeing some pain with in regards to labor?
Cory Pinegar (18:08.189)
Yeah, I think every practice needs to take that strategy session where they look at themselves as a funnel and the top of the funnel is marketing. The very bottom of the funnel is revenue and production being completed within the practice. And then you need to look at where is there cracks in my hose or my funnel? Because everyone's different. Some could have ineffective marketing. Some could not have enough front desk. Some could not have enough providers to schedule for. Or providers who are not administering.
and completing enough treatment. But as I believe efficiency will become the name of the game for the next 12 to 24 months, take that full step back out of the day to day, be honest about where your practice is, isolate your problems, and then begin to putting together a plan where you can solve that. Whether it's duct tape in the short term and concrete in the long term, acknowledging where you are honestly allows you to move forward better and is less stressful.
Alec Goldman (19:05.360)
Thank you for joining the show today. I know we got a whole lot in and I know our audience learned a lot about reach and really what it means to deliver more efficient care. We'll definitely be in touch. Thanks, Corey.
Cory Pinegar (19:07.722)
Thank you.
Cory Pinegar (19:17.641)
Thanks everyone.
Enlive will officially sunset in

In this podcast episode, Alec Goldman interviews Cory Pinegar, founder and CEO of Reach to discuss how to find efficiency in delivering patient care and what types of technology practices today should leverage to achieve that efficiency.

Patients Need Better Access

Cory Pinegar explains that insurance verification is a time-consuming and fragmented process that varies depending on the insurance company and the state. Some insurance companies have great online portals, while others require a phone call, which can take a long time to reach a representative. The goal of Reach is to provide dedicated team members who know the practice management software, work off the forms, and do the last mile and heavy lifting of work so that patients can get better and more access to healthcare.

Delivering Quality Service Even During Off Hours

One of the issues discussed was the difficulty in providing quality service after hours or on weekends when the office may be closed. Pinegar emphasized the importance of being able to offer patients an option to speak to someone and make an appointment when they are available. NexHealth’s 24/7 online booking empowers practices to get new appointments booked online even over the weekend. This also gives patients more flexibility to book at a time that works for them. Your team achieves better efficiency while providing patients with more convenience. 

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