Webinar: State of Dental Live: How Elite Practices Grow 20% Every Year

Hear from two of the Elite Practices on how to engage your patients, retain your staff, and grow more than 20% every year.

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Pleasure to meet everyone. Thank you for joining us today. My name is Dane. I lead marketing at Nexel and we are here to discuss the state of dental live. So super excited about this topic. We have a great group of guests today. We have Dr. Hosseini who leads and is the owner of Arrieta Dental. He's been practicing for more than 10 years. I love Dr. Hosseini's story. He's really focused at a dental office out of Illinois, but focused on providing what he's called a space age experience for his patients, really thinking about offering the best technology and the most advanced experience for each of his patients. And our other guest today joining us is Ashley, who's the co-owner and office manager of Lone Star Smiles. So this is a newer dental practice, based out of, you might not be surprised, Texas. Welcome Ashley, and thank you for joining us as well. I'm excited to have her share her experiences on growing and building the practice.

So our format for today, we're going to open it up to Q&A. I want to hear a lot from Dr. Hosseini and Ashley. But before we do that, I just want to give a little bit of background on the report and talk about some of the topics that we are going to focus on today for our session for Stay At Dental Live. So in December last year, we had wanted to do this survey, answer this question about how technology and practices are really thinking through the patient experience. And it's been amazing at Nextel. We were trying to answer this, and we were doing a lot of research to find out who's done this before. And we couldn't come up with any great data on how patients and practices wanna adopt technology to think about that patient experience. So we actually went out and decided to do the data ourselves. We spoke with more than 500 dental professionals. You can see the breakdown here. And we actually got people from every single state represented, including Canada as well, to help inform this report. And looking at the data, one thing that really kind of came out was this idea of looking at elite practices and what are they doing differently and kind of the rest of dental practices. And about 62% of our respondents fall into the elite category. And how we're defining an elite practice is a practice that is growing or grew their revenue in 2022 by more than 20%. So we looked at the practices that are growing the revenue at really high margins, kind of outliers to the rest. We started asking, okay, what are they doing looking at the data differently? 

And both Dr. Hosseini and Ashley are both from elite practices. So really lucky to have them here, both to kind of share the feedback and the insights behind some of the data we saw in the report. And there was five main themes that we saw really come out for what elite practices do differently. First of all, they hate cancellations. And I'm sure everyone on this call is like, we all hate cancellations. That's not a big surprise. But what I love about elite practices and what they do is they're really at war against cancellations. And they're taking all these different steps to remove the impact of cancellations on their revenue for their business.
The second thing they do is they maximize the number of patients they see every day. So this comes into thinking about how many new patients are bringing into their office, but also how do they think about re-care, marketing campaigns, strategies to bring existing patients back so they make sure that they're bringing a high volume of patients in every single day. The third thing we saw from lead practices is they look at Silicon Valley metrics. And I put these in quotes as these can be a lot of different things, a lot of different people.
But it was really interesting just hearing and talking, having conversations with lead practices, some of the unique metrics that they do to judge the health of their business. And so we're not gonna actually dive in deeply into this report, but when we come back, if you're interested in this, you can email me at dane at nexthealth.com. Happy to share some examples of some different metrics that you may not be judging your practice with that we saw a lot of lead practices adopt. The fourth thing that really jumped out was the use of technology, particularly thinking about how they can use technology to augment the staff experience. One of the themes we'll talk about at the end today is how important it is to retaining your staff and making sure your staff feels empowered. So there's lots of ways you can use technology to free up staff time, to really focus on the patient. And that continuity of the staff actually translates and make a big difference on how these lead practices grew their revenue. And then the fifth and final topic was really thinking about using technology to automate so many manual processes to create a consistent patient experience. Every patient experience across each touch point should be excellent. And you can use technology in a lot of ways to make sure you're delivering a consistently excellent patient experience. So we're gonna really kind of dive into those. So that's a little bit of an outline for our discussion today. The way we're gonna do this is I'm gonna share a little bit of data from each of the report related to one of these topics and I'll open it up for discussion. So let's kick off. By the way, if you have questions as we go along, please ask questions in the chat. There should be a chat box.
And we'll make sure we'll answer those kind of each section so we can make sure we're staying on topic. All right, so our first topic is cancellations. So the staff in the report that I think was really important to call out here was the fact that looking at lead practices, 79% of the lead practices had less than 10 cancellations a week. And we wanted to compare that against practices that actually saw negative revenue growth in 2022. And what we saw out of those negative revenue growth practices only 43% had 10 or less cancellations a week. So we see a big difference where most of the lead practices have basically figured out ways that they can really stop having a high cancellation volume. So wanted to kind of put that sad out there. And then I'd love to get Dr. Hosseini, your perspective first to kind of kick off our discussion. What are some of the ways that Arga at Densel has really sort of focused on how they reduce the number of cancellations you see each week. Well, thanks for that introduction, Dane. And as you mentioned, I agree that cancellations was one of the biggest reasons that I looked into NexHealth in the eight or nine years I've been in practice. That was a real sore spot for us. One thing, take a step back, why cancellations are so dreadful for this new generation of dental practice owners is that we are facing an increased reliance for our patients on being in their network. And they might've been coming from an out-of-network office that doesn't blink twice at a cancellation because they're covering their bottom line. Newer practice owners are gonna see that one or two cancellations can be devastating to the bottom line. And so I've always been on this mission against figuring out how to prevent these cancellations. So to answer your question, what I've been able to do is implement a very strict policy of a simple credit card on file.
If you wanna book time with us, we're happy to see you, but we need a little skin in the game. We need a little guarantee from you. Please leave your credit card on file when you wanna book the appointments. Now, the online platform makes that a lot easier to be automated and letting patients do that on their own. Very similar to how you book a hotel or you book an airline ticket. You need to put the money up front. You gotta put your card down before you book any kind of travel. Your dental appointment should be the same because we are running on really, really tough margins in this competitive market, especially post COVID. And there's some hesitation and pushback from employees. I remember before NexHealth, just simply having our front desk team handle this request on the phone to collect a credit card. They'd be very apologetic and scared or nervous. I see a lot of colleagues that asked for my advice on this too, very, very hesitant on asking for that information, but it's so crucial to get that commitment from the patient in the form of a credit card on file.

Someone who has no problem putting that information on file has every intention to show up to their appointment. And we found that anyone who is throwing a fuss, being a problem about providing that information for one reason or another, mostly indicates that they're being very liberal with making this appointment and not having the intent to actually show up. So that simple policy in my practice in the last three or four years has been absolutely critical in reducing our no-shows. I love that example. And you actually see a lot of parallels, perhaps a little bit ahead of the dental industry, but in the restaurant business. Open table, for example, their whole business is all changed when people, they start requiring, restaurants start requiring a credit card to reserve a table. So I think there's a consumer behavior where this isn't necessarily surprising and probably very effective, as you've seen, to reducing cancellation. So love that example.

Ashley, we'd love to hear from Lone Star as well. What have you done to think about reducing your cancellations? Well, I think the biggest thing that helped us with our cancellations was moving to the online booking system through NexHealth. I learned about patients who take the initiative to book their own appointments. They've already checked the schedule. They've checked their kids' schedule, they've checked their husband's schedule, they've checked to see what day they get paid. Since they've done all of that before they even made the appointment, and they have more of a responsibility by doing it themselves, kind of, I did it myself, now I'm gonna keep it. I feel like they are definitely less likely to cancel. And then on top of that, the reminder system through NexHealth has also helped us with cancellations. Sometimes you get busy and you forget, I've done it. I have kids, there's times that I get a text message that says, hey, you have an appointment in 15 minutes. And so since we can send out that notification, you know, up to an hour before their appointment, just sending that one last notification an hour before their appointment, I think has totally changed. Either they're gonna come in and they don't cancel the appointment, they decide to go ahead and come in, or they will give us the call and they'll reschedule it. 

I think we've actually got one question coming in. By the way, if you have any other questions for people attending, please drop them into the, there's a Q&A button here, please drop them into the Q&A button. We'll make sure that we'll get them. So the first question I got, do patients ever call to get around online booking? So imagine this is actually probably pretty common. Maybe Ashley, you can actually take this as someone that's often sitting in the front desk. Do patients call to get around online booking? If they're not going to book online, then they won't even visit the online site, right? So, um, if, if they're not going to do that originally, then, then they're not going to even start there. They're going to call us. Um, but the nice thing about having the online booking is it's not for every single patient we have. Right. Um, yes, that would be great. Um, especially because everyone wants to book everything online. I mean, I can order something on Amazon and have it here in three days. Like, why would I not want things like that?

But there is an older generation who does not like that. And that's okay. Um, but honestly, probably only about 20% of our schedule is filled by calls and the rest is filled by online booking. Um, so those ones that aren't going to do it, aren't going to ever do it. And you have to, you know, be willing to have those, those phone calls, but it does reduce the amount of calls we get because we're having 80% go online. And they're going right from our Facebook, they're going right from our social medias, they're going right from our Google. There's a link right there. They book as soon as they see us and they decide they wanna come in. And the ones who don't wanna do that are looking us up the old school way, are writing down our phone number from someone else and they're gonna call us. And it's just really freed up our front desk because now they're not getting calls all day long. It's not like a circuit board of calls. So the calls are a lot less. They spend more quality time on those calls.

But the online booking system works great and no one has ever called to go around doing that. Love that. All right, well, let's keep moving to our second topic. So that was great discussion. I wanna move into looking at appointment volume. This is something near and dear important to everyone's heart here. We asked part of the survey, the 500 dental professionals, what is your number one priority for your business in 2023? And 58% said increasing appointment volume. They wanna make sure that new patients are coming in and then also existing patients are returning to the office. Dr. Yassini, you've obviously seen a ton of growth. I'm curious how you think about this and kind of like maybe another way to answer is like, how do you think about your focus between bringing new patients in versus kind of the returning patients and kind of where your team's spending their energy?

So this kind of falls along with Ashley was saying perfectly. Your team is free after the burdens of handling phone calls for booking appointments. I remember just kind of monitoring the front desk in the beginning to kind of see what problems they were having and they could be spending up to 20 minutes on the phone, just simply collecting information and repeating group number and member ID numbers back to somebody. Getting your time back is a huge plus that allows your team to focus their attention on more quality things, such as following up on re-care lists that actually NexHealth also has a very good system for automating that as well. Following up on treatment plans. If we have a big case that we presented and we haven't heard back from the patient, my front desk administration is now free to follow up and ask the patient if they have any questions, if they'd like to book. This allows us to fill up our schedule with bigger cases that we wanna do.
I'm not consuming my time too much with, you know, the less sought after fillings and, you know, small dentistry, but more bigger treatments like implants and full mouth type cases. And this only happens because of the fact that my front desk is free to pursue those cases that we've presented.

Ashley, curious how you think through appointment volume as well and how you measure that. I know Dr. Seans obviously established practice over 10 years, but you just started a few years ago. So how did you kind of spin up and get this flywheel moving for your business? Yeah, well, just like you mentioned perfectly, the recall continuing care that we can access through NexHealth is amazing. So all we have to do is send a message to our patients and right there they can click on a link are available schedule for them to do their recall. So they're not having to call us and we're not having to call them to get them back into the office, which is incredible. But the other thing I've noticed is that people love same or next day appointments. So like Dr. was saying also is we fill our appointments, we try to fill our schedule with big appointments, things that are super important and then we can push out the things that are a little less important further down the road. However, now patients have the ability because we have a few spots in our schedule to book same day or next day treatment. And those patients always come in and are so impressed and so excited that they got to be seen so fast that they actually usually add treatment or add services. So then it's increasing our revenue and it's increasing the number of patients that we have because they will call or they'll look around. And as soon as they see that we're the soonest available appointment, they book us.
That's really interesting. I actually want to double click a little bit on that too. So you've really kind of like harnessing this thing from what I hear is like speed of response and ability to respond quickly to patients. And do you find that that's a core differentiation that separates you from other offices and practices in your geography? Yeah, I think that the funny thing is, is everything has moved to faster and everything has moved to more convenient except for scheduling medical appointments.

That makes absolutely no sense. Why are we the only people that are not allowing our patients to book online or to have access to our schedule and pick what works best for them? I can make a reservation at a restaurant. I can book a hotel online. I can book my hair appointment online. Every single patient that has seen that we have the ability to book them and to have a fast response and to instantly confirm appointments loves it.
It's like, oh, finally, you're with the times. You feel convenient for me, as my family. That's awesome. I want to add up to that because I agree 100% with Ashley. We are way behind in the times. Even though as individual practice owners, we might have the idea and the intention to do it, but we're being held back by the large industry software that we choose from. And unfortunately, the main culprit here is that the main systems have done a very poor job, natively allowing us these features that me and Ashley and so many other NexHealth users are enjoying right now. So to be able to find the way to implement these things, to bring our modern practices to the 21st century is such a big, big deal for me. And I can't tell you how many years I looked for a service that would allow me to bring on add-ons and features to an already working internally good but bring it to the outside world. The patient facing side is the part where the dental industry really, really has lacked for years and there's no end in sight. We just were at the Chicago midwinter meeting evaluating just out of curiosity what's out there. And again, very great stuff clinically but on the patient facing side, we have a lot to compete with our colleagues in medical. Yeah, very much so. I think that's a good comparison. We were also at that event and I feel like learned a lot of learnings there too.

I did get another question from the audience. Maybe Dr. Hosseinii, you might want to take this. How many appointments can a dentist or doctor actually handle per day when you're thinking about this? How do you balance that workload and keep that manageable for your team to kind of deliver that still exceptional care? Well, every provider is different and you need to see what not only the provider can handle, but your team. How many assistants do you have on staff that day? Can your team and your assistants support flipping those rooms and supporting you with that. It depends on how efficient and how experienced you are. So it's gonna be different for everyone. First, you have to know your own limits and then set goals and then maybe build from that. It took me many years to get to the schedule that I have right now. And by comparison to some of my friends, I still feel like I'm falling short. But compared to my own self, I'm only trying to break my own record. I'm not trying to compare to other people's offices. That's the most important advice I would say first.
Don't be overwhelmed by what people share on Facebook about, look, my 16 columns of hygiene. Don't be envious. That doesn't apply to you. Look, compare yourself and compete only with yourself. But knowing my own limits and what I can handle, I pushed myself and said, maybe I should do X amount more per week of this. By simply creating a block schedule and programming that into the automation, creating designated blocks of time based on average amount of appointment time that I'm familiar with, what my hygienist can handle and lining that up, setting those templates so that when someone goes, the user goes online to fill those appointments, it's just, it's already preset. They're just filling in the blanks for us. And that's really, that's the key that how I approach this. You have to build that to get there.

I think it's a great advice, blocking your schedule, building a template, and also being real in terms of what you can deliver yourself. Comparison is the thief of joy, right? And making sure that you're actually judging a way that delivers right for your practice. All right, well, let's keep moving to our next topic and focusing on the patient experience. So, NexHealth is a patient experience platform. We focus on delivering, helping practices deliver great patient experiences. So, of course, we had to ask as part of the survey, what is the most common complaint from patients? What are the things that they get frustrated with?

And the number one point was hard to reschedule. And actually, Dr. Lucina, I wanna come back to you on this one, because I kind of think about the credit card on file, kind of booking this in, confirming the appointment. In some ways you are, it almost sounds like, intentionally making it hard to reschedule, to reduce cancellations. So how do you balance out this potential patient desire to wanna reschedule easily, with also kind of thinking about how you keep cancellations low, so there's some potential conflict with the patient experience, make it easier schedule. So curious your perspective on that. Well, first and foremost, you need to respect yourself and your team. You don't want to make it too easy and cheapen your practice. And what we're finding is that by giving people all the crazy appointments that they wanted, 7.30 on a Friday, Saturday mornings in a summertime, we learned early in our career that you shouldn't make it easy. Otherwise the patients won't respect you either. There needs to be a balance. We found hair salons, nail salons that are taken more seriously than our previous practice was. They were charging $100 for a cancellation and people were paying it without a complaint. If the nail salons and the hair salons can do it, why do we have so little self-respect for ourselves as dentists that had to stop? And again, I coach a lot of my colleagues on this too older practices that really are suffering from this cancellation thing. And they asked me what I do and there's a lot of pushback from their team and I recognize that. 

They're afraid, oh, what if I lose a patient? That's fine, lose them. Lose the ones that wanna make your life miserable. You gain nothing from them and they're not contributing to you. I know I might sound a little pessimistic, but a little dose of pessimism is helpful and successful. I have found miraculously by embracing this concept, which again, it's not foreign, it's not too hard. People are becoming accustomed to this in other services. We are the ones in dentistry that are behind on this, you know, having this guarantee, but the patients that we lose that are unhappy without it are easily and quickly replaced by other people that are very willing to. And so as we see a surge of new patients, patients who their previous dentist hired or their previous dentist is no longer in their network, well, there's a very few good in-network dental office remaining and patients are finding that as they quickly are funneling through new practices every six months. You'll find that new patients have already gone through this before and they don't even blink an eye when they're asked for the credit card. Okay, and they'll fill out their forms. Interesting. Another thing that was an issue was, you know, people that kind of waltz in 10 minutes late and then here's my card for my insurance. We haven't had any time to verify your insurance or anything, you can't just waltz in here like that. By making them and forcing the, kind of restricting how easy you can book the patient and making them provide that information at the time of booking really enables my team to offer the best type of service at the time of the appointment so that we're not running around confused and stressed out. And that really enhances what the patients experience. And again, patients that don't comply with that, we're okay with just saying, hey, you know what, you need more time, that's fine. Book for another time, but we won't see you unless you've met this. Again, every practice can customize how strict they wanna be on this. 
That's totally fine. But this is what's worked for us, and we've been able to replace the patients that didn't want to comply with no problem. Yeah, I love that idea. It's looking at not only your patient volume, but also the quality of patients coming in and the thinking about that. That makes sense. We got a question from the audience. And Ashley, I'd love for you to tackle this too. When you look at adding flexible hours, are you finding that patients book more inside the office hours or outside office hours? Is that common that we see patients want to book outside those office hours?
I feel like we get so many phone calls out of office hours because most people work a nine to five job Monday through Friday, and that's most dental office hours, correct? So usually it's our dream patient demographic is very much like me. It's a woman in her mid thirties who's probably a family woman, has a couple of kids, has a husband, is very busy. She is not thinking about dental appointments until nine o'clock at night. No dental office is going to have anyone answering the phone at nine o'clock at night. So I just opened up my availability for any person who's busy, professionals, doctors, other dental professionals are the ones who are also using the book online because they don't have time during the day to book those appointments. And it used to stress me out because I also hold the emergency phone. So I would have these calls coming through because originally we were just forwarding it to the emergency so that I could answer them after hours.
And I was working all through the night. I was working all weekends. And I just said, I can't do this anymore. This is crazy. And now the piece that we have and I have just to know that if it goes to voicemail, our instructions right there, tell them exactly how to get onto NexHealth, how to book their appointment. I never worry about a missed call ever, ever, because I know they have access to book an appointment.

I love that. So, you know, kind of a couple of themes I'm hearing here is make it very easy for your patients to schedule, helping them confirm, asking things for like credit cards so they join that appointment, making sure you think about high quality patient experience, but also high quality patients as well. I can see how this is all very circular. Well, I'm going on the patient experience a little bit more. One of the things is the opportunity to message them after they've left the office. So, so often we see them and we treat them and then we never speak to them again.

And I think that patients don't realize that they need kind of their handheld a little bit after they've received a treatment or they need their post-op instructions because they're like, am I allowed to take IV profan? I can't remember. And so having the ability to, through NexHealth to message them after they've left, 15 minutes after they've left with their post-op instructions for the procedures that they received that day specific to them, we have had so many patients compliment us on that saying, I've never had a dentist after I left the office. After I've paid and left, no one's ever texted me and said, hey, are you doing okay? Here are your post-op instructions. Message us if you have any questions or concerns. So. So I got that right. You basically set up appointment specific journeys. So you know what appointment patients come in and you have separate communications that go to that patient 15 minutes after each appointment. Right, because originally my doctor was calling them.

And that's just so much time on my doctor afterwards because he cares about that and he cares about the patient experience. So now NextHealth has automated that for him and we still care, we're still here and they can still message us. But if they don't need to, they still got access to that information. Awesome. Well, we are getting a little bit close to time but I have two more topics I wanted to make sure that we hit on today. The one is using social media. So we asked one of the questions in the survey is what social media platforms are you focused on to really engage with your patients? No surprise, Facebook, we see a lot of doctors, office managers on Facebook, a very popular channel. But TikTok was only 8%. And this is kind of amazing because TikTok is now the number one social platform in the world, particularly popular for people under 35. And Ashley and Dr. Rousini, you both have TikTok presences from what I understand. 

Ashley, I would love to hear a little about how you built your office brand on TikTok. And then Dr. Sina, I'd love to hear from you on that question as well. So we had a really neat experience for us because we got to start our TikTok when we were literally building our office from the ground up. Yeah. So our very first TikTok was walking them through our building that was not done. And then we started there. And so we really thought of TikTok as kind of like a journal and all those fun things that happen throughout the day, all of the silly things our team does or our doctor does, and then getting on trends. Because like you said, there's so many people that are always on it. 

I actually feel like it's made our office more fun because somebody will say, oh, that was so funny. We should make that a TikTok. And then we reenact it and we get to develop a closer relationship with us. But it also gives our patients this they kind of feel like it's a reality TV show, right? So it gives our patients access to see kind of behind the scenes and see our personalities a little bit more. Um, and so they feel connected to us. And when they walk in, they'll right away mention it. Um, and they'll right away say, Oh, that was so funny. And, um, sometimes now we're getting patients that are asking, um, us to be in their tech talks. And so that's been really fun, a fun experience too.

I just feel like you're missing out if you're not giving your patients the opportunity to interact with you on another social platform. Because I mean, for myself, my phone tells me every week how much screen time I have and it's way too much, but the top thing is always social media. So if you're not utilizing that in your practice and to connect with your patients outside of business hours, then I feel like you're missing out.

You know, I love that, right? Your patients probably feel like they have a relationship with your practice. They built a brand. And when you think about dental care, if you're coming in twice a year for cleanings, it is really hard to build that relationship. And it sounds like you've done a great job of nurturing that when they come in. They know Ashley, they know the office manager, they know everyone else in the dentist. Dr. Sinha, I believe you've taken kind of a different approach where you've gone more academic kind of thought leadership and thinking about more education, TikTok. Can you kind of describe how you thought about building your brand and your presence there?

Well, let me just say that I think social media has become so crucial for our industry and it's so underutilized. And I can't tell you how many patients I have gotten from, I'm in the Chicago suburbs. I'm about 45 minutes north of downtown Chicago. I have patients come to us from the city of Chicago, make the chemia up to us because of something that they saw we were doing. You got to think of social media has really created like the crystal ball that we see in like old fantasies, allows people to glimpse into a world or a time that they're not currently in. And it takes you into, it gives you a glimpse into something. And so with social media, whether it's Instagram stories, Reels, Snapchats, TikToks, whatever it is, if you're just showing your day to day, you would be surprised how many people, and we get numb to it because we're dealing with it daily with all the technology, 3D printing, Sarex scanning.
There are people that are totally oblivious that this stuff is even a thing or an option, and they'll simply send us a direct messages and be like, what is that? Can you do my teeth? A great example is I had a lovely patient that came to us that responded to a denture case, just a simple denture that I 3D printed for an older person, not applicable to a young person, but the young person saw that like, wow, you use technology for this. Can you come take care of my teeth? Just like a simple cleaning.
But just seeing something that had nothing to do, they weren't even be a candidate for dentures, but seeing the cool stuff that we had and showing off brought them in just for that simple stuff. And so it really makes you relevant when people see what you're doing. I've seen so many other patients fly to Dallas or to other cities because of someone that was TikTok famous and presented treatment that the patient desired that is available locally, but unfortunately.

No one's Googling the stuff or looking at websites anymore. This younger millennial and Generation Z is looking at your TikTok and your Instagram and judging, do I wanna go here? And the same applies for any other services, Botox, MedsBoz, anything else. They wanna get a preview. They wanna know what to expect because that takes the edge off. You gotta realize that going to the dentist is a very stressful thing. And to know what you're getting yourself into and know what you expect kind of helps take the edge off.
I love that example. One more topic that I want to hit on before we wrap up today, and this is perhaps the most important topic that we'll talk through, was really looking at the one of the questions we asked was looking at staffing or retention. And we asked the question, what was your biggest challenge facing your practice in 2023? And overwhelmingly, it was staffing the office about, you know, getting great staff coming in.

So Dr. Hosseini, why don't we start with you. Curious, when you think about staff retention, retaining staff, what are some of the ways that you practically making sure that your staff is staying with you or you're attracting new staff? How are you thinking about this challenge? Well, workload is a thing. A lot of people are kind of less motivated to work after the pandemic and they're slowly trickling back into the workforce. You need to make sure that you're showing them that this is a manageable and not toxic work environment, and that you're not gonna feel overwhelmed as much. Now, hard to say that in dental really, there's always gonna be those days and those patients that are gonna make us rip our hair out. But for the most part though, anything that we can do to let a new candidate or current team member know that we have their back by giving them the weapons they need to succeed. Automation is, I said over and over again, is probably one of the best things to prevent burnout. Also, when you do get to that point where you have to find a new team member, hire somebody, it's a pain to train people on the mundane and the redundant and this repeatable simple things. And I'd rather spend my energy and my focus training individuals on more important tasks. So if it's something that can be automated like scheduling or handling patient registrations that frees us up and really takes a lot of the stress off for a candidate that doesn't know, am I doing a good job? Am I good enough? We have the technology to make your life easier. I don't want my people, I don't gauge their success by how tired they are at the end of the day. I would hate that. I judge their success by them being able to work smarter, not harder. I know that's cliche, but it's so, so important right now, especially for retention. 

We need to make sure that we're offering them something and incentive to stay and to stay motivated. And your systems that you have in place are very crucial in that equation. I love that, automating a lot of the day-to-day, the mundane work and allowing probably your staff to really focus on what they wanna do, which is, it's a mission driven business, focus on the patient, makes a lot of sense. Ashley, kind of similar question to you, is there anything maybe surprising or uncommon that you think through? When you think about how do you retain your staff at your practice? Well, I think we focus so much on our patient experience that we need to focus on our employee experience, right? So as business owners, we so often are so focused on our patients that we forget that there are actual human beings that are making the rest of the machine work. So we just really sit down a lot with them and have personal time and ask the basic questions just like we ask our patients,
Is everything going okay? Is there anything you need from me? Is there anything that you need help with? Which I ask every patient that comes into our office. Another huge thing for us, like the doctor said about automation is with NextHealth, the forms being integrated right into our program management software has taken so much stress off of my front end because they no longer have to type in all of the patient information, all of the insurance information, all of the health history information, all of the medical, everything.
They no longer have to do any of that. So now they get to do the thing they enjoy. I focus more on personal relationships. Those are the people I want in my team. And so those people that I hired are people who want to talk to people, who want to spend time with people and engage. And so they're no longer filling out paperwork on a computer. Now they're engaging with the patient when they've walked in because the forms have already automated into the system and we no longer have to worry about.

Awesome. I love that. Thank you both for your time today. We'll share one final stat. I think this kind of just goes to both what you were talking about. One other final stat from the practices, elite practices investment in automation. We saw a 3X investment in automation than the peers, so not only practices. So clearly how you both adopted technology to improve your patient experience, but also really humanizing your approach to your teams is resonating.

So we are over time, we are seven minutes over time. We actually have 100% of the people that joined have stayed on. So I think people are really enjoying the discussion today.
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NexHealth surveyed over 500 dental professionals from all US states and Canada in a 2023 State of Dental Report. The focus was on elite practices, which are growing their revenue by over 20%. The webinar includes insights from Dr. Arash Hosseini from Ariata Dental and Ashley Sutak from Lone Star Smiles, who work in elite practices, and the discussion centers around the data found in the report.

Download a full copy of the State of Dental Report here.

What do elite practices do differently to grow?

Minimize Cancellations

Elite practices understand that cancellations can have a significant impact on their revenue and take steps to remove that impact. For instance, they may implement policies that require patients to provide a deposit upfront or have a cancellation fee. Practices also send reminders to patients before their appointments to minimize no-shows.

Maximize Patient Volume

This involves not only attracting new patients but also retaining existing ones. Elite practices often have effective patient retention programs that keep their patients coming back. They may also have strategies in place to increase the number of patients they see each day.

Use Metrics to Track Success

These metrics may not be commonly used in the dental industry, but elite practices find them useful in measuring their success. For instance, some practices use metrics such as patient satisfaction scores or employee satisfaction scores to determine how well they're doing and what areas they should improve on.

Use Technology to Empower Staff

Elite practices understand the importance of retaining staff and providing a positive work environment. They may use technology to automate manual processes and free up staff time so that they can focus on the patient. 

Automate Manual Processes

Elite practices automate manual processes to create a consistent patient experience. They understand that every patient touchpoint should be excellent, and they use technology to ensure consistency. For instance, they may use automation tools like NexHealth to send appointment remindersschedule follow-up visits, or provide post-appointment feedback.

Overall, elite dental practices are focused on providing the best possible patient experience while maximizing their revenue. They understand the importance of using technology to streamline processes, empower staff, and provide consistent patient care.

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