Dentists can benefit greatly by utilizing technology tools to automate practice functions. Use of technology and automation allows dental practices to operate efficiently and can lead to increased profitability.
In this episode of The Art of Dental Finance and Management podcast, Art visits with Daniel Larsen, principal product manager from Henry Schein One. Art and Daniel discuss the five things in your practice that should be automated, but likely are not:
- Appointment scheduling
- Routing slips
- Payment processing
- Patient forms
Have a question about your dental practice? Reach out to Art at email@example.com or 657.279.3243. More information about the Eide Bailly dental team can be found at www.eidebailly.com/dentist.
Sponsor Details: This episode is sponsored by Dentrix Ascend. Dentrix Ascend moves practice management to cloud, meaning dental teams can access their practice data at any time, from any location, on any device. It simplifies the management of group practices, providing a central database and business reporting for the group while allowing individual sites the flexibility they need.
Are you ready to take steps to grow your practice? It’s a great time to reassess your strategy to strengthen your position and increase profitability.
Show Notes and Resources
- Henry Schein One
- Dentrix Ascend
- Eide Bailly’s Dental Practice
- What Business Areas to Focus on In Your Dental Practice
Art Wiederman, CPA Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of the Art of Dental Finance and Management with Art Wiederman, CPA. I'm your host Art Wiederman. Welcome to the podcast. It is late September here. We're about. Oh, my gosh. Believe it or not, we're six months into this COVID-19 pandemic and we're time stamping our podcasts and keeping our fingers crossed that things are getting better. I will give you my weekly update of where I see the dental profession going. I am seeing everybody is still doing pretty well. I am seeing some folks with a little bit of a pullback in the fourth quarter because of all the pent-up demand. And once we reopen the dental offices and my objective in in this podcast going through this pandemic is to provide you lots of tools and resources to help keep your practice growing and bringing it back stronger than ever. My guest today is going to be Daniel Larsen, who is the Principal Product Manager at Henry Schein One. He's out of American Fork, Utah. And we're going to be talking about five things in your dental practice that should be automated, but that are probably aren't and why they should be and some really good tips and tools and what's going on in the industry. I do want to let you know that our podcast today is sponsored today by Dentrix Ascend by Henry Schein One. Dentrix Ascend moves practice management to the cloud, meaning dental teams can access their practice data at any time from any location on any device. It simplifies the management of group practices, providing a central database and business reporting for the group while allowing individual sites the flexibility that they need. So thank you to Henry Schein One and Dentrix Ascend for sponsoring our podcast today. And Daniel and I are going to talk about what's going on in the industry as far as things you can do with your software and in your practice that will allow you to have less people processes and more production in your practice. We'll get to Daniel in a moment. A couple things I do want to share is take a look at our partner, Decisions in Dentistry magazine, www.DecisionsinDentistry.com. Take a look at their annual subscription membership for their over 140 continuing education courses. Some of the courses are Cone Beam Imaging and Orofacial Cleft Therapy, Applications of Acupuncture in Dentistry and Coronavirus Transmission in the Dental Setting, which obviously is very prevalent today. Take a look at that. If you're looking for a dental CPA anywhere in the United States, our partner, the Academy of Dental CPAs www.ADCPA.org, 24 CPA firms across the country that represent over 9,000 dentists. So real quickly, what's my update with what's going on with all these new laws? I have no update. I wish I had an update for you folks. We are now recording today on September the 16th. That means Congress is going to be in Washington for about another two weeks. I'm talking regularly to my good friend Megan Mortimer from the American Dental Association. She's their lobbyist, their congressional lobbyist. Apparently, there is a group of I believe it is either 20, I thought was 25, you know, Republican and Democratic congressmen and women who are all moderates, who have gotten together and have put together a middle of the road package to put in front of everybody else that seems to be things that everybody could agree on. Megan is not real sure whether that's going to go anywhere, but it's going to be introduced into, I believe, the Senate today. It's going to have a second round of PPP. It's going to have other things. And we're really hoping that Congress gets around to making the, you know, for anybody for under 150,000 dollars for their PPP loans, that they will be forgiven with a simple one-page attestation. So my advice to you folks is there is no rush unless you're potentially selling your practice in the next month or two. There is absolutely no rush to file for forgiveness. If you file for forgiveness. I think you're taking a risk and you may, and again, if your loans under 150,000, which is more than 85 percent of the loans that were made, you may end up with a situation where you can just sign a page that says, all right, I really tried to follow the rules. Now leave me alone and don't make me this money back. And that's basically what it's going to be. We're also waiting for H.H.S. guidance on the reporting requirements. We had podcasts about that, and I will keep you posted on that. So with that said, let's go ahead and get to our guest. Daniel Larsen from Henry Schein One, welcome to the Art of Dental Finance and Management.
Daniel Larsen Hey, Art, it's great to be here. Thanks for. Thanks for having me.
Art Wiederman, CPA Well, thank you for coming on. So, Daniel, you're up in Utah now. We've got that pretty darn smoky here in Southern California. I've never seen a sun that's been this orange for this long. And again, my heart and my thoughts, just for everyone to know, not only goes out to all the people here in California, Oregon and Utah, Oregon and Washington who have gone through these horrible, horrible wildfires. We've got one here in a town called Monrovia. That is, that's the biggest one we have here in Southern California. But it's pretty bad. Our heart goes out to all the people who have lost their lives, loved ones, homes, thousands and thousands of homes, as well as the hurricane that's unfortunately hitting the Gulf Coast today is also causing havoc. So, again, our hearts and prayers out to all of you. Are you seeing any smoke or anything where you are in Utah, Daniel?
Daniel Larsen Yeah, it's interesting you mention that Art actually. It had been pretty smoky here in Utah. And then just over this last weekend, I actually live in a town called Pleasant Grove, Utah. And we had about a 100 acre fire a mile from me. So a lot of neighbors pretty unsettled. It's a scary thing. So, yeah.
Art Wiederman, CPA Yeah. Well, let's just hope and pray that this passes too. It's not good stuff. So, Dan before we get going. First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey. Where did you come from in your career and how did you get to Henry Schein One?
Daniel Larsen Yeah. Well, thanks. Thanks for the opportunity. So my I started with Henry Schein in February 2004 and I was 19 years old. So I've been with Henry Schein quite a quite a while, like I started in the support team and then I moved over to development and then to product. You know, I while I was in development, I was going to school. So it's been a long, fun, fun journey. And I've been part of the Ascend team since we since we started that project. It was kind of just an idea on a whiteboard. And so seeing it come to fruition and customers using it's been really rewarding and a fun challenge these last six or seven years.
Art Wiederman, CPA Cool. Tell us some of the things that Henry Schein One does and we'll get to our topic.
Daniel Larsen Yes. Henry Schein One, the concept with Henry Schein One is giving customers kind of a single user experience, pulling in all that. There's so many different software products that practices need to effectively run a dental practice. And so our goal is to give them kind of one solution, one stop shop, all of it together, and seamlessly. You're not having to pull these different solutions together to try to make things work. So that's our goal with Henry Schein One.
Art Wiederman, CPA OK, well, let's start talking about our topic again today is the five functions in your practice that should be automated, but probably aren't. So the first one we're going to talk about online booking. Now, I know you and I, I've been in the dental industry with the dental professional a little longer than you've been. Just a little bit. But what changes have you seen in, let's talk about consumer behavior? Because, you know, I mean, the old days, you know, we talked about the yellow pages. I talk about the Yellow Pages when I when I lecture to the dental students at the different dental schools in Southern California, I always say to them, so how many of you find professional services from the Yellow Pages? And I actually bring a copy of an old Yellow Page book. And they all look at me like I'm like, liked I'm on, like maybe I've taken too much medication or something. They don't know what the Yellow Pages are. So obviously, you know, in the old days, Daniel, you pick up the phone and you call a dental office and say, hey, I want to get my teeth cleaned. So what's changed in behavior in the past 10 years?
Daniel Larsen Yeah, well, I think that that point is a good one. You know, and I think back on like, how do how do people, you know, not so much currently, but, you know, how do people book airline travel, right? Like, how many people are calling travel agents anymore, right? You do that online. You and I were talking a little bit earlier about another example is, is Uber. You know, I looked up some stats and in Q4. 2019, worldwide, Uber did 900 million rides in one month in Q4.
Art Wiederman, CPA That's almost. I'm an accountant and I am required by law to use numbers. That's like almost a billion rides, right?
Daniel Larsen Yeah. Yeah. Almost a billion rides in it in a single month. And what's interesting about that is like if we were to get in a time machine, right and go back like 10 or 15 years and try to tell someone about this idea, I think most people would find it crazy. And so I think it just shows that consumer demand is going to, you know, really drive the adoption of this of these types of technologies. And consumers are, they want self-service tools, right? Like Air BNB is another example. Tens of millions of reservations on Air BNB every month. But when we, maybe they go back to dental practices, you know, how many dental practices offer online booking for their patients? Percentage wise, it's not a lot.
Art Wiederman, CPA It's not a lot. And probably you guys. Henry Schein works at, the last statistics, I saw somewhere between 40 and 50,000 practices in the United States, maybe more. I don't know.
Daniel Larsen Yeah, yeah, yeah. 50,000 practices across our different solutions. And yet we do see that those numbers are pretty low. But what's really interesting to me is the practices who are maybe a little more progressive on introducing these types of technologies into practice, they're generally really successful with them. So we have a number of customers who have patients booking. You know, they're getting several hundred appointments per month through online booking. And if you, I was going to say, if you think about it like because we don’t, I mean, generally, like, we wouldn't recommend. Right. We're not we're not thinking that patients are going to go onto your website and tell you the dentists that they need a root canal. That's not really the use case. They use cases. A new patient needs an appointment, right? Or an existing patient needs to book for hygiene. Right. For a cleaning. Those are the use cases where we see a lot of a value. It's less about I'm going to schedule and tell the dentist I need a crown type of the type of scenario.
Art Wiederman, CPA So, Daniel, if I have a practice that is not using this tool, OK. You can't just flip a switch one day and just say, I'm not going to take any more phone calls. I mean, how do you get a practice that is in the 18th century? I still actually have a couple of clients who have pegboard accounting systems and don't use a computer software management program.
I know that's hard to believe. You've probably seen some of them. But how do we go from the only way to make an appointment in my dental office is to pick up the phone and call to an online booking.
Is there some training of the patients? How do you how do you get them to change?
Daniel Larsen Yeah. Yeah. Great. Great questions. It's funny you mentioned those other systems. When I when I first started with Henry Schein that first year, we started a number of customers on our easy dental DOS product and they loved it and really didn't want to give it up. So change is hard, but I think the way that you can make that transition, you know, is first you need a tool that's going to allow you to do that, right? And that's kind of where that idea of Henry Schein One I think is valuable, where it's like all these tools working together. But in terms of like no matter what tool you use, the process of how you go about making the changes is important. And so I would say, you know, make a recommendation like start with just new patient appointments or start with just recare appointments. If you're interested in doing online booking for your patients, but your kind of not sure where to start, I would say start small. Maybe you just offer one day a week that's available for new patients to book, right? Because I've heard a lot of dental practices, you know, talk about, I don't want to lose control. Right? See, you need to need to be able to control when they can schedule and all those all those types of things.
But I think in terms of where to start, start small and find out where it works and where it doesn't and make adjustments.
Art Wiederman, CPA I mean, they actually do have control because they will be able to set up the online. And maybe talk a little bit about mechanically how this works. So you don't just basically say, OK, here's eight hours patient. You just do whatever you want to do. Yeah. I mean, how does this mechanically work? Does the practice put certain slots for hygiene and operative and restorative? How does that work?
Daniel Larsen Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And I think different tools are going to work in different ways, but I'm glad you asked that question because I think a lot of times when practices first hear that idea, they are afraid and they think, oh, you know, exactly what you said, patient. We don't want patients to be able the book anything they want at any time. And so I think mechanically, at least with Ascend, you know, our product, the practice can be really granular about their configuration. They can choose the days and times, the providers, the appointment types that they want to make available. And then one of the cool things that we do is we keep that in sync with their practice schedule. So if appointments get booked in the office, right, we're not going to show those times online. And so it's all kept in sync together in real time. And the practice can be really, again, have tons of configuration around what they want to open and what they don't want to open.
Art Wiederman, CPA So if you're going to switch, Daniel, from non-online booking to online booking, do you send a letter to the patients? Do you send them an email to say, hey, guys, we have this new tool available? Is there is there like a. Yeah, because again, everybody's real busy and some people like me are not the most computer literate human beings on the planet. So, I mean, how do you actually let patients know, by the way we're doing this new deal called online booking?
Daniel Larsen Yeah. And I think I think online booking is probably supplemental. You know, I don't see the phone calls to the practice going away completely, but it's just giving them options. And so in terms of like, how do you make the transition as a practice, I think it depends a little bit on what your goals are. So, for example, if bringing in new patients is a key for you. Right. You'll want to make our, you know, the online booking tool available on your website. Right. If you are doing a lot with Instagram or Facebook or different social media channels, you want to make that link to that online booking page available to them.
The practices that we see on Ascend that are most successful are honestly, they're putting marketing money behind it as well. They're informing their patients that this is an option that they can go to and do on their site. And so I think, you know, get on your site, get it on your social media, especially if new patients are a priority for you. If you're looking at as a way to online booking is like a retention tool for bringing patients back in for hygiene, have it had that online booking tool tied in with your appointment reminders. Right. Most practices are sending e-mail and text appointment reminders for recare when patients are due. With Ascend, for example, you know, we'll automatically put a button on there so patients can click that and then go schedule their own appointment online. And then, of course, you know, talk to your patients about it. Let them know that it's and that it's an option and to and to look out for it. I think those are probably the places I would start.
Art Wiederman, CPA So you were talking about, you know, consumer behavior changing and Uber. And I have a great story, is when I moved to California in 1975, I started banking at a bank that no longer exists called Glendale Federal Savings, and they had the first A.T.M. machine, the automated teller machine. And I went in and I said, so how is this for. Yeah. This is the bank mergers. Yeah. This is brand new. This is the first one the in the country. And it was really great. But you can make deposits, you can get cash out. I don't have to go to the teller to get cash out. Yeah. And the guy says but you know, it's a fad. It'll never last.
You know. 45 years ago and stuff. But so do you see patients, again, because you guys deal with like thousands of practices. Do you guys see patients still if they want to go to practice? Are they willing, without calling the office, to just, they've been referred to the office, they know they want to do the office? Are they willing to just make an appointment without making a phone call at all? Or do they still want to pick up the phone call and say, hey, you know, I'd like to talk to this Dr. Smith's office, your office. What kind of trends are you seeing with that?
Daniel Larsen Yeah, generally, I would say that over time, the number of patients who are willing to do that's only going to increase to your story earlier. Right. I don't think it's a trend or a fad. And there over time, more and more and more patients are going to be, you know, willing to do that. I think you can tell a lot about a practice by their website about, you know, what does it look like inside? Who is the doctor, right? All of these things. I can learn quite a bit. And maybe, you know, if we rewind back 20 years or whatever before most practices had a website, you can probably learn more today from a practice about their website than you could maybe from the White Pages or from, you know, from just calling.
Art Wiederman, CPA No, no, the White Pages are where you find people's phone numbers, the Yellow Pages, where the businesses are. Why don't you know that?
Daniel Larsen That was kind of transitioning out as I was growing up.
Art Wiederman, CPA That's right. That's right. So why do you think you see a lot of dental practices that are maybe resistant to going to this online booking? Why do you think that's the case? And, you know, where do you see them being slow to adapt to all these changes?
Daniel Larsen Yeah. Well, I think I think the person we talked a little bit about is just maybe fear of change or not knowing how to go, how to go about it. But I also think that, it's again, it's important to think about where things are headed and how can we as a practice adapt to that. So I think one is just kind of, again, a fear of the unknown and then also as maybe not knowing what tools are out there that are available and how they would work. And then the last thing, I kind of mentioned this already is, maybe practices are kind of comfortable. They don't feel like they need to do it. But one thing I would maybe have your listeners consider is, you know, most practices, again, we'll send email or text reminders that like a cleaning appointment, you know, the patients due, not scheduled, but due. What happens if Art gets that email at eight o'clock at night and the practice is closed and there's no online booking? What happens? It doesn't get scheduled, right? You get busy because you've got a million things going on. And the next thing you know, it's been a year since you've been into the practice. And so even though you may not be open as a practice, 24/7, online booking makes it so that you are available to your patients, you know, kind of anytime, anywhere
Art Wiederman, CPA What happens if Art is stupid enough to introduce his cell phone to a cup of coffee that spills on the table like he did on Sunday? So Art is without a cell phone for a week. Now, part of me is like, oh, my God, how am I going to survive? And the other one, is boy, this is actually pretty cool, I don't have a cellphone.
Daniel Larsen Disconnect for a while. Right?
Art Wiederman, CPA That’s right. We won't go there. Anyway. So let's move on to the second function in your practice that should be automated. And that's forms. OK, so, you know, we've got COVID-19 has happened. What kind of trends is Henry Schein seeing from behavior? Customer behavior because of COVID-19?
Daniel Larsen Yeah, that's a great question. I think that you know, we talked about practices being comfortable before kind of having a process that they're used to. You know, online booking we talked about is probably like a little bit lower adoption there. There are fewer practices overall, I think forms more practices are doing that digitally now and COVID really pushed that forward. So one of the trends that we saw was, you know since COVID happened, we saw like five times increase in the number of forms. I mean, it was just we had those few weeks in March where things were kind of crazy and a lot of practices were closed. But as practices came back online came back open, the number of forms, I mean, week after week, the total number, we just broke all-time records for number of digital forms submitted, which makes sense. I think if you're not doing your forms digitally today, if you still have the old clipboard and paper, look for a form solution. There are lots of great ones out there. You should definitely. This is one. I think if the patient shows up to your practice and you have a clipboard and paper there, they're not going to be impressed with that process at this point. So, again, if you're if you might be a little bit behind if you're still using paper on this one. But there’s tons of great for digital form solutions out there. I think the best ones, you know, work with your practice management software and with your appointment reminders and kind of all fit together. But yeah, I think that's been a huge, huge trend. COVID kind of pushed that ahead a couple of years, I think, and forced some practices out of their comfort zone with that.
Art Wiederman, CPA I mean, think about the amount of time that someone at the front desk, not only for new patients, but also for patients who you need updated health history. Right. That's what we use this for, Daniel.
Daniel Larsen Yeah, exactly.
Art Wiederman, CPA I mean, think about the amount of time that your office can save by doing this. And now, you know, doctors, a lot of you are sitting there listening to this and saying, yeah, I know I do this or no, I'm not going to change it. But I will tell you that even from an old dog like me, getting automated in some of the things that I've done in the CPA practice has been unbelievable. I mean, an unbelievable opportunity to save time. And I wish I was born, maybe I wish I was born 30 years later. So I would have all these skills that my kids have, and that Daniel has and stuff like that. So anything else about forms you want to talk about? It's pretty straightforward, right?
Daniel Larsen Yeah. Yeah, I think that's straightforward. Again, I think most practices have made that transition. If you haven't, it's time.
Art Wiederman, CPA Alright, Daniel. We're in the middle here. Why don't you give out your information? If anybody's got any questions about these digital solutions and what's working in dental practices, again, Henry Schein. Henry Schein One. They're the biggest. They work with the most number of practices there. I know a lot of their people there. People are awesome, just like Daniel. How would someone get a hold of you, Daniel? Email address and a phone number, please.
Daniel Larsen Yeah, sure. So you can contact me directly at Daniel.Larsen@HenryScheinOne.com and you can learn more about Ascend at DentrixAscend.com.
Art Wiederman, CPA OK. Is there a phone number they can call you?
Daniel Larsen Yeah, sure. 801.833.3744.
Art Wiederman CPA Give it one more time. I got to write that down for the show notes what's the number again?
Daniel Larsen Sure. 801.833.3744.
Art Wiederman, CPA OK, great. Alright, let's talk about patient router and workflow. Where do you see, a lot of these processes and practices haven't changed in the last 20 years? Where do you see the issues and what are the solutions that people should be looking at as far as workflow compliance and the and patient router?
Daniel Larsen Yeah, well, I think, you know, thinking back on these last 15 years or so, there've been so many, and this goes back further. But there've been some really cool advancements in dentistry. Right. Like CAD Cam and all kinds of cool stuff. But as a kind of a tech person and whenever I visit customers, and I see paper, that's like opportunity for like process improvement. But one of the things that I still see a lot of that that I find interesting is the patient routing slip, tons of practices, right, will still print that out. And it follows the patient around in their visit and, you know, assistant will get it and write some stuff on it. The doctor will. And it finds its way back up to the front office. And so that kind of patient router, that paper that follows the patient around. I still see quite a bit of that.
Art Wiederman, CPA I do too
Daniel Larsen Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's one of those things that's stuck around. I think it has a utility. Right. Which is why people still do that. So one of the things that you know, when we built Ascend, we thought, OK, we want to, we don't want to just build Dentrix on the cloud. We want to kind of reimagine, like how what's next-generation practice management. And so one of the things we tried to do was say, well, how can we take that really popular piece of paper that follows the patient around and make that a digital experience for the practice? And so we introduced this concept of a digital router. So as the patient goes through their visit right at the beginning, we care about how many missed appointments have they had? What's their contact information if they're running late? Right. Who's the primary contact if it's an appointment for a kid? All those types of things. But then as we move into, you know, the patient moves into the chair. Right. And it's the clinical team that we care about. What are we seeing them for today? And did they have any medical alerts and all that kind of stuff? And so rather than having one piece of paper that has all of that on it, with Ascend, one of the things we did is said, let's make that digital. And it adapts as you go through that patient journey. And so, anyway, that's kind of one place where we try to say, hey, how can we make this, how do we make this different? How can we get rid of the paper?
Art Wiederman, CPA So a lot of operatories that I've gone into, a lot of dental offices have two computer screens. One is going to be up where the dentist can show the patient what's going on and have the images, we're going to talk about imaging here in a second. And the other one is kind of right behind in the back of the treatment room. Usually, I've seen it above the rear delivery where all the handpieces are. And you can have the assistant typing in on the routing slips. Is that how it pretty much works?
Daniel Larsen Yeah. Yeah. And a lot of that information will just update automatically. So as the patient's going through, that information will change. But exactly right, is that is the patient comes into the chair. Right. And the context is different. And Ascend will kind of update automatically to show you the relevant information.
Art Wiederman, CPA OK. Alright. Let's go to item number four. Time flies when you're having fun, Daniel. Let's talk about imaging. Now, I mean, I tell this story. I probably told it on this podcast, folks, is that the first time I ever spoke at the California Dental Association convention was in 1989. So that is, let me do the math, 11 into... A 31 years ago.
And at the 1989 CDA convention, Daniel, the first interoral video camera for dentistry was introduced. It was manufactured by Fuji, the film people. And it was probably as big as a dental operatory, maybe two. It cost 42,000 dollars. Alright. And everybody was going, ooo, ahhh, wow, this is crazy. So obviously we didn't have a whole lot of dental imaging back then, but we do now. So you're going to talk about imaging. But what's coming? I mean, you know, obviously, the technology is just going to keep changing and evolving and getting better. I had David Hornbrook speak at our Academy of Dental CPAs meeting, I think was 15, yeah, fifteen years ago, 2005. And he said that in 10 years, there would not be dental impression material anymore. We're not quite there, but we're getting close. So what kind of trends do you see as far as imaging and where it's going? I mean, it's obviously getting to be big.
Daniel Larsen Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think that one of the areas for opportunity that we see where there's going to be a lot of change is kind of the merging of practice management software with imaging. I think for a long time there's just been kind of this basic integration where they talk to each other. But there's so many missed opportunities when you have two different, you know. Right. You have your imaging solution and your practice management are separate. And so I think that bringing those together, having a single solution that can handle both sides. Right. The clinical imaging, as well as kind of the traditional practice management, charting and ledger and those things. I think that's going to be a huge, huge trend because I think people have kind of come to accept where things have been and just, you know, say, well, that's how they work. That's, you know. But as you see better examples and how it could be. Right. Imaging and practice management together, then I think customer expectations will really change.
Art Wiederman, CPA What's the benefit to the practice of merging those two things?
Daniel Larsen So one benefit is, you know if you think, for example, that you capture images right out of your imaging software. But then how does your practice management software know that that should go in the ledger that you should bill for it? Somebody has to remember, and they don't. Right. So another thing would be, you know, if you had four bitewings taken today. Right. Your imaging software knows about that. How does your practice management software? It doesn't. With Ascend it does, but with a lot of systems, right, because they're separate, they don't talk to each other in that way. But when they're one solution, you get all these really cool benefits of the two products working together as a single product.
Art Wiederman, CPA So we could be losing revenues because of the fact that we did a procedure and it was done through imaging. But the management software, it never gets to the management software is what you're saying, right?
Daniel Larsen Yeah, exactly. We did some research and we found out, I think was about 30 percent of x-rays that are taken are never billed, not because the practice didn't want to, but because of those inefficiencies by having separate products.
Art Wiederman, CPA Now, I know with imaging, it's, I mean, I've been, you know, I've seen imaging systems. I've been to the different places to see them. And I know that artificial intelligence has some potential in dentistry. I know they use it in, you know, in lots of different instances in dentistry, one of which is looking at metrics. There's actually a metrics program out there that can actually go into the software and tell you, okay, here are the 10 patients that are most likely to accept your treatment, make the appointment, and pay for it. I mean, it's amazing. So talk about how artificial intelligence would work in dentistry and also in regard to caries detections.
Daniel Larsen Yeah. Yeah. I think that there's a big opportunity and I think we're really early on, you know, and kind of that product lifecycle. I think we're just at the very beginning of artificial intelligence, at least in dentistry. But there are a number of companies that are doing some really impressive stuff. Like you said, with being able to send an image through this algorithm and have the software be able to kind of help the dentist know, maybe some areas that they perhaps could have missed. Right. Where caries is present. And so there's some really exciting products that are coming out in this in this area. And I think we're just at the very beginning of understanding, like, how is that, how is this technology really going to fit into dentistry? Is it that second opinion? And given the doctor another set of eyes, is it taking those things that the software finds on the image and automatically charting them and saving time there? Is it making it so that insurance claims get paid faster? Because we know that there's caries on this tooth and it's been verified by AI. Right. Rather than the insurance company looking at x-rays. Having a system that will do that. So I think we're really early on with this. But I, I definitely think that artificial intelligence knows over the next 10 years, 15 years is going to be become a kind of a normal part of practice management software and what the practice has in their toolkit.
Art Wiederman, CPA So right now, if someone wanted an imaging solution, they would buy one. And it integrates with the practice management software, right?
Daniel Larsen Yeah. Yeah, and that's what we're really early on with because most of the A.I. imaging software will have kind of a basic integration. But part of our mission with Henry Schein One. Right, is that single solution and having it all work together as one product. And so we're at the exciting early stages of that now.
Art Wiederman, CPA Exciting early stages. OK. Yeah. That's like the exciting early stage of preparing taxes. You know, that's exciting. And then I know that, you know, you work with you guys work with a lot of DSOs and larger group practices, and for those of you that are looking at, I'll use the term building your empire and building and acquiring or starting more practices, how does that help in the realm of growing a DSO?
Daniel Larsen Yeah, I think, you know, we certainly see that trend continuing. And I don't know that it's ever going to be up 100 percent. But growth of DSOs is certainly happening. And so what we see a lot of, a lot of customers that come to us say, we've been, you know, we've been using this tool that works great for a single practice. But now that we get two, three, five, you know, nine, 15 practices, it just breaks. All right. So having a solution that's built for DSOs, right, you don't want your technology to be the reason that you can't scale your business. We see a lot of practices that, you know, are on solutions that just don't scale up, can't handle, you know, 20, 50, 100 locations or more. And so that's why, you know, a lot of practices will come to us. So, yeah, I definitely see, you know, growth of DSOs continuing.
Art Wiederman, CPA Yeah, it's, right now, I mean, the numbers I've heard is, is you're somewhere in the low 20 percent. In other words, 20 to 25 percent of the practices in the United States are part of a group. Now, again, a group could be there are companies that own 1000 practices and there's companies that own two practices. And so I'm saying 20, 25 percent probably heading towards maybe 30. And I get into debates with people all the time while it's going to be 50 percent. I don't think so. I just, you know, I sell dental practices and I know that a lot of doctors who I go to sell a practice are very, very cognizant of this. And they won't. You know, they want to sell to another single owner and keep it as a single owner practice. But it is a big part of what's going on out there. It's a huge part of what's going on out there. Alright Daniel let's hit our number five solution, which has to do with payments. You know, payments are good things as an accountant. Accountants like payments, payments are revenue. Revenue is important. That's right. There you go. You're learning. There you go. So what do you tell a dental office team member, and we get this too, that are set in their ways? Hygienists and their ways. So what do you tell a team member, they're concerned, you know, not only that the patients may not pay, but that may be even they're going to lose job security? I mean, talk about that for a minute.
Daniel Larsen Yeah. I think, you know, I've certainly talked with customers over the years that say, well, if the product's going to do this, what am I going to? And I've heard, you know, some, not a lot, but I've heard some practices talk about, you know, wanting to go to a model where, you know, there's not a reception team and it's really paired down. And I just don't know. I think there may be some of that. But I don't, I think that the goal for our solutions and what we want to see is like, I have a lot of empathy for people who work in dental practices. I think it's a hard job. There's so much to do. And so I don't see it as a, you know, automation and technology is like taking people's jobs. I think it's more about freeing up team members so they can focus on the patients who are there, so they can build the relationship with the person that's in front of them, rather than fighting all of these manual tools and things that they, things that they have. Because, you know, the technology and all these things are great, it's going to help the business grow. But I think a key to, you know, keeping patients, retaining and patient loyalty is the relationship you build with them as a person when they're there. And that's what we want to help.
Art Wiederman, CPA And I think folks that you know, because I run into this all the time, because I'm talking to our dentists all the time, it's like, well, they don't want to change. And they had one, you know, one doctor who told me about, you know, six months ago, well, I wanted to make these changes, but the team just said no.
Well, what does that mean? Well, they just said no. I said so, they own the practice. No, I own the practice. But they said no. And I said, why did they say no? Well, they said no because it would require change. And I said, so change is bad? Well, to them it's bad. They like doing what they're doing. And this is textbook. And if I'm talking to you, please listen to me. You know. I get lots of front office people who will who I will talk to and they will just go, you know, Art, we just can't handle anymore. I'm so busy at the front. I'm so busy dealing with this and routing slips and, you know, taking payments and all this stuff. And if they would just embrace, Daniel, the technology, it makes their lives simple. And the other thing I think that's really important to note here, and I want to get your comment on this, is, you know, when I go into a business and I see that everything is automated and there's people that I can still talk to, a human being. Alright. Who's engaging. But I can automate more of the stuff and it just makes my life so much easier. And I don't have to spend more time on it. Don't people like going into businesses where it's easier? Isn't that true?
Daniel Larsen Yeah. Yeah, absolutely right. And I think that it also gives an impression too, to the patient. It's like its practice knows what they're doing. Everything's organized. If my, the whole experience matters, the dentistry is the most important part. But the other parts matter too. Right? That whole experience gives the impression to the patient that this practice is organized and knows that if all these pieces are in place, then, you know, I'm going to have a great experience with them, with them overall. So I totally agree.
Art Wiederman, CPA So I know you've worked with a lot of different customers. Any war stories you can share with our audience? I always love war stories about how someone was like in the, they were the Joan of Arc mode. And now they basically had a, they had, I think they call it an epiphany, four syllables, that's more than I usually do. But I know that word epiphany. I think I learned it on Jeopardy or something. But anyway, any stories of like, you know, you took a practice that was in the 14th century and you brought it in, and it's really improved?
Daniel Larsen Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we definitely have, you know, examples of, you know, customers who have embraced these tools and you know, one example is we've helped practices move from like, one of the things we measure is recare effectiveness. Right. If you had a hundred patients that were due for a cleaning this month, how many actually showed up? So we've helped practices move from my 30 percent. Right. Pretty low bar up to 60, 70 percent effectiveness using these tools. In terms of kind of old technology. I just have to share a funny story. This is a long time ago. But when I was on the support team, we had a customer I was working with try to help them solve a problem. And I asked them to send me a screenshot. Right. Send me like a screenshot of you so I can see what you're seeing. This is before I call the screen sharing tools. And so a customer literally took out a piece of paper and drew for me what they saw on the screen with a paper and pen, and they faxed it to me. They just spent hours. He does this like technology's come such a long way. And I felt terrible. There was amazing shading, Art, on this thing that they had drawn. They created for me. It was very, very impressive. But I felt bad that they'd spent so much time.
Art Wiederman, CPA Oh, my God. But some of the things I mean, you've gone into practices and when you fully automate them like this, and you automate the payments and you automate the workflow. I mean, they can improve their profitability, right?
Daniel Larsen Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the, you know, hygiene in the practices is the lifeblood. And if you're not seeing patients for hygiene, your opportunity to present them with treatment goes down. And even if you bring them back in, if there's that lag right, if your standard of care is six months and you're only seeing them every eleven, right. This is a big opportunity that's missed there. And so it can be a huge, you know, it's not just about the technology, it's about the results it can provide for you. And so. Yeah.
Art Wiederman, CPA Alright. Well, listen, do you have any other pearls for our listeners? We're coming to the end of our podcast, I think. And these are the five things that we think you should automate and that maybe you're not. And I will also share, doctors, is again, it is hard to change. It really is hard to change. But, you know, maybe you're in your practice, you're coming out of this COVID thing. You're just maybe a little down like, you know, all of us. This has been a tough tough year for everybody. And here's a new thing that you might be able to embrace. And if you have people in your practice that are dinosaurs that won't change anything, you're either going to continue to practice the way you're practicing, or you're not going to, you know, or you're going to get rid of them. But if you have young people, or people that really like new things and like new challenges. I mean, some of the things we've talked about today, the online booking and the online payments and the digital workflow and the routing sheets, these are all things. If you're doing all this, that's great. Kudos to you. If you're not doing this, you know, take a look at whatever solution you use. You know, I mean, Dentrix Ascend is a great solution. Whatever you're going to do, do something, please. Right, Daniel?
Daniel Larsen Yeah, exactly. You don't have to do it all at once. Right. Pick one. Pick one thing that you're going to improve. Make the goal and start making that change this week. Pick one thing. You have to change it all at once.
Art Wiederman, CPA Exactly. One more time, Daniel. And by the way, great information today. Really appreciate your time. How to folks get a hold of you, e-mail, and a phone number and we'll have that in the show notes.
Daniel Larsen Yeah. Daniel.Larsen@HenryScheinOne.com. And you can call me anytime 801.833.3744.
Art Wiederman, CPA Yeah. Daniel will help you with any of your questions, or you're not sure how to do something. So I want to thank you. Hang on. I've got a couple of things to finish up our show. Again, thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for the privilege of you listening to me. I guess I'm privileged to have you listen to me. Yeah, that's how that works. OK, I said that right. Our podcast is growing, again. Just keeps growing. Getting more and more people calling and emailing. And we really appreciate it. Please keep the emails and everything coming. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And one thing I keep forgetting, it mentions the beginning, but I want to mention it too, is we actually published today on the Internet, our podcast on the Research and Development Tax Credit. This is a really great tax credit, folks, that has become more prevalent for dental practices. And we have a whole group at Eide Bailly, 27 people that do that. So you want to listen to the podcast from the 16th. We're going to talk all about that. But if you think that you've done some new innovations, new product design, maybe used some new materials, new methods. This is a very liberal and I'm not talking politics, folks. This is a very liberal tax credit. So what you want to do is go on to our site, which is www.EideBailly.com/dentalRD. And that'll bring you to information about the Research and Development income tax credit and this tax credit, what you can do is fill out a questionnaire it might take five or 10 minutes to fill it out. You push a button, it'll go to our R&D team, and then we'll get ahold of you and talk to you more about what you're doing in your practice to see what you can do. This could save you thousands and thousands of dollars every single year if you're doing these procedures and you can actually go back and amend tax returns. So this is something that I'm really jumping on for our clients. And we're coming up in a year end meeting with our clients. We meet with all of our clients, as do all of our members, folks at Eide Bailly, and all the members of the Academy of Dental CPAs. This is the most important year for any of you to get into your accountant. And if your accountant doesn't do that, if they don't do year end meetings, call me. Call me, please, 657.279.3243. Call a member of the Academy of Dental CPAs. Call us at Eide Bailly. We are all here to help you. So, anyway, Daniel, I want to thank you so much for your time and your expertise. Henry Schein, I got a lot of friends at Henry Schein that I've known for many, many years. They bought me many adult beverages, not too many, but they've been a supporter of the Academy of Dental CPAs. I had a chance once to lecture at their national sales meeting at their home office in Milwaukee, and that was really fun. So, anyway, thank you so much for your time.
Daniel Larsen Yeah. Thank you, Art.
Art Wiederman, CPA Alright, everyone. Please continue to listen to the podcast. Tell your friends about it. We're, like I said, we're growing by leaps and bounds and we've got great financial and management topics and guests coming up. And as soon as the government decides if and when they're going to do something, I will be the first one to tell you. And if they do nothing, I'm just gonna do one podcast for, like 60 minutes that's just going to say they did nothing. They did nothing. They did nothing. I'm going to say that for 60 minutes. I'm so frustrated at this whole darn process. Well, anyway, everyone, this is Art Wiederman. That's it for this edition of the Art of Dental Finance and Management with Art Wiederman, CPA. Thank you for listening. And we'll see you next time. Bye bye.