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Are there additional revenue opportunities right under your nose?
Ryan’s guest on the Dentist Money™ Show is Weston Lunsford, founder of Dental Intelligence. Weston explains how measuring real-time analytics improves practice performance and reveals where additional revenue can often be found.
Analytics are changing everything from manufacturing to healthcare to the sports you love. The real question is can they improve your practice? Find out as Weston and Ryan discuss the ways predictive analytics are changing the dental industry.
To learn how real-time analytics can improve practice performance, listen now!
Ryan Isaac: Hey, Dentist Money Show listeners, this is Ryan Isaac, your host for today’s episode. Joining me on the show today is long-time friend, all-around good guy, CEO of Dental Intelligence, Mr. Weston Lunsford. Weston and I talk about the main formula that you should be tracking in your practice today to make sure it’s running smoothly, that your overhead is in check and that you’re growing revenues at every possible opportunity.
Weston also shares with us two metrics that most practices are not tracking that they really should be. We talk about how mountain biking is a lot like running a dental practice. Finally, Weston tells us two main habits in his life that have shaped a lot of the success that he’s had. Join us for an exciting episode. Grab your pens, your papers, your crayons, your marker boards. You’re going to want to take a lot of notes. There’s a lot of things to go and implement immediately from the episode. Thanks again to Weston for joining us. This was really cool. Enjoy the show.
Speaker: Consult an advisor or conduct your own due diligence when making financial decisions. General principles discussed during this program do not constitute personal advice. This program is furnished by Dentist Advisors, a registered investment advisor.
This is Dentist Money. Now, here’s your host, Reese Harper.
Ryan Isaac: Welcome to the Dentist Money Show, where we help dentists make smart financial decisions. I’m your host, Ryan Isaac. Here joining me today from Dental Intel. You know him as Mr. Weston Lunsford. What’s going on, Weston? Thanks for joining us. How you doing?
Weston Lunsford: Hey. What’s up, Ryan? So good. I’m doing good. It’s sunny here. It’s been sunny for a few weeks now in Utah. So, I always feel better when the blue sky is out and the sun is shining.
Ryan Isaac: I agree with you.
Weston Lunsford: Summer is my time of year, so I’m excited.
Ryan Isaac: It is. Summer’s your thing. Well, so, I have this little intro piece about you. If you’re like me, the formal intros are a little bit, kind of weird sometimes but here’s a few things about you but you can talk about the sunny weather thing, okay?
Weston Lunsford: Okay.
Ryan Isaac: If anyone doesn’t know, Weston is the CEO of Dental Intelligence. I think everyone who’s listening is going to know what Dental Intelligence is, but if not, you can jump into this in a second but we have … You wrote this down apparently at some point. This is your why. So, you’re co-founder and CEO of Dental Intelligence. You lead a very big, growing team and you’re helping guide dental practices around the whole country to master their business, master their analytics, master their data but you’re a father of five and you love spending time on the lake, Lake Powell, specifically, mountain biking and kind of getting outdoors.
So, you were just saying, “Summer’s your time.” What’s better? Lake Powell or mountain biking?
Weston Lunsford: Oh, that is a hard one. Well, Lake Powell is always surrounded with my family. Mountain biking, I coach a high school team here in Utah.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah. That’s right.
Weston Lunsford: I got 153 kids on our team this year in the high school team. So, I’m with them three to four days a week every single morning. Absolutely love it. The kids are inspiring. They motivate me to push through different pain gates. We call them pain gates because it hurts to go on the mountain, but we have a lot of fun, so it’s hard. That’s a tough question. Lake Powell’s incredible but both of them are equally important to me in my life.
Ryan Isaac: Okay. So, you are there in Utah County and kind of on the backside of the Salt Lake City side or, I guess the side of it. What trail do you guys go ride most frequently? And 150 people? How does that work? Is that a big train of-
Weston Lunsford: So, [crosstalk 00:03:25] big. I mean, mountain biking here in Utah, we’re the largest state for youth riders now in high school teams. I think the state just has over 6,000 riders registered this year. Our team’s continuing to grow. I started out with this because my son was … I played football growing up and baseball and a little bit of basketball. Did a lot of wrestling. I was always just trying to get in shape and play football and I loved it. I had a dream of having the boy that was going to be a football star. So, my oldest son, Gavin Lunsford, he’s almost 17 now.
Ryan Isaac: Shout out to Gavin.
Weston Lunsford: He’s [inaudible 00:04:02] football team. Man, he hated football.
Ryan Isaac: [inaudible 00:04:05].
Weston Lunsford: Drove me crazy. And then, eventually, I’m like, “That’s all right. I’ll get him into basketball.” Didn’t work out. Then, I’m like, “Okay. Let’s try-”
Ryan Isaac: That’s funny.
Weston Lunsford: “… [crosstalk 00:04:15].” Didn’t work out. He does not like ball sports and so-
Ryan Isaac: Fine.
Weston Lunsford: … I had to figure something out. I started biking. I started finally asking him to bike. He hated biking at first but man he loves it. In fact, he just raced in an expert-level race here at Sundance, which is pretty hilly. I don’t know if anyone knows where this Sundance Film Festivals are. This is a Robert Redford resort but we raced up there and he took four in the [crosstalk 00:04:43].
Ryan Isaac: Oh, my gosh, man.
Weston Lunsford: He’s been thriving with it.
So, I’ve been coaching this team now for four years. Probably will do another couple years. I’ve got three other younger kids that are going to be joining the team here shortly, which is a lot of fun. We love it. It’s a lot of fun.
Ryan Isaac: Man! So, some time later in the podcast, we’re going to ask you to compare lessons of mountain biking to lessons in a dental practice. Can you do that?
Weston Lunsford: Okay. I’ve got them. I actually post on social media almost every couple mornings about that.
Ryan Isaac: Okay. All right. We’re going to get to that.
So, let’s go to the basic question. If anyone does not know what Dental Intelligence is, give us the rundown.
Weston Lunsford: All right. So Dental Intel, obviously we’re a software company. We provide SaaS solutions for dental offices, but we provide, seriously, the world’s smartest software to help practices do more. I’m going to add not just more but even better dentistry. In fact, on average our practices are seeing about a 51% increase in their top-line production within the first 12 months of using.
Ryan Isaac: Wow!
Weston Lunsford: One of my favorite examples of this is Dr. Kevin. I won’t say his full name, because this is off the cuff now. I didn’t actually ask-
Ryan Isaac: That’s all right.
Weston Lunsford: … [crosstalk 00:05:53] his story, but one of the greatest things that I witnessed in his practice recently when he implemented Dental Intel was just within the first two months, his team was able to start recapturing, on average, $40,000 a month more, more a month in restorative dentistry getting scheduled than he was before. He was always diagnosing and presenting it but sometimes all that stuff hides and it doesn’t resurface for the team members that need to see it.
So, we’re able to bring that stuff to the attention and help team members identify what is the most profitable and efficient and patient-focused activities I can be doing on a daily basis and our analytics serves us that information up to each individual team member. Then, if they grab it and run with it, man, some incredible things can happen like Dr. Kevin’s practice. So, we have thousands of practices that see those type of results but we pride ourselves on that.
I spent most of my time daily, my fun time on the day of the day-to-day activities is getting on the phone with office managers or getting on the phone with the dentists and just feeling and hearing the different struggles and pains and wants that they have to be able to me more efficient with their patients and with their team members. I love that. I live in that world a lot. So, we try to take our whole team. We have right now, Ryan, about 123 team members and we’re-
Ryan Isaac: That’s big.
Weston Lunsford: … [crosstalk 00:07:19]. It’s been a lot of fun but a good journey.
Ryan Isaac: So, you just said something that kind of triggers this idea in my head. We hear all the time is, to you, “I got to grow, I want to grow, how do we grow the practice?” I think sometimes, the default for people in wanting to grow is I need more revenue from external sources or I need another location or I need more employees, but you just said something that’s like there’s work sitting there in the practice on the books from people who know you, trust you, and have been there for years. That might be, I don’t know, correct me if I’m wrong. That seems like one of maybe the first places you’d want to go if you want this growth in your practice is go to the people who already know you and trust you and love you and have already been there and have already paid you money to do things in the past but how does that slip between the cracks? Why is that such a common thing?
Weston Lunsford: Absolutely, Ryan, the best place to go. If you go ask any doctor if they’re struggling, what they need more of, what they want to focus on, what they’re trying to do to fix it, they always say, “I need more new patients.” You hear that all the time. Yes, we need new blood in our chairs but new patients are the worst. They’re the worst. And look, we’ve all-
Ryan Isaac: Started dating all over again.
Weston Lunsford: … been in a new-
It is. It’s so bad. If you think about it, who’s most likely to [fill out 00:08:39] unemployment? New patients. Less likely to say, “Yes,” to treatment when you diagnose them? New patients, because they think, “Oh, man. I’ve been to that last dentist 16 times and they’ve never said anything about this.”
Ryan Isaac: “Now, this guy’s got cavities? Yeah, right.”
Weston Lunsford: And then, you have to greet the new patient. You got to walk them through, put this smile on your face, get to know them. It’s like this. Well, you mentioned it. it’s like dating again.
Ryan Isaac: Put on the show again.
Weston Lunsford: Dating was fun but I never want to go back to it. I’ll move that. That one thing? It’s over.
So, I just think that we focus on that all the time but you’re right. The number one opportunity for practice is we can really get into this but Dental Intel services this really well is finding these patients that are slipping through your cracks, whether they’re slipping in hygiene or whether they’re slipping in the restorative.
This probably won’t be a shock to anyone when they hear the statistics but we have more than 50 million patients in our database right now, so we do a lot of analyzing of just the patients and the demographics of patients, what they are saying, “Yes,” to, what they aren’t saying, “Yes,” to. I mean, a lot of this technology is we’ve applied more artificial intelligence and machine learning will start surfacing through our organization into our customers but some of the things that we see are some really interesting statistics, such as over two-thirds of all the treatment presented, restorative treatment and I’m excluding elective treatment, folks. This is not cosmetic stuff. This is they need it in order to get healthy restoration treatment. Two-thirds of that treatment is not scheduled or done within six months of diagnosing it.
So, what I mean by that is if you enter it into the patient’s treatment planner and it’s a restoration treatment code, you enter that into the treatment planner, 60% of that treatment, 60, 66% is not scheduled or done within the next six months. Ryan, I know we’ll have a lot of doctors thinking, “Well, that’s not true in my practice.” Yes, it is. Yes, it is. It is true.
Ryan Isaac: Hey, you’re talking to the guy who could see it. You can see it. You know the truth.
Weston Lunsford: It’s interesting. There’s huge opportunity there.
Ryan Isaac: Well, let’s go straight to that question, then. So, one of the first things I wanted to know is maybe and you could take this any direction you want but why does this happen so much? Where are the parts of the practice and what are some pieces of data that are helping fix this problem?
Weston Lunsford: Yeah. Really good question. I’m going to try to simplify. Some of you that know Dental Intel, if you’ve heard of this, you’ve seen this and there’s several other influencers out there that now, even though this trademark and they should be using our name on it, they talk about this formula. It’s called the DI profitability formula. It really simplifies the business of dentistry.
Now, before I jump into just giving you the elements of this formula … Hey, you like that word, elements?
Ryan Isaac: Yeah. The little plug. It’s on my shirt. It’s on my shirt.
Weston Lunsford: I see that you’re wearing your elements shirt right now.
Ryan Isaac: Yes. Thank you.
Weston Lunsford: If anyone doesn’t know Ryan and Reese and you listen to this podcast and what they do, they really help you secure your financial current situation and future situation, which is critical to all successful individuals to get secured today and then focusing on the future. They do a really good job. They have almost … I hated chemistry in high school.
Ryan Isaac: I did, too. Yeah.
Weston Lunsford: I hated it but every time I look at your shirt, you’re marketing it. It reminds me of those classes that I just-
Ryan Isaac: [inaudible 00:12:09] back.
Weston Lunsford: … tell that.
Ryan Isaac: Can’t get away from it. Can’t get away from it. Thanks for the plug.
Weston Lunsford: You guys have some really good stuff, though.
But, as I talk about the elements of this profitability formula to really simplify this, I just want people to know beforehand, Dental Intel and business companies like ourselves, we might talk a lot about increasing efficiency and production and bottom line and the gross margins. Yes, that’s all important but I also want people to recognize we get that this all ties back to patient health. At all type, these numbers represent how well we’re doing with patients in our chair. If we’re doing well with them, typically, typically, that shines on our profitability. If we’re doing well with our patients, typically, we’re going to see our gross production increase. Those things usually mirror one another.
It’s when we focus purely on profits that we start seeing those things fall. I’ve always learned in business that the number one thing that you need to focus on is being the best in the world at what you do. So, if you’re a dentist, if you’re a hygienist, if you’re a front desk, if you’re an office manager, or if you’re a treatment coordinator, you first focus on being the best at helping patients understand why they need treatment in order to get healthy or stay healthy and then the money will follow. I promise. Always [crosstalk 00:13:26].
Ryan Isaac: I agree with that. I like that.
Weston Lunsford: But there is a profitability formula that really helps to simplify dentistry. So, can I share that with you?
Ryan Isaac: Please do. Yeah. What’d you call it? It’s the DI profitability formula.
Weston Lunsford: It’s the DI profitability formula. DI stands for Dental Intelligence. Ryan, do you guys have a link that you can post? If so, I’ll send this to you and you can post this on here.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah. If we don’t get it over to us, we’ll make sure that this lands in the show notes for everyone listening. We’ll link it in social and in the show notes and everything, too.
Weston Lunsford: Because everyone needs to look at this because if you don’t understand this formula, you’re overcomplicating this side of your practice but this is really simple.
There’s really four levers to pull on to increase profits in the practice, so if we start at the very first part of it, if you take the number of visits or appointments, I don’t care what you call it in your practice, patient visits or patient appointments, that’s the number of people that you’re going to see today, how many people are you going to see today? You multiply that now by your average production per visit, so number of visits times your average production per visit. Let’s just make this really easy, Ryan. You probably didn’t go to school to be a math whiz although you did.
Ryan Isaac: Actually, no. I was a mechanical engineering major. It’s funny you say that because I love math.
Weston Lunsford: Oh, you like math?
Ryan Isaac: I’m not a whiz. I learned deep into my major, like fourth, fifth year and then I switched majors four years in that I was the dumbest kid in the class even though I loved it and I did well for the first few. I was like, “Whoa! There’s some smart people here.” So, I like it, though.
Weston Lunsford: I’m going to give you an easy math question. You ready? Let’s-
Ryan Isaac: Let’s do it.
Weston Lunsford: … [crosstalk 00:15:00]. You got to pay attention. Dentists, pay attention. How would you calculate your average production per visit for today? Your average production per visit today. How’d you calculate that? Pretty easy.
Ryan Isaac: So, everyone’s got to push pause and answer this but I’ll answer this by, I think I would take my total production for the day and just divide it by the number of visits I had for the day.
Weston Lunsford: Pretty simple. Yeah. Good.
Ryan Isaac: Math whiz, math whiz status.
Weston Lunsford: Oh, it’s so good. You’re so good. So, here’s the deal. Don’t ever do that on a daily basis. It will drive you crazy because you’re going to have peaks and valleys and you’ll be like, “What in the world is going on?”
We typically will recommend people look at this. We always, Dental Intel, automatically has this number showing on the dashboards. It’s always looking at the last 13 weeks so it’s an average production per visit over the last 13 weeks, but if you take last week or last month, take your total production, divide it by the total number of visits, that’s your average production per visit.
So, let’s go back to the formula. This multiplied by your average production per visit. Now, multiply that by your collection percentage and now minus off your overhead. That equals profits.
So, here’s your main pillars. Your visit pillar, your average production per visit pillar, your collections or your AR pillar, and your overhead pillar. Those are the four pillars that you are dealing with in order to affect your profitability and your practice.
So, if my profits are not where I really want them to be, we’ll evaluate all four of those pillars first on the high level. Don’t give into micro metrics right now. Keep it really high. Am I spending my money efficiently? You guys help out with that. Where are the budgets? Are we spending efficiently? Am I overpaying for hygiene? Am I overpaying for my supplies? Am I underpaying for lab fees? Where are you spending your money? Are the budgets in line?
If that’s good, then look at your collections. Are you collecting 95 plus percent of all your production? If you’re not, then evaluate that. I’m talking about net production at that point. Production per visit, we can spend a lot of time on that one. And your visits. Are my chairs empty?
So, if my profits are not where I want them to be and my chairs are empty, I know I need to focus on the visit lever. I need to be pulling visits. That could be hygiene reappointment. That could be your cancellations and no-shows. It could be attracting new patients. It could be getting patients to say, “Yes,” to treatment. What are all the metrics focusing on getting more patients in my chair?
Now, some of you doctors are out there thinking, “My chairs are busting at the seams. I can’t fit more people in there.” So, there’s two options. You can expand hours, or expand chairs, or start focusing on what patients you want to see and start getting rid of the patients that bring no value to your practice.
So that means I’m going to start shifting over to the production per visit metric. There’s things in there such as looking at increasing fees, looking at reducing your PPOs, looking at expanding treatment procedures. I had a doctor, Craig Spodak. Craig wouldn’t mind me sharing this.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah. A shout-out to Craig and bulletproof crew.
Weston Lunsford: Yeah. We love those guys. He’s got a phenomenal practice. When we’re looking at his practice, I mean, he was running on the top percentile on almost every areas but he still wanted to do more for his patients and he wanted to have even higher margins and better production.
Production per visit was a key thing for him because the thing about that metric production per visit, you’re either trending up, so your production per visit’s going up or it’s going down. It’s never flat. It’s one of those two. It’s going up or going down. If it’s going down, that means you’re seeing more patients and doing less production per visit, which means your profits is typically going down. If it’s going up, you’re less busy but you’re doing more higher-end dentistry or you’re doing more dentistry with patients.
Well, Craig really understood this. He wanted his production per visit to increase but he’s basically doing … He has a 13 million to $14 million gross products and practice. It’s a single location. Every single year and it’s been that way for a while.
Ryan Isaac: It’s like a big, beautiful hospital is what it looks like. It’s gorgeous.
Weston Lunsford: Yeah. It’s gorgeous. Well, he wanted to do more and so they started talking as a clinical team, what are they not doing for the patients that they might start be able to introduce them to their practice. One of the things that they start talking about was sleep. Sleep’s become big.
So, they expanded their treatment procedures into sleep and started talking to their patients about how they were sleeping and started treating sleep apnea. Really incredible things of what happened to their production per visit. Their average production per visit went up. Some are between eight and $10 just by talking about sleep all the time with their patients and offering those procedures. Diagnosing more treatments going to help that. Obviously increasing your treatment acceptance percentage.
But regardless, going back to the high level, if your profits are not where you want them, look at one of those four pillars. It’s either your visits, your production per visit, your AR, so your collections, or your overhead. You might be struggling in all four of those pillars but don’t tackle all four at once. Take little baby steps. We don’t have to master and perfect everything right out the gate. We look at everything and we do an analysis. I mean, data helps you see this. Then, once you know where the area of opportunities are, pick one and start working on the one. Once you master that one, move to the next one. We don’t have to come in and clean house and do everything all at once. Just take little steps.
That’s the thing that I love most about data is it can identify where your greatest opportunities are. You get to choose what opportunity you want to focus on. Then, you move forward with that. You start seeing improvement. You move onto the next one. You keep doing that and you keep it simple.
Ryan Isaac: We wanted to take a break for just a second and remind you how easy it is to book a free consultation with-
Reese Harper: Yup.
Ryan Isaac: … one of our dental specific advisors. What you do is go to dentistadvisors.com and you see a big green button that says, “Book free consultation.”
Reese Harper: Can’t miss it.
Ryan Isaac: Click that button and book a time that works for you or you could just call us at 833-DDSPLAN. Let’s start a conversation about how we can help you with your finances.
Yeah, so, man! There’s so many good things here. So, one of the things that first comes to my mind is as simple as this formula is, I think when I hear this, I hear what I think doctors are saying in their heads which are, “Okay, visits, I think I can get my number of visits pretty easy. Average production? Man, it seems a little harder.”
Weston Lunsford: That’s hard.
Ryan Isaac: “In terms of collections and AR, man, I feel like that I’m a little lost there. How are we doing? I don’t really know. And then overhead, I don’t know. I don’t know.”
Weston Lunsford: Okay. So, here’s a … Here, now [crosstalk 00:21:44]-
Ryan Isaac: But you guys are addressing this. I mean, this is your thing so where do you begin-
Weston Lunsford: No one get mad at me because I’m going to call Dennis out right now.
Ryan Isaac: I like controversy. Bring it.
Weston Lunsford: Your books are the worst.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah. Okay. Second that.
Weston Lunsford: They’re so bad. Here’s the deal. I had a CPA firm for, what, 12 years before starting Dental Intel. We did a lot of after-the-fact accounting, so we did monthly bookkeeping. We would get books. They were so bad. So, on the fourth pillar of overhead and really getting some margins. Hey, look, Ryan. I’m going to give you benchmarks of all of these metrics, too, in the show notes. So you can go [crosstalk 00:22:24]-
Ryan Isaac: Oh, cool. Awesome.
Weston Lunsford: So, we’re going to give you industry benchmarks for the profitability so all the categories in your overhead and how people are spending money. Then, I’ll give you performance benchmarks as well for other performance-related metrics so that the doctors can see that.
Ryan Isaac: That’d be great.
Weston Lunsford: But [inaudible 00:22:40]. You’ve got to have clean books. If you want to look at your financial side, that fourth pillar, you got to have clean books. Dental Intel doesn’t get so heavily involved in the financial side anymore. You guys do great on that. I mean, your firm does a really good job in there. We do give benchmarks in there. We do integrate with the financial management software, so whether it’s QuickBooks, whether it’s Xero, I think we also integrate with Microsoft Dynamics but we integrate with the financial side so that they can get those metrics on the dashboards.
But here’s the deal with your overhead lever. Let me simplify this even more. Once you work with a good financial advisor or an accountant that understands dentistry and the margins there. I’m happy to recommend several but I’m not going to right now.
Ryan Isaac: Another time.
Weston Lunsford: DM me. [inaudible 00:23:29] message me and then, I’ll recommend several but here’s the deal. Once you’ve cut your expenses and get them in line where they need to be, you’re there. You can only do that once. It’s the easiest thing to fix in a practice is fixing where you’re spending your money and getting fiscally responsible to a budget. And some people hear the word budget and they think, “Oh, they’re going to restrict what I spend.” That is not true. You’re identifying where you’re going to spend. It’s not restricting. You’re identifying it. You’re being proactive about how you are going to spend money, but once you get that in line, you’re done. So that pillar of overhead is the easiest thing to master. Get it off your head. Forget about it and just make sure you hold your team accountable to it. Collections, production per visit and visits, they are more complicated.
So, the visit metrics, if you want to break that down just a little bit, we’re looking at the number of new patients that come in. That’s a visit-related metric. We’re looking at what percentage of our new patients that are coming in are actually rescheduling. No joke, Ryan. We just install on a practice and we were looking for opportunities in their practice. My favorite thing, by the way is when we install a practice for the first time and I have the opportunity just to do the review with the practice owner. I love it.
Ryan Isaac: Oh, cool. Like fresh data just kicks everything out, like, “Whoa!” A lot of opportunities.
Weston Lunsford: Probably feels like a new patient for a doctor because they get to create new blood, right?
Ryan Isaac: Yeah. Yup.
Weston Lunsford: I love seeing it but we were looking at this practice. They were seeing, on average, 80 to 100 new patients every single month. Insane number of new patients coming in this practice every single month. 28% of them were rescheduling into their continuing care program, so meaning, getting in their hygiene. So low.
Ryan Isaac: And it should be what normally?
Weston Lunsford: Oh, man. Up in the 70s. It depends on what type of practice you have but if you’re a GP practice and bread and butter and you have hygiene in there, if you’re bringing in that many new patients, you want 80 plus percent of them going into hygiene.
Anyway, today, within a week, no joke, within one week, they were getting over 80% of the practices in that. They just had no idea this wasn’t happening. It was slipping through the cracks. So, until you see it, it’s hard to know what is or what is not working.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah. I mean, I’m a huge fan and believer of the power of just knowing and admitting on paper what’s happening so in this situation, what did they change? What was different?
Weston Lunsford: Really easy. In fact, when we showed the office manager this, when we went … This is the crazy thing. We went back in time. We see all the way from the very beginning of time if we want to see it. We show four years in our software but you can see all the way from the beginning of time. It was interesting. As soon as we started going through this with the doctor, the office manager literally stepped up and said, “I bet this changed in 2016, didn’t it?” She said those words and I’m like, “I don’t know. Let me go look,” because 2016 was not in our data. So, I had to go back and pull it up and look at it and say, “Yeah, you were in the high 60 percentile of rescheduling new patients in continuing care.” She said, “I knew it.” I said, “Well, what changed?” She said, “Well, we started having the front desk deal with the new patient rescheduling instead of the hygienist himself.”
Ryan Isaac: Interesting.
Weston Lunsford: Only on new patient scheduling. That’s all it was. It was just a-
Ryan Isaac: A process tweak.
Weston Lunsford: It was a process. They decided for new patients because they went through hygiene and then they went through a comprehensive exam with the doctor that it was now the assistant in the front desk that dealt with rescheduling it instead of a hygienist doing it right there because they didn’t know for sure what the needs were going to be with that patient, whether they come in for restoration or whether they get the hygiene rescheduled but the reality is, hygienists should have been rescheduling always to begin with.
Honestly, Ryan, it’s unique in every practice. There’s always these little unique things. Data can expose the opportunity. The team has to discuss about how to tackle that opportunity.
Ryan Isaac: Yes, exactly.
Weston Lunsford: And I don’t like to say expose weaknesses because it’s not a weakness. It’s just a missed opportunity. We just don’t know what we don’t know until we see it.
So, there’s several things that Dental Intel does for the industry in itself at no cost. We will do no-cost practice analysis. You can get an awesome report showing where all your opportunities are because we want this industry to thrive. I mean, it’s in my personal best interests. If I’m thinking selfishly for doctors to thrive.
Ryan Isaac: For sure.
Weston Lunsford: I don’t want [inaudible 00:27:58] and, at the same time, in a weird way, Ryan, indirectly, we have a bunch of nerds sitting here at Dental Intel that they feel gratification from seeing more dentistry be done. We look at metrics like this.
For example, a couple months ago, Kelli Law, our COO, just announced that Dental Intel could directly tie just over $20 million of restorative care that was done and performed because of Dental Intelligence analytics, stuff that was slipping through the cracks. We thrive after that type of stuff. If we can cause more and better dentistry to be done, my team here, they get giddy over that type of stuff. I mean, that’s kind of nerdy but at the same time,-
Ryan Isaac: I like nerdy.
Weston Lunsford: … we will. And so, if we can help people do that for free or if we have to charge them for certain things. Obviously, we need to do that as well but we’re all about helping expose information so that they can be better at what they do.
Ryan Isaac: Okay. A huge fan. I mean, a big believer in that, man. It’s fascinating what … This goes for business processes, systems, marketing. On the personal side, it goes for spending and where your money goes in debt and taxes and how you invest money but until you have data, like you said, that exposes opportunities and shows where experiments went right and where they didn’t go so right, you just don’t know. I mean, there’s just so much power in just knowing because, like you said, you could go from such a low percentage of reappointing people to a high percentage from one small process tweak. They just didn’t know about it.
Weston Lunsford: And that makes a huge difference.
Ryan Isaac: Massive.
Weston Lunsford: Let me just give you really quickly on reappointing. I’m just giving you easy numbers for easy math, but if you have 1,200 active patients. That’s a probably 800 to $1.2 million practice. So, 1,200 active patients and you’re seeing, on average, 20 new patients a month, which is also a very typical average practice increase. If your hygiene reappointment percentage was at 75% and you bumped it up just 10% to 85%. This is a small tweak. Five years from now, Ryan, your practice would have double, double the amount of active patients had you not tweaked that 75% hygiene reappointment to 85%.
Ryan Isaac: [crosstalk 00:30:17].
Weston Lunsford: I mean, when you think about that, that’s huge, especially when we get into your realm and what your organization and firm does when you think about retirement and what your practice is worth, to be able to, in five years, double the size of your patient base, that’s life changing.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah. And how that translates, too. I was actually just reading a fascinating article about that today about sometimes we, as consumers in the financial realm, have an obsession with price shopping things, whether it’s an interest rate on a loan of 10 BPS or it’s one money market’s 2.2. The other ones, 2.5, but really, if we went a little bit deeper and said, “If I just increase my savings rate this year by 2% or 10,000,” or something that’s … It’s significant but it feels a little bit small, that’s where real personal wealth is gained.
So if the practice is the engine of everything personal in a dentist’s financial life. So, if someone can make that small tweak 10% growth in reappointment and grow hygiene like that over five years, how that translates if someone’s really organized personally into a higher savings rate, I mean, that makes massive amounts of difference in the future and net worth.
Weston Lunsford: So, it’s pretty incredible, just these small little tweaks what it does for the long term. You’ve seen this because you’ve been in the industry for a while. We’ve been in the industry for a while and we looked at data all day long, but after about five to seven years, practices has just hit a plateau. They just flatline.
Now, here’s the crazy thing about being flat. They’re spending more money every year to stay flat. They’re staying flat and they don’t know why. They’ll start spending more and more money on marketing to try to get new patients in. Now, there’s been this cool phenomenon about social media marketing which is less expensive but at the same time, they’re spending a lot of money to stay flat. Why? Well, we’ll tell you why. We just need to look at it, evaluate, we can show you why you’re flat. It’s really easy small tweaks to change. Honestly, it’s eye-opening. I love it.
Ryan Isaac: So, let me go back to a few of these things you’ve mentioned. You kind of laid out the formula, which to me, seemed like really basic pillars of the first thing someone should be thoroughly understanding and measuring and tracking.
I’m curious. What are some of the triggers that cause a dentist to finally start … When do they hire you? What causes a dentist to finally go, “Okay. It’s time to know the numbers. It’s time to admit what’s happening on paper and let the numbers dictate some of our future actions.” What are some of the triggers that cause people to finally care about this stuff?
Weston Lunsford: Yeah. That’s a really good question. We have a couple different types of clientele, some that are on the front end of technology and so those are early adopters and everyone probably experiences that. They’re always wanting to try new things-
Ryan Isaac: It’s me.
Weston Lunsford: … to help accelerate their practice. So, I’m going to throw those guys out for a second. I love them because they help us pioneer this.
We have a really unique group of people that are reaching out and I think because Dental Intel has kind of paved the way of needed, of analytics and organizations. I mean, most people are hearing that concept now in dentistry where they need some form of data to really help them drive decision-making. So, we’re seeing a lot of younger dentists between their, probably, mid 30s to 45, 50, young 50s that are really running heavy with Dental Intel and they’re loving it. Their practices are seeing new heights.
So, right now triggers to people are, “Oh, I didn’t know this was available.” So, they find out it’s available now and so they’re reaching out to us. Or, they’re thinking, “I know I can do better than I’m doing today.” So, they just have this sixth sense inside them that they feel like their practice is probably not performing to the level it should be.
Here’s the good indicator. If you’re a private practice owner, take your compensation, include it in this number. So, take what you’re paying yourself but if the profits in what you’re paying yourself is not a minimum, minimum 40% of your collections, if it’s not minimum there, you have a lot of opportunity. We have a lot of practices after getting going, getting things fixed that they’re sitting at 50% profit margins, which is pretty darn good.
Ryan Isaac: Yeah. It’s huge.
Weston Lunsford: Every practice can get there. Now, that doesn’t mean you cut a bunch of expenses. The best way to get there is to grow a top line production, not cutting what you’re spending. But if you’re not 40 to 50%, there’s huge opportunity there for you.
People don’t understand that this information is accessible and available and if they get it and they start using it … This isn’t another tool we want someone to have to get busy with in a practice. Dental Intel is the intelligence that practices have not had. We want it to be their best friend in their practice, not to create more work for them. Just identify the opportunities that are already sitting here, right?
Ryan Isaac: Yeah.
Weston Lunsford: That’s our number one goal.
Ryan Isaac: Totally. Okay. So you bring up something that was on my mind I wanted to ask about, too, which is dentists, just by nature of the business they run, they already sit in front of reports and data and software and dashboards, right?
Weston Lunsford: Yeah.
Ryan Isaac: And we run into the same stuff, too because we’re putting more dashboards and more data and more reports in front of people. So, I know there’s people who struggle out there, who have it sitting there, like it’s sitting there in front of them but it’s not being used, you know?
Weston Lunsford: Yeah.
Ryan Isaac: How do you overcome that? How do you get someone to be like, “It’s right here, buddy. You just got to do it.”
Weston Lunsford: First of all, more data is not always good, just because it can be measured, doesn’t mean it should be measured.
Ryan Isaac: Totally.
Weston Lunsford: So, first and foremost … Now, if you ask everyone what they’re measuring, it’s collections, productions and new patients, right?
Ryan Isaac: Yup.
Weston Lunsford: Everyone’s looking at that but what does it do for you?
So, Dental Intel learned we had to hire a team of trainers that would help them understand A, what the data’s saying, and B, how to act on it. Even then, we had to take if further. So, we built in outside of our dashboards and the analytics what we call smart workflow automation tools and applications that’s included within our solution such as our morning huddle.
So, every morning, they come in and they walk through a morning huddle wizard now that guides them through what needs to happen with the patients. It’s almost like they’re waking up and they had a personal assistant working for them that night, telling them what they need to do that day to harvest more opportunity in the practice.
We have another application that’s called our follow-ups, where again, every single night, we’re identifying what patients need a phone call and why. We prioritize them by greatest opportunity. So, we’ve had to build out applications that are driven by data to basically lay it up in their hand to say, “Here’s the steps you need to take.”
So, what doctors and practices need to do is let go of their old methodologies of saying, “Here’s my status quo that I do every single day,” and allow analytics that says, “Here’s the greatest thing for you today. Let go of the old busyness and start doing the easy I’m going to trust the analytics.”
Once they finally do that. Once that paradigm shift occurs and they’re thinking, “Okay. Before my front desk was searching for these unscheduled patients and just scheduling anyone and everyone that was unscheduled,” because they needed to fill the schedule, too, “Oh, Dental Intel has a tool to be able to identify all my implant cases so that for the next six months, all I’m doing is implants and that’s it.”
Once that paradigm shift happens and they realize they don’t have to go search for these patients and we’re delivering it on a plate for them of what’s the smartest activity to engage in, then they just start acting on this every single day. The old ways, adopt technology. Dentists are the first to adopt clinical technology. It’s funny, right, if you think about that.
Ryan Isaac: And invest in it and … Oh, yeah.
Weston Lunsford: They invest a lot in it.
Ryan Isaac: Get behind it.
Weston Lunsford: They’re really slow to adopt business technology. It’s funny to me because some of this technology automates so many solutions but I think sometimes the team feels it’s a threat like, “Well, what’s going to happen to my job?” The reality is we just open up so much time.
Ryan Isaac: You get better.
Weston Lunsford: Yeah. You can spend more quality time with the patients and with other team members to make sure your performance is refined and better at what you want to be better at, which is patient care.
Ryan Isaac: So, we just had a podcast on this topic and probably get released soon about this idea that, especially in today’s day and age, there’s just things that machines and robots and software is just better at, but there’s also things that humans are better at. A lot of times, we get scared of the automating of things and the software that’s eating jobs but in reality, I like what you just said. If we can use software in our businesses, in our lives, in our companies to let machines do what they’re best at and then let humans do what they’re best at, we all get so much better. The businesses get so much better.
I love you saying that, too because that’s what you’re talking about. You’re talking about let the human being sitting in chairs that understand emotion and read feelings and see those kind of complex interpersonal communications, let them do the things you’re best at and let machines handle the data and the analytics and the smart, here, do this, do that kind of stuff.
Weston Lunsford: Right. Here’s the simplest way to put this in the dentists’ minds and in the schedulers’ and the office managers’ mind. If a hole opens up tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. so that’s less than 24 hours right now. I’m Mountain Standard Time and it’s 3:00 right now. So if a hole opens up at 2:00 p.m., you’ve got less than 24 hours to get that thing scheduled now.
So what ends up happening is a human being will originally first go to either Post-it notes or their ASAP list that they have in their practice management software and they’ll start identifying, based off of what’s in their mind and what they’re looking at on those patients who’s best to schedule and they’ll likely fill the hole. It, A, took time, and B, did they really get who’s best for that schedule?
So, here’s what Dental Intel’s done. We analyze all your unscheduled patients. If you click on that hole in Dental Intel on that schedule, we’re going to give you a list of patients who are best for that and we’re going to rank them in order. It might list 200 of them but they’re absolutely ranked by a score in order for who’s best at that time at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow. We’re evaluating being such as. You ready for this? Their treatment acceptance percentage. How likely are they to say, “Yes,” to treatment?
Ryan Isaac: Wow!
Weston Lunsford: Their show rate percentage. Their fee schedule.
So, we’re looking at, if I’m calling patients and I have one that has a much better reimbursement and contracted rate than the other insurance schedule, then let’s focus on the higher one. Their annual value, like what is the value of that patient to this practice? When are they really due or not due? We even look at have they been in on Wednesdays in the afternoon before because if they have, then they have a higher priority of making that phone call because I know that they can make that appointment time work. So, we give this scoring mechanism. Now, if you think about evaluating all that analytic for a human being to do.
Ryan Isaac: You couldn’t. It’s too inefficient. No.
Weston Lunsford: Yeah. Before they even got the list created, their time would be up and they wouldn’t make a phone call. In Dental Intel, they click on that hour and immediately that list is there within 15 seconds.
So, data and technology today allows for team members to be so much more efficient and profitable and perform at levels that they never thought possible before. We love that. I love it. So, it’s our favorite thing to do. We’re constantly looking at ways to re-engineer and evaluate and identify in more and more efficiencies as every day that goes by, our team of engineers constantly evaluating this stuff.
Ryan Isaac: Can you tell us a little bit about how do we get in touch with you if someone needs to schedule a free demo or consultation? How do they do that? You said to slide into the DMs and tell you some things earlier. So, how can they find you on social and then tell us about your coaching mastery summit that’s coming up in a few months.
Weston Lunsford: Okay. We do have a coaching mastery … Okay. Let’s go in order. First of all, we want to-
Ryan Isaac: [inaudible 00:42:56],
Weston Lunsford: … find out about Dental Intel, let’s do something fun for your listeners, Ryan. If you’re listening to this and within the next two weeks, when are you releasing, so I can mark this down?
Ryan Isaac: I’ll bet this goes out next Wednesday. So, what would that be?
Weston Lunsford: Okay. Let’s just say by the end of July, then. If respond by the end of July,-
Ryan Isaac: It’s fair.
Weston Lunsford: … we will do what’s called a free practice analysis where we install, and it takes literally five minutes. We won’t charge for this. Normally, our setup fee’s a thousand dollars, so we’ll waive it. And I’m not saying you’re going to have to buy Dental Intel. I don’t care. I just want you to see what’s going on in your practice.
So, if you reach out to us by the end of July, we’ll do a free installation. We’ll give you two things. One, a practice review with one of our executives where they’ll go through and show you the opportunities of your practice and identify three of the greatest opportunities for you to execute on in this third and fourth quarter. Two, I’ll have them generate what we call your go-to patient list so whatever your favorite treatment is, doctor, whatever it is, you tell them what it is and we’ll, within 30 seconds, run a report that show you all the unscheduled treatment that was presented in whatever past time period you want to look at. If it’s six months, three months, two months, last week, and we’ll give you a list of those patients and show you how easy it is to use intelligence to start focusing on the right patients that call on your practice. So, we’ll give you those two things at no cost, just for fun. If you want to get that, I’m going to give you a link, Ryan, to put in the show notes.
Ryan Isaac: Put it in there. Yup.
Weston Lunsford: You can go click on the link. That’d be the easiest. If not, then they need to make sure they bring up your podcast and I’ll go tell my executives that when they reach out either on the website, so that they go to dentalintel.com, fill out a see a live demo or whatever in a form. The moment they get on the phone with one of my account executives, make sure they bring up this offer that I’m mentioning on this podcast.
Ryan Isaac: Cool!
Weston Lunsford: They won’t try to get any money from them because I think the last thing that your doctors want is to be sold on it. So, if they bring that up and let them know that this offer and I’ll make sure I go and let that team know this as well.
Ryan Isaac: Great.
Weston Lunsford: Or, if you just want to private message me, you can email me. I love, love, talking with dentists. So, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, W-E-S-T-O-N, pretty easy, or, if you’re a Facebook person, you can go search for me, Weston Lunsford and direct message me. I probably spend two hours a day direct messaging dentists on my Facebook Messenger because that’s-
Ryan Isaac: Awesome.
Weston Lunsford: … [crosstalk 00:45:34] we communicate.
Ryan Isaac: Awesome.
Weston Lunsford: So, we do have a coaching mastery summit coming up. This is if there’s any coaches listening to this. This is by invite only, so if you want invited to this, you can reach out to us. Just send me an email as well. Last summit, I think we had just over 100 coaches there. These are coaches that work with multiple practices in the industry. We help educate them on data analytics and how to use data to be able to help them identify the opportunities and what they can be working on with the practices that they coach each year. This is on September 22nd. Goes through the 24th at a beautiful, I’d say, “Ski resort,” but-
Ryan Isaac: It’s amazing.
Weston Lunsford: … it’s not skiing season, but it’s still up in the mountains.
Ryan Isaac: It is so gorgeous that time of year, man. Last year was unbelievable.
Weston Lunsford: Yeah. It’s a lot of fun. I don’t know what I can announce about it right now because it’s out of my control.
Ryan Isaac: It’s going to be awesome.
Weston Lunsford: It is going to be awesome.
Ryan Isaac: [crosstalk 00:46:278].
Weston Lunsford: So, if you’re a coach looking for it, make sure you register for that or if you’re not been invited yet, reach out to me, and we can talk about how you can get an invite for that.
Ryan Isaac: Okay. I’m also going to make a little plug. I think you guys make the coolest T-shirts in the industry right now.
Weston Lunsford: Oh, thanks. We do have a bunch of swag. If you want those, too, send me an email. I’ll get you some fun shirts. Future dentistry shirts. They’re awesome.
Ryan Isaac: You seriously, guys, have the coolest T-shirts and they’re always gone when I’m at events with you guys. I’m like, “Where’d the T-shirts go?”
Well, Weston, thanks for joining us on the show today. I thought this was a really informative podcast today. So much to digest here. So, thanks for spending the time. Best of luck to you guys. You guys are doing awesome things and we’ll talk to you later.
Weston Lunsford: Thanks, Ryan. Have a good one.
Ryan Isaac: Thanks, man.Work Life Balance