Automating Practice Tasks Aims to Improve Productivity, Bottom Line

October 29, 2020
Paul Intlekofer, JD, MBA

Paul Intlekofer is President of SFP Capital, a VC firm, and CEO of MMG Fusion, LLC, a software company helping dentists manage, market and grow their practice. He holds a BA in economics from Johns Hopkins and a JD/MBA from Maryland. Paul has helped start-ups, emerging companies, and public companies create innovative products and achieve significant growth. Paul was also a founding member of an internet/technology start-up, rdental, LLC, which was ultimately acquired by WebMD, and became WebDDS. Paul started out as an attorney with Venable, LLP.

Dental Products Report, Dental Products Report November 2020, Volume 54, Issue 11

MMG Fusion built a system for making office growth automatic and staff more productive.

MMG Fusion has designed an online system to better market, manage, and grow dental practices. The system is designed to attract new patients, improve their experience, and facilitate daily tasks.

MMG Fusion was developed based on analysis and understanding of dentistry compared with large consumer product or retail businesses.

Common goals:

  • Motivating someone to choose one business over the competition
  • Making it easy for someone to decide to buy or schedule
  • Creating a positive experience and repeat business
  • Making people willing to share positive reviews

Differences:

  • Most of a dentist’s work involves specialized clinical care, with limited time for management.
  • Dental office employees are not marketing experts.
  • Dentists cannot access resources of larger public companies.

Practices can achieve the marketing and operational success of larger companies via automated software technology with machine learning. MMG Fusion’s products are customized for the dental profession and designed to work as one system that understands the dental market, patient behavior, staff, and office workflow.

The MMG Fusion system was designed with input from dental opinion leaders, office owners, experienced executives, and software engineers. The company’s chief product officer (and lead software engineer) owns four dental offices. This allowed MMG to test and refine products in multiple locations with different dynamics to create an optimized system easy for staff to use and implement.

Step 1: Attracting Patients

MMG’s Market Suite helps practices to be visible online, to be chosen from among competitors, and to easily make new patient appointments. The principles applicable to large companies with big marketing budgets also work in growing a dental practice, and now the resources to do so are available in one place. Those principles and matching MMG tools include:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO) and directories help a practice get noticed because 85% of patients look online for a new dentist.
  • MMG offers levels of websites that provide value and results for any type of practice, because it is important for a website to make a positive first impression.
  • MMG manages SEO and Pay-Per-Click advertising for any size practice, because digital ads using Facebook or Google AdWords are important.
  • MMG’s ChairFill automatically creates personalized ads and targeted marketing campaigns.
  • MMG’s Reputation Management makes sure a first impression is the best it can be, because positive reviews are important.
  • MMG’s Call Analysis/Call Conversion tool helps ensure that staff members are converting calls.
  • MMG’s system makes it easy to schedule an appointment online.
  • MMG’s Marketing Tracker allows practices to make more informed decisions, so advertising money is spent on what works.

Each component of the Market Suite builds from the next. MMG Fusion’s integrated system amplifies practice results, so 1 + 1 + 1 does not necessarily equal 3, but possibly 4 or 5.

Step 2: Focus on Patient Experience

Attracting new patients is crucial, as is keeping them and giving them a great experience. The first step in that process is the patient’s selection of a dental practice. When it comes to making this decision, 86% of potential patients read reviews before selecting a dentist.

Managing Reputation

MMG Fusion’s reputation management tool monitors 13 review sites in its dashboard and offers weekly and monthly reports for download or distribution via email. Patients automatically receive review requests via text, email, or a combination, which is based on best practices.

Practices can segment which patients receive review requests based on prior interactions and appointment type. This allows a dentist to delay sending that request until after the treatment plan is complete. The platform offers methods to improve patient response and consistently increase review quality and quantity.

MMG’s reputation management tool also collects patient feedback through customizable internal surveys. Practices can use this as a benchmarking tool and to measure net promoter score, a core key performance indicator for many clients.

Patient Benefits of Online Scheduling

If the option exists, 85% of patients would set up an appointment online. Ease and convenience of scheduling an appointment are crucial. On average, patients scheduling with the MMG Fusion tool can find and choose an opening and confirm their selection in less than 60 seconds.

Online scheduling should be available on a dental website. Through MMG, links can be generated to schedule anywhere there is a digital presence, including email, text messages, social media, or local directories. The goal is for a patient never to be more than one click from scheduling. Seventy-five percent of online appointments are booked between 5 PM and 8 AM. Without the option to schedule online, many potential patients will choose a different dentist.

A Portal Improves Patient Experience
Having a streamlined enrollment process for new patients creates a great experience. MMG’s Patient Portal is a paperless system that saves time with new patient registration. Patients may e-sign a consent form, complete and update their dental and health history and use online scheduling, check insurance eligibility, make payments online, and get Uber rides. Such convenience leads to patient satisfaction and retention.

Improving Case Acceptance

MMG’s Patient Portal gets patients more involved in managing their oral health by using a personalized oral health score which puts open treatment plans front and center. The sliding scoring system makes it fun and engaging for patients and keeps them focused on coming back for treatment and increasing their score.

Using artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D imagery, patients can see completed work and what treatment plans are still open. By educating patients with visual cues and engaging them through personalized information in their Oral Health Score, patients achieve better outcomes.

Experiences that Engage Patients

MMG Fusion’s Patient Engagement tool, integrated with practice management software, allows practices to communicate with patients via email, text, or voice calls to send appointment reminder and confirmation requests.

In addition to reminders, confirmation requests, and recall messaging, this tool generates one-time campaigns offering practices the potential for enormous return on investment (ROI). Year-end benefit reminder campaigns, new service announcements, and more can be customized with the assistance of a dedicated account manager. HTML files can be uploaded to the content library, with those messages being scheduled for distribution.

Nearly every MMG client used this tool to stay connected with patients during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, to communicate practice status updates and to share new check-in and check-out procedures.

Targeted, Personal Marketing

In today’s digital marketing environment, the ability to target and customize marketing allows businesses and offices to think in new ways. Targeted, customized marketing is used effectively by large companies. MMG’s “Grow Suite” includes ChairFill and Marketing Tracker. These give a small dental practice the capability to search for specific patients with unfinished treatment and to deliver customized emails, texts, videos, and promotions in order to optimize schedules and maximize growth.

STEP 3: Machine learning With Virtual Office Assistant, Ava

MMG’s Manage Suite was designed to help automate practices and increase productivity. It starts with Ava, a virtual office assistant. The customized MMG Unified Communication system allows for easier communication, including a patient screen pop and every conceivable phone system feature. It allows robust, intuitive collaboration among staff. A Task Management function assigns responsibilities and measures completeness.

The foundation of the MMG Unified Communications is a tool connecting the staff, allowing them to engage in conversations via text, email, or webchat to obtain and share important information and further enhance patient experience. Email and SMS messages are sent and captured from the patient’s profile page, creating an electronic paper trail, and staff can attach files and forms to send to patients to review.

Similar to an interoffice communication tool like Slack, team members can also collaborate and share internal messages on a patient’s profile, whether to ask for support or update a on a completed task. These messages are color-coded and only visible by practice team members and the hierarchy of users within the enterprise.

Using screen pops to alert users of new messages, staff can be notified within the MMG Fusion dashboard or on their desktop. The screen pops add to the efficiency of the Unified Communications platform by reducing the number of clicks needed to get to the reply, making it easy for staff to access the communication history.

With webchat enabled, messages from potential and existing patients also pop up in the dashboard and responses can be sent back from the same screen. If there aren’t any team members available to reply, Ava’s AI webchat tool requests contact information from the visitor and creates a follow up task for a member of the team. This information is populated into the patient profile allowing the team member to plan ahead.

MMG uses Ava’s AI to assume and assign office responsibilities. Ava detects outstanding tasks and tries to perform those tasks automatically. If Ava can’t, Ava creates a task for the right staff member, and then tracks the task to completion. For example, Ava can create a task for staff to call a patient to reschedule when a patient cancels an appointment and doesn’t use the online schedule tool to rebook. As tasks are assigned, they’re added to the performance reports for each staff member so ongoing training can be effectively provided, as necessary.

Ava provides dentists and their staff with all the tools needed to manage any practice, lower overhead, motivate staff, and improve patient experience. Ava works with staff, and with the practice’s other software tools, to allow dentists to focus on treatment and care. Ava helps turn the Monday morning huddle into a shorter, more productive meeting. MMG’s Market Suite, Manage (Ava) Suite and Growth Suite (ChairFill) does it all for a practice.

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