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Dr. Lou Shuman is the CEO of Cellerant Consulting Group, dentistry’s leading corporate incubator and accelerator; a venturer-in-residence at Harvard’s i-Lab; the chairman of the technology advisory board at WEO Media; a long-time contributor to Dental Products Report; and the founder and creator of the Cellerant Best of Class Technology Awards.
How a new OS is changing the way practices work.
The dental practice thrives on new patients and high case acceptance, but what does that mean for the business and those who run it? It means a fuller appointment book and less time.
Many practices just don’t have the time or resources to focus on those tasks that can always be put off for later in favor of more pressing concerns. That’s why Cory Frogley, a chiropractic practice owner, created his own practice operating system, BlueIQ, to see where the practice was struggling, where it was meeting expectations and where it was “in the blue.”
You were a practicing chiropractor when you created this software for your practice. Why did you create the software yourself?
As a multidisciplinary practice owner, I struggled with knowing my numbers in real time. The practice was so busy that it wasn’t going back in time to handle lost patients or smaller account balances.
We were also struggling to hire the right team members because we hadn’t really clarified our vision, and when systems aren’t clearly defined, you have team members trying to do the best they can with the knowledge they have, so nobody is really marching toward a clear goal.
I also wanted to maximize patient engagement, build a culture to attract class-A level team members who want to stay with the organization, and control operating costs.
In dentistry, it’s not just the work that sets practices apart - it’s also about their business skills. I’ve seen incredible dental locations where the dentistry isn’t that great, but their business of dentistry is so good that they’re profitable. I’ve also seen incredible dentists not make much money because their business-of-dentistry skills aren’t great.
How does software help you meet your goals?
This software gives you the skills to master the business of dentistry. It breaks the practice down into fundamental systems, so you can see where you’ve been and set benchmarks by establishing projections of where you’re going.
Then we simply break down the performance of a team member. We can assign team members to specific metrics that they’re responsible and accountable for. It colorizes it, meaning that if their performance is in the green, then they should get their paycheck and probably a little extra at the end of the month. If they’re in the blue, and that’s why we’re BlueIQ, we’re more than profitable. But if we’re yellow, we’re still paying our bills, but we’re not meeting expectations. And if we’re red, we either have a broken system or we have the wrong team member in the wrong position, and that needs to be dealt with.
We start with the data because the data measures all the systems in a practice and tells us what’s working and what’s not. Our system gets the data to who needs it when they need it and also notifies the office manager (or the executive team of a DSO) of which location needs you, where they need you and how bad they need you based on how the data’s performing.
How do you see the team using this?
Each team member will engage with BlueIQ based on his or her role in the practice. In morning huddle, they pull up morning insights and optimize their daily schedule. Because it’s a business platform, it’s giving each person the data that he or she needs in order to optimize his or her performance.
Once they understand where their greatest profitability is coming from, as a team, they can have those discussions and know which campaign brings the highest conversion on case acceptance, for instance. That’s why data has to be the heartbeat of all the systems in the practice - to see which systems are working and which ones aren’t.
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Is this solution designed for single-location practices or DSOs?
Both. Single-location practices are getting nickel and dimed as software moves to a SaaS (software as a service) model. No longer can you buy an application and implement it into your practice like the olden days. While you have to subscribe to a software, it’s in the end user’s best benefit because software is advancing so fast. To pay for the upgrades all the time would be silly.
But again, there are so many softwares and opportunities that these dentists find themselves spending a couple thousand dollars a month now in this recurring subscription that they didn’t have five years ago. Because these tech companies out there are solving one problem at a time, you have to bring all of these subscriptions together to piecemeal a business operating system.
It’s also good for DSOs. Because of the evolution that’s happening in the DSO space, you have these huge DSOs that have systematized it. They can open up their next location pretty easily, but these small to medium DSOs are tripping over themselves trying to create systems that are easily copied in the next location (or even in the three to 10 locations they have). BlueIQ helps you standardize those systems so that any team member can master and duplicate the fundamentals as they’re opening or acquiring that new location.
Why is BlueIQ different from comparable options on the market?
This platform aligns everybody into a single operating system with a clear vision, clear goals and clear systems to get there.
We call it digestible data. We’ll feed you the data that you need, and we’ll show you when you need to look at it and when to act on it. Offices are loving the automated reports and alerts because it’s there if they want it, but they’re not missing out by not logging in all the time. Because it’s cloud-based, the tech- savvy operators can geek out over it from any browser connection.
It also helps create a culture where team members have an ownership mentality because when they have a concept of growth mentality, they make decisions like an owner would.
And all of the metrics are fully customizable for each practice, so office managers can turn BlueIQ on and instantly free up two to four hours a day out of their workload because the data is going to the right places at the right time. They look like superheroes because they’re suddenly able to spend their time producing and training rather than gathering data, and everyone else in the practice is able to focus on what they need to when they need to.