Dental Intelligence is a popular web-based analytics platform that provides dental practices with easily digestible reports and dashboards. By aggregating each practice's relevant metrics in one convenient location, Dental Intelligence enables thousands of dentists to make actionable, data-driven decisions that help patients receive better care. Dental Intelligence currently has 26 employees, including 6 data analysts who can help you interpret your data and use it to make intelligent data-driven decisions, and 7 software engineers developing the product.
Dental Intelligence's History
CEO Weston Lunsford founded Dental Intelligence in 2012. The company originally served as a dental practice management consulting firm, helping practices optimize their profitability by analyzing their data onsite. When they realized that doing these processes manually limited the number of dental practices that they could help, the company decided to build a web-based analytics platform using the SaaS (Software as a Service) business model to improve their reach and scale.
Though Dental Intelligence serves both multi-location practices as well as private practices, Dental Intelligence created their product with private practices in mind. This is because solo practitioners often lack the business background to understand what metrics they should look at, and how to interpret their data. Based on the company's findings as onsite consultants, they were seeing that many dentists were in the dark, by not looking at their data at all, or by only looking at the data when it was too late. As a result, in 2014 the company decided to build their web-based analytics platform to help educate solo practitioners about the benefits of data, and help them understand how data can be leveraged to improve their bottom line.
How Does Dental Intelligence Work?
We'll walk through Dental Intelligence's workflow, which is intuitive and happens mostly behind the scenes.
Dental Intelligence works by connecting with your practice management software, and extracting raw data from the system in order to generate reports and dashboards. Though Dental Intelligence doesn't integrate with every practice management system, it integrates with many of the most popular systems, like Dentrix, Eaglesoft, and Open Dental. It also integrates with QuickBooks to give you a complete picture of your financial performance. Note that Dental Intelligence has a partnership with Open Dental, where Dental Intelligence users who are interested in switching to Open Dental can get their Open Dental subscription for free (which normally costs about $100/month).
If you use one of these systems, you can contact Dental Intelligence for a free trial, where they'll set up a dashboard using your actual data, which can be done in about 15 minutes.
Generating Reports & Dashboards
Once Dental Intelligence is able to sync with your practice management system, it calculates various metrics directly from raw transactional data, and displays them in easy-to-digest dashboards and reports that put the data right in front of you. You can customize the dashboard for each employee, so that it displays the specific metrics that are relevant to the user. This is an important capability, since if your practice is operating efficiently, different employees should have different goals, and different metrics that they're focused on. For example, the front desk should be responsible for reducing cancellations and no-shows, as well as for increasing patient recall, whereas the doctor might want to look at the number of treatment plans that they're prescribing and the treatment plan acceptance rate. Having too much data in front of users can be a distraction, so Dental Intelligence only wants to display the relevant information for each specific user.
In addition to providing a metrics dashboard for your practice, Dental Intelligence also enables you to analyze performance by provider. This offers an even more granular view, which helps you identify opportunities of improvement for each individual, even when in aggregate your practice may be performing well.
While this is nice, and it gives you an idea of who is overperforming or underperforming, it doesn't necessarily give you actionable insights. In order to gain some insights about what can be improved, you would have to look at more granular metrics. One important metric to consider, for example, would be the success rate of phone calls for hygiene recare. Fortunately, Dental Intelligence keeps track of this metric for each team member, and actually maps each successful call to a dollar amount. This lets you monitor the efficiency of your calls, and helps you understand how much each phone call is worth.
The report above shows that this practice was averaging $61 of revenue for each phone call that it made to prospective hygiene recare patients (which likely means that the practice should try to spend a lot more time on the phone).
Doesn't My Dental Practice Management Software Generate These Reports?
There's no practice management system on the market that easily aggregates all of this data into one convenient dashboard. Many systems will not even expose all of the metrics that Dental Intelligence generates, and even if they do, you'd have to look at several disparate reports in order to get all of the information provided in Dental Intelligence's dashboard. Since Dental Intelligence generates its reports based off of raw transactional data, it has the flexibility to generate any metric that matters to dental practices, regardless of whether your practice management system exposes it or not.
Dental Intelligence makes it easy for you to analyze the data, and encourages everyone in your practice to look at the data regularly. This not only helps users discover inefficiencies in their practice, but it also helps employees focus on specific goals that are aligned with improving the business, and motivates employees to help hit their goals. When the practice hits its goals, it becomes evident to everyone, and makes them feel good about the work that they're doing, improving employee satisfaction.
Interpreting Dental Data & Making Data-Driven Decisions
Generating these informative dashboards helps you analyze your data and discover actionable insights to improve your dental practice's bottom line. To help you interpret the data and decide how you can leverage any insights that it reveals, you can speak with one of Dental Intelligence's analysts. The analysts are all trained in understanding the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) in dental practices, and understand what needs to be done in order to improve various metrics.
Most users find that they need a lot of interaction with the analyst when they first begin working with Dental Intelligence. However, as time goes on, users depend less and less on the analyst, since they're eventually able to identify and interpret problematic metrics on their own.
An added benefit of working with Dental Intelligence's analysts is that they can help you benchmark your practice. For example, if you saw that your hygiene reappointment percentage was 70%, it's difficult to know whether that's exceptionally high, average, or incredibly low compared to other practices. (It turns out, based on Dental Intelligence's data, that this is a bit low, since the median out of Dental Intelligence's clients is about 78%.) This is why you need a benchmark. Since Dental Intelligence works with many practices, it's able to provide you with aggregate statistics gathered from its large customer base, so that you can know how your metrics rank in comparison with other practices. Dental Intelligence also has plans to release benchmarks by location, which will be useful since these metrics may vary widely, especially when comparing practices in large cities to practices in smaller suburbs.
Once you have the reports in front of you, the information can be used to make immediate decisions that determine your day's priorities, as well as to make longer-term strategic decisions.
Prioritizing the Day
Some of Dental Intelligence's reports are meant to help make immediate decisions that should help prioritize day-to-day tasks. For example, the "Follow Ups" report shows the patients that currently require follow up, and also assigns an estimated dollar amount to each patient, based on their previous 12 months of dental treatments. This is useful, since it enables team members to prioritize the patients that they follow up with, based on the patient's estimated revenue.
Dental Intelligence also offers a "Morning Huddle" report, which is designed to give dentists and staff an overview of the day to come. The Team Huddle Report gives a nice overview of the day's financial performance for each provider, as well as the number of patients that each provider will be seeing.
At a more granular level, the Morning Huddle also gives each provider an overview of their appointments for the day, along with any important notes. For example, in the screenshot below, you can see that some new patients aren't currently scheduled for future hygiene appointments. This suggests that the provider should try to get these patients scheduled for future hygiene visits.
Making Longer-Term Strategic Decisions
In order to make longer-term data-driven decisions, you can look at any of the various metrics that Dental Intelligence keeps track of, and look for metrics that are on a downward trend, or are substantially below their benchmark. For example, treatment plan acceptance rate is a powerful metric that can tell you a lot about a dentist. In the screenshot below, the top-performing hygienist has a 72% treatment acceptance rate, but only presented $6,251 worth of treatments.
This may indicate that the hygienist is strong at selling treatments, but is not selling enough (especially compared to the other hygienists on the team, who are presenting $40k and $51k worth of treatments.) On the other hand, the hygienist with a 42% treatment acceptance rate may want to reconsider their approach when presenting treatments to patients -- it's possible that they could use some coaching here.
It's important to understand however, that many of these metrics impact each other. That is, changing one metric may cause another to drop. This is why you must be cautious when interpreting the data, and why Dental Intelligence's analysts are needed in order to make sure that you're making the best decisions possible. Once you've gained enough experience, and have a better understanding of how the different metrics impact each other, you'll be able to confidently make these decisions on your own.
Is Dental Intelligence Right For You?
We firmly believe that every practice can benefit by taking a more data-driven approach to optimizing their business. This is the only way you can really identify opportunities for improvement, and create actionable insights. Many practices rely on their intuition in order to identify problem areas, but this is not enough -- there are too many things happening behind the scenes that can cause you to miss out on big opportunities for growth if you're not looking at the data.
Taking a data-driven approach to optimizing your practice is an excellent idea, no matter how you end up doing it. But Dental Intelligence organizes all of the relevant data for you in one central location, so that you can easily access any relevant metric. In addition, Dental Intelligence's analysts can help train you to interpret your data, so that you can confidently make the best data-driven decisions possible.
As long as your practice has a substantial customer base (and enough data to make analysis worthwhile), we think that Dental Intelligence can easily pay for itself. For this reason, we'd highly recommend signing up for a free demo where Dental Intelligence can create a dashboard for you using your practice's actual data. There's minimal risk in doing so, and if you're able to uncover some new insights about your practice, then that's a good indication that you'll benefit from Dental Intelligence in the long run. In addition to seeing a positive ROI, by helping employees focus on specific goals and metrics, you'll be able to provide better treatment for patients, and also help motivate employees and increase morale.