The current hiring crisis in dentistry has been well documented… and is growing every day. The number of dental practices that have open positions is staggering, with data from the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute showing that more than 80% of hiring dentists find hygienist and assistant recruitment extremely or very challenging.
With the hiring crisis impacting so many businesses, more and more dental practices are finding creative ways to fill their current staffing openings, with team members often asked to lend a hand to make sure everything that needs to get done is actually done during the course of the day. Teams are staying later to get work done, and they’re often bringing the stress home with them, causing them to not find the fulfillment in their job they once did. Mentally and physically, the hiring crisis is stretching the dental practice’s resources and the patience of many team members and dentists.
With all of that in mind, could artificial intelligence and automating certain tasks actually be an answer to help take some of the pressure out of the current situation? Vijay Sikka, founder of sikka.ai, believes it’s very possible.
“Artificial intelligence has been helping all of us in our everyday lives, and its capabilities are starting to become better and more understood,” Sikka said. “AI’s emergence into dentistry and its potential to help both patient care and improve the quality of life for dentists is now becoming real.”
One possible way artificial intelligence could help the dental practice is with an AI -based solution like Sikka. Ai’s Self-Driving Practice®. A state of the art “un-product,” it allows the doctor – as CEO of the practice – to focus on patient care and never have to worry about the business side. Functionality includes setting goals for the day, week, month, quarter, or year, and automating a list of tasks where each person in the practice knows his or her responsibilities and progress reports toward the goal are regularly issued. Using best practices from other dental businesses around the country and the data that is already being collected by the practice itself, realistic goals and expectations can be set, minimizing the time needed to discuss topics in morning huddles.
There is also the opportunity for AI to help when it comes to integrating smart chatbots to connect with patients and help them automatically schedule appointments without the need to call in. Self-Driving Practice is a next- generation return on investment tool that, while it feels like it’s from the future, is a snap to use today with little to no training required. It understands exactly where the doctor wishes to get to in revenue, and then selectively finds new patients or new treatments on existing patients. It doesn’t overlap with birthday reminder or appointment reminder programs that you may currently be using. In fact, they co-exist seamlessly.
“What we’ve seen is that the patient receives the same postcard or email or text message as a reminder from the practice, whether a computer sends it or it’s sent by a human being,” Sikka said. “The patient never knows the difference, but the practice absolutely does because that task is taken off someone’s plate, freeing them up to do other things.”
With an AI platform like Self-Driving Practice working with the software already in use by the practice, tasks can be automated and those team members who are bouncing between assignments can focus on the tasks that produce the most revenue for the practice, including caring for patients sitting in the chair. In fact, sikka.ai guarantees you’ll see a 500% return on your investment or they’ll refund your money.
Can AI replace team members? No, and that’s not the goal, Sikka says. It’s more about working efficiently rather than cutting back on the workforce.
“In the hundreds of practices we work with, we see first-hand that a happy team is a productive team,” Sikka said. “AI’s goal within the dental space should be to make the business the best it can be, and that means making it as efficient as it can be.”
For more information on sikka.ai’s Self-Driving Practice and its capabilities built around AI, click here to learn more.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin Henry, with more than 20 years in the dental publishing industry, is the former group editorial director for Dental Products Report, managing editor for Dental Economics and editor-in-chief for DrBicuspid.com. He now serves as the co-founder for IgniteDA, a community designed to empower, enlighten, and educate dental assistants. He is also certified as a DiSC trainer, helping dental practices learn how to understand each other better through personality assessments and training.
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Featured Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash