In this edition of "Talking Multi-Practice Management" we speak with RevenueWell founder Alex Nudel and Enterprise Account Executive Samantha Aponte about the power of automated patient communication.
Multi-practice management comes with many rewards, but also many challenges. In a recent, wide-ranging interview, RevenueWell founder Alex Nudel sat down with Enterprise Account Executive Samantha Aponte to discuss life as a multi-practice manager. From operations to compliance to marketing, Alex and Sam covered a myriad of topics. As the conversation meandered, they always, inevitably circled back to how automatic communications can alleviate the stresses that come with overseeing multiple practices.
Below is a transcript of their conversation.
Alex Nudel (AN): I am excited to spend a little bit of time with our DSO and MSO expert. We're talking to Samantha Aponte, and we're going to be covering some amazing topics. Sam, how are you?
Samantha Aponte (SA): Good. How are you, Nudel?
AN: I'm doing great. I'm gonna ask you a couple of questions, so out of the gate how does RevenueWell save time for practices?
SA: So, RevenueWell actually automates a lot of the critical, but mundane, tasks of, you know, having their staff members call out to patients for recall, for recare, maybe outstanding treatment, or maybe even the follow-up on post-op, for example. And that's all on top of the insurance calls that we have to make, or voicemails we have to leave — maybe callbacks. And the problem there is we could have new patients calling in, which, as you know, a new patient can pretty much get it and be a great opportunity for our practice.
So, by limiting the number of phone calls, reducing the number of phone calls, RevenueWell can automate those tasks for the staff members, alleviating the phone line so that those new patients can call in and schedule.
We want to maximize the patient experience, because that’s going to boost retention
But, we can also maximize the way we communicate with people. Not everybody can answer the phone all day. [If] my dentist calls me right now, I can't [answer]. I'm working with you until 5:00 today. If somebody texts or emails me, though, there's a good chance I can go ahead and reply back with two-way messaging or, you know, just shoot an email and talk about when I can come back in.
So, RevenueWell automates a lot of those tasks [so offices can] spend that time to focus on those patients that are in the practice. We want to maximize the patient experience, because that's going to boost retention at the end of the day. Which also ties into the brand. It ties into how you make your patients feel. If they love you, they're gonna talk about you to their friends, their family, and their co-workers. So, it all kind of combines into one, but in a nutshell, RevenueWell can streamline those manual tasks for staff members.
AN: All right. You said a lot of different things that are very important to a practice. So, I agree with you. By being able to automate certain tasks, one is to make sure that any patient that does not have a future appointment for recare, that we automate the recall protocol so we can communicate to as many patients as possible. I would even be able to use the 80/20 rule that 80% of the patients that do not have an appointment should communicate to a practice by email or text.
You also mentioned reactivation. And these are patients who have not been in an office for a certain amount of time. So, after you do your recall protocol through RevenueWell, you then also filter those patients who haven't been in the office within a certain amount of time, which is really important, I think.[With] RevenueWell, we no longer look at the last time they had a recall or recare. We're looking for the last time they were in the practice, period. And we like to start early because most offices start at 24 months. By that time, I have a feeling that you already lost your patient. And it's gonna be just that much more difficult to get them back where at 9, 12, 15 months, we have a lot better chance of getting them back.
AN: You talk about being able to focus on the patient in front of you. I think that is the most important thing. There are only two different types of patients in every practice: they either have an appointment or they don't. A dental practice [is] really awesome in dealing with patients that are in front of them and that have appointments and they can deal with whatever they need.
80% of the patients that do not have an appointment should communicate to a practice by email or text
But at the same time, it's no longer acceptable to ask a patient to hold on because you're on the phone with somebody, and it's no longer acceptable not to answer that new patient call that you spoke about, because if you're spending money on marketing, which you are, especially if you're a DSO, you're spending a lot of money on marketing, you need to be able to have the time to spend on the phone with the patient. Because if you're gonna be abrupt, they will think that everything in your office is abrupt.
SA: Yeah, absolutely. At the end of the day, it's a combination of reducing the amount of manual tasks, but also at the same time, boosting production. So, it's a great way to help build your brand especially if we are a DSO or a dental group looking to grow. It's a great way to help you scale without needing a ton of manual hours put into those tasks.
AN: Yes. I love the word, production, but there's a word that I love more than production. Do you want to know what this is? My favorite word is, I don't care how much we produce, it's about how much we collect. So, increasing the collection is what we're actually after. There are many different things inside RevenueWell that will help you communicate to the patient [and help them] to understand that when they get these services, they actually have to pay you.
SA: And we have a payment processing feature, so to collect those outstanding payments and you can throw a hyperlink on your website. So, if I can't receive a phone call on a Sunday when I like to do my bills, I can just go online.
AN: That is important, giving the patients access, because regardless of who we are, where we work, we are also patients. And so, we look at things from a patient's point of view quite often and if we can make things simpler for them, ultimately things become much simpler for us as well.
SA: Yes. Absolutely. Anything that's more accessible is always better.
AN: So, let's talk about something that is really important, and let's talk about compliance and liability and risk. How does RevenueWell reduce the risks and liability and how do we make our offices more compliant?
SA: With the RevenueWell system, there are a couple of features that we do enable, whether it's for an individual practice or a dental group.So, if we are an individual practice and we're logging into RevenueWell trying to send a text or an email, we do already have kind of general warnings and tips about TCPA standards — what we can and can't market to, and that's what made it easier actually to target market the appropriate patients and simply educate them, as opposed to trying to sell something.
Now, if we're talking about the enterprise portal, we take it a step back. We talk about the master login, where we can market across multiple locations. We can also oversee what the activity is or what we're actually sending out. If we have a new staff member onboard or a new team onboard, and we want to limit certain user access, we can. So that way, that new staff member doesn't accidentally market incorrectly or violate TCPA standards. We can actually limit user access so that we don't take any risks. We can't afford to make those risks so we're better off not, and if we can avoid it, why not, right?
AN: I'm a big fan of the ability to give certain people the right to do a lot of different things. But, certain messaging needs to be controlled by corporate. And not that I don't trust anybody ... but I don't trust anybody. I wanna make sure that our messaging is unified across the board. I wanna make sure that not everybody gets the right to [run a] campaign, because in a corporate environment, there are people that actually deal with marketing, they know their patient base really well, and because of the ability to separate the patients by condition, whether they're a perio patient or not.
So, the marketing department speaks to hygiene and says, "You know, we have a certain percentage of our patients on perio maintenance. We have certain percentage of our patients that need replanning and scaling that have not made appointments. We have certain percentage of our patients that don't understand, and we want to educate them more about their condition and why they should come in more often than the healthy mouth patient."
And that basically eliminates the blasting. We want to make sure that a campaign gets controlled by the marketing people in corporate and that a person that engages with people on a daily basis doesn't even have to worry about it. And you mentioned the TCPA compliance. We have tips and tricks but also we have safeguards in place. If somebody wants to do something and it doesn't fit in with the compliance standards, we give you a warning right away. And then, you can do whatever you want. This is a program that you use, and we want you to use it anyway you want. However, we are going to give you a warning. It keeps the risk low, it keeps the liability and control, it keeps the compliance everywhere.
SA: The way you treat a patient defines your branding. The patient may fear the dentist or they may be excited to see their doctor. And it's all about the way that their experience resonated with them, [or] the feeling that comes to them when they think about their dental practice. So, if a friend or a colleague refers somebody, they're ecstatic about the experience. They're gonna share that everywhere.
And through RevenueWell, we can easily send out referral campaigns and see who your top referring patients are. We can see and track who is referring, how many people are referring, and how can we maximize on the word of mouth. It all comes down to word of mouth because everybody does talk about everything at the end of the day. And your brand is about how you make that patient feel at the end of the day. That, to me is what branding really means.
AN: I absolutely agree, and we can also spread all of that through our social media platform. We can do referrals. You know, in most states, you're not allowed to incentivize anybody for a referral. But what I see happen with our top referring patients is just the most amazing thing.
It all comes down to word of mouth ... and your brand is about how you make that patient feel at the end of the day
RevenueWell actually tracks who refers, and who actually comes in from them. It also tracks what that patient gets done over a period of time. And what I found that works great is a 5th of July barbecue party in our parking lot for all of our ... you know, I pick the top 200 referring customers and I invite them over and they can have a glass of wine with the doctor and they absolutely love it.
But, what I also encourage is those people bring their friends and family to our party. There is nothing like Bobby Sue after she had a glass of wine. She is hugging the doctor saying, "Right here, this is your doctor, Judy is the best doctor in the world, Dr. Alvarez." And that's the way it is.
I had an orthodontist reach out to me and say, "Look, Nudel, I've invited people to a party. There's face painting and everything. These kids don't wanna come here." I said, "Doc, let me set this up for you and, we will see how many kids show up." And I did a campaign of "dunk your orthodontist." We had over 500 people come in and every single one of their clients was willing to dunk the orthodontist. Their patients were just, "Let's do it," and we had the whole team, you know. Whoever you wanna dunk, you were able to do it. It was an amazing event.
AN: You don't have to give up admin rights to just anybody in your practice. So, that's kind of cool. I absolutely love branding and it's important that if we are a DSO or MSO. I've been speaking to DSOs, they say, "Look, I don't wanna look like a DSO. I just wanna be one." And so, we want to promote each face individually not to look like a DSO, because our doctors are really amazing. Our teams are there for years. So, RevenueWell will give you the opportunity of individualizing each practice as well, so that's kind of neat.
SA: Yeah, exactly. With RevenueWell, it's a 99% customizable system. So, we can certainly modify the messaging however you see fit for your branding's sake, their own marketing campaigns, their own events, and you can still see it through the enterprise portal. You're able to take a look at each location and how they're doing.
AN: Absolutely. These are major keys to being able to being successful.And so, I'm thinking about branding. I'm thinking about the experience. I'm thinking about mitigating the risk and liability we've talked about, saving time. About dedicating ourselves to the patient in front of us and to the patient on the phone.I really want to thank you about this information. I'm excited to get this out to your customers and our potential customers. Thank you for being so deeply knowledgeable about the MSO and DSO business and really being passionate about helping them.
SA: Oh, I'm completely excited about this. I'm excited for what we can do to help practices grow. That's what RevenueWell is all about. And I appreciate your time today to speak with me about it. It was nice getting those stories. I wanna be a part of your dental practice with that July 5th barbecue, so hopefully I get an invite.
AN: Yes. And we absolutely plan to do it this year. But, I'm not inviting the local dentists. I'm just not. That's not the way it works. Thank you very much.
*NOTE: This interview has been edited for length, with some portions being formatted for clarity RevenueWell Enterprise helps you to manage marketing for your entire group as easily as you would a single office. Learn more about this multi-practice and DSO solution here.