Ep: 82: The Untapped Goldmine Behind Your Dental Data With Curtis Marshall

In today’s podcast, Curtis Marshall joins us from Dental Intel, a software that helps dental practices easily track and understand data in their practice.

During this episode, you’ll be taken through data from a practice and learn how to identify the opportunities that will create the greatest impact with the least amount of effort.

Curtis, Dr. John, and Wendy look at this data and dive into the story those numbers are really telling, and how the practice can make easy changes to increase case acceptance, double their production, and improve patient care.

You’ll learn…

  • The first and second things you want to ask yourself when looking at your data
  • What number you should be looking at first thing in the morning and how that can explode your production
  • Knowing data just identify opportunities, but taking action on that data is even more important
  • The importance of knowing your reality versus making decisions based on your perception of your reality
  • Why increase production should never be your only focus
  • How improved patient care will always lead to higher production

Guest Bio

Curtis Marshall is a founding member of Dental Intel, a software that helps practices analyze everything, automate your day, find hidden revenue, fill your schedule and so much more.

Listen Now:

Dr John: Hey everybody. Welcome to this episode of the double your production podcast. I'm Dr. John Meese here with Wendy Briggs. How are you doing, Wendy?

Wendy Briggs: I'm doing great. Thanks Dr. John.

Dr John: We are delighted to have with us or longtime friend and colleague Curtis Marshall. Who's now at dental, Intel, and Curtis is going to help us walk through some of the important metrics when it comes to diagnosis, percentage and case acceptance and how we should look at this, how we can use analytics to help us identify opportunities and to manage our practices to a higher level of patient care. Okay, so Curtis, how you doing?

Curtis Marshall: Doing great, John, and thanks for having me and you're right. We are time friends. I think you, and when we first met, I had hair and when we first met, you didn't have a goatee. So there has been a little bit, so thanks for having me. Yeah.

Wendy Briggs: Yeah. It's always great to have you on with Dental Intel. Especially Curtis, a lot of our members know that we include Dental Intelligence. As part of our coaching services, because of all of the advanced analytics that dental Intel can provide. But I would also say that we often get a lot of questions from people that have Dental Intel. What do these numbers mean?
What should I be looking at? What stories can they tell me? And we often say that when you're looking at the data, what it really prompts us to do is ask. Better questions. And so there's a lot of really great insights that I know you're going to be sharing with us today because I always learn from you every time we have you join us on this podcast.

Curtis Marshall: Thanks you two. I really appreciate it. And as you both were mentioning Dental Intel, we are the leaders in providing actionable data which Wendy was re alluding to. And so definitely that's what we want to go over today is what actions can we be taking in within your practice with some metrics? Yeah, excited to be jumping in on this. I'm not sure exactly which one you want to start with. I know we discussed a few areas, but I'll let you guys lead me.

Dr John: I was going to say, let you lead us, Curtis. You show us what you think are the most valuable ones. The ones that really can, move the needle, the quickest with the least amount of effort.

Curtis Marshall: Awesome. I'm going to show you something that's for myself, especially for my background being in dental that I absolutely love. And that's part of case acceptance. That's how I first got into dental dentistry. I was a treatment coordinator so much so that it's like you bond these relationships with these P O F R your patients.

And love to discuss that portion within that. It's always good to know it. And it doesn't matter what data you look at or what information you're trying to give somebody. You always want to know first, where are you? Doesn't matter. Anything else if you don't know where you're at. And then the second thing that both you and Wendy mentioned is where do you want to go to?
Because. Just because for example, the airport here locally in Salt Lake, that's where all these people are. They're status quo. They're starting in Salt Lake, but they're all wanting to go a different place. If we are all went to the airport thinking, Oh, we're good. Cause we're at the airport, we're all going different directions.

So you need to know first status quo, where are you? And then vision, where do you want to go? So when you look at your numbers, doctors and team members, those are the two things. First status quo, second vision, our goals.

Wendy Briggs: And as you're pulling that up, Curtis, we've often said all progress begins with the truth. And we also have a lot of funny, clever videos illustrating the importance of knowing your reality versus making decisions based on your perception of your reality. So the data is so important. And what I love about dental Intel is it brings an easy way. For those of us that are reports challenged, to figure out exactly where they are. And as you mentioned in real time, right? So this, you don't have to wait until the end of the month to get this data. You can see it right here right now.

Curtis Marshall: And that's the biggest thing. So there's many different tools on the software. One of them is morning huddle and within morning huddle, I actually want, do want to show one interesting thing.

As we jump, before we jump into this. Is that if I know what my percentage of case acceptance was last month, there's nothing I can do about it because it was last month. I can't change last month, but what I can do is say what was the purpose? But with this data, now we can look at treatment acceptance yesterday.

Where were you and who is the leader board? Who's on the leader board by simply clicking there for yesterday. But more importantly, the patients who are coming in today, we have 22 patients coming in 11 of those patients have unscheduled treatments, get those patients to accept treatments. I can see Dr.. John grinning. Yeah, no,

Dr John: That's such a valuable number to know. And how are you going to capture those? What are you going to do differently than you did when your conversations before and how are you going to get that done today? If possible, because that's really the thing that kicks it over into great case acceptance.

Curtis Marshall: Bingo. With that, like this alone, this is telling you do this today. Get those 11 patients to accept treatment today. But what we're going to really do is now to take this this is coaching and working with Wendy and Dr. John, they both know how to get these 11 patients to say yes to do something different like Dr. John said, but we're going to go turn our time machine on and look in the past now to see where we can possibly improve into the future.

Wendy Briggs: We love that, Curtis. So those that are wondering, how do you go after that today in our model, we would have each hygienist or the clinician that's going to be seeing them take an image of at least, one of those areas of opportunity and begin that conversation.

As Dr. John said, sometimes offering it today, can close the deal and they're willing and able to go. So again, This should be showing us what actions to take. And in our world, each provider that sees that patient, it's a non-negotiable that we have an image and a conversation on how to move that patient forward.

Curtis Marshall: Wow! Everybody, I hope you got that. That was a few hundred dollars worth of data information right there. And I'm serious. That type of information is where many offices and myself struggled with. So all of these products right here. I don't know if you call them products, but all of these features on Dental Intel are telling you what to do today.

This one right here, dashboards. This is what happened in the past. This is all the data that happened yesterday last month. And so we're going to take this now to really answer some questions and think about what happened last month. So I'm going to go over to here to the last month, and we're looking at the providers.

And you can either look at production collection hygiene, but we're going to stick in case acceptance. So Wendy, when you see here, I'm looking at last month for this office, patient diagnostic percentage what would your guess be? And I know what it is and you can click right here to know exactly what it is, but what would your guess be on what patient diagnostic percentages.

Wendy Briggs: I would assume that it means the total number of patients you saw, how many of those patients actually had something entered into the plan, right? So what diagnosis was made on those people? Bingo. So that's exactly right. So last month, because I changed the month timeframe right here, we saw X amount of patients total for the practice and X were diagnosed with something there's something put in their treatment planner. Here's the doctor right here. We can see that the doctor. Okay. Right here, we can see the doctor cam when we he's with Chelsea, he diagnosed 36% when he's with Kennedy diagnosed 20 32, a difference of 4%. And when he's by himself, AKA with an assistant he's at 24% Dr. John or Wendy, what sticks out here to you?

Dr John: Number one is the two hygienists are relatively close which to me indicates that they have a some diagnostic standards. And they're the two, whether he's working with one hygienist or the other the effectiveness is pretty similar, which you don't see that all that often there are big gaps, big differences between the two and the other is that when he's by himself and so if, so these are

Curtis Marshall: just you're diagnosing, it's not acceptance yet. So it's just, Hey, you got something going on.

Dr John: Yeah. So he performs better when he's got a team around him that's that are hygienists rather than assistance.

Wendy Briggs: That's exactly what I was going to say. Dr. John, we see 70% of the restorative dentist or your preferred from hygiene in the first place. So we want to have systems. We want to have clarity and we want to be working as a partnership and spending the time right. Working together to help drive awareness. I personally think, and I don't know what the norm is, but I think there's an opportunity for the doctor here to work on diagnostic assertiveness because in my experience, there's probably opportunity here to improve that percentage.

Curtis Marshall: Wendy you're absolutely right there. Number one is there's always room for improvement. No matter if you're top 10% or bottom 10% of numbers, the thing is we want to improve. And if we're improving, we're taking better care of our patients. The app, what we're seeing here for average diagnostic, It's about 45%.

That's the average that we're seeing for diagnostic percentage. So with an hygienist too, by the way, that's a real big key with the hygienist about 45%. Now, if we're to also be looking at a few other factors, that might be a little higher than that. But just to note, wherever you stand right now that is really important to realize we had a doctor's office that we saw about 10% and he said, Oh yeah, I don't put it in the treatment planner.

I tell them that they need to put it in treatment planner. If they're going to say yes. And we're like, Oh, then yeah, that 10% is wrong. That's not what you're diagnosing. One big step here is making sure that whenever you're suggesting treatment or talking to them, even if it's multiple treatments that you're putting it in, when you talk to them about it that having that data now as can be put in plain sight of what's actually happening and not what's up in your head.

Any thoughts there for either of you?

Wendy Briggs: I would just ask Dr. John the question of, okay, so let's say we are, we recognize there is opportunity and diagnostic percentage. What are some things that doctors can do to improve that?

Dr. John: Number one, have a have diagnostic standards. Number two have a team case acceptance approach.
So you can tell they have this for, in this particular team that the team is helping out and they're doing similar things. Now, obviously there's opportunity because they're below average and there's probably some other reasons for this particular practice to be below average. For instance, this practice probably see because of where it's located, probably sees a higher percentage of kids.

Than a typical practice. And there are different things that can affect the number. And so the benchmark of 45% as being average is extremely helpful, right. These benchmarks are really great. And so now you just have to work on all I know I, I'm not below average. Dr. Kim would tell you that he's not below average and he's not, he's a great guy.

And he, so now that average number, so now he's got a, a gap. And so now we can start filling in the skillsets. That are necessary in order for him to drive that number to a better place because the patient care quality patient care will improve even more.

Wendy Briggs: I see here, Curtis too, is, there's some opportunity for development of the assistant, right? So whatever assistant is helping Dr. Kim, when he doesn't have the hygienist, there's a tremendous opportunity. There that's a 10% bump right there. If they just mimic what the hygienists are already doing. So that's a tremendous opportunity, right? There is just to get, to have. As Dr. John mentioned a team driven approach.

That's a quick and easy thing. When Dr. Cam is by himself, not in hygiene, he's obviously not by himself. There's an assistant there. And so we just need to develop those assistants to step up a little bit and take on some of the roles that the hygienists are doing when they're the ones that sustain.

Curtis Marshall: So another great portion that Dr. John was and you, Wendy, we've talked about this in the past, but that is, let's say Dr. Kam goes to implant course. Guess what, hopefully this diagnostic percentage increases. So you could look at it over time, but what I would like to do too real quick is we can.

Say I want to just search by what would that be under implant services, or you could do a specific code within implant services. If you go drop down here, you could speak pick a specific code, but I'm just going to do all implant services apply and we can see that for last month they diagnosed 14 patients.

Now here's, what's crazy. They're up 50% from the previous period. So from December to January, Dr. Kam increased 50% of diagnosing implants. You're grinning. Dr. John, I can see any, what are you thinking here? I could say a lot with just this, but what's sticking out to you.

Dr John: I'm thinking Dr. Kam could benefit from, an implant course. And the reason why I say that is that when you have the knowledge things in a different way, before you have the course, you see it, but you don't really see it once you have the course, you see it and you see it. And so that would be something that would be helpful for him. 3%. It is, relatively low. And think about this. This is for what period of time this is for last month. So 14 and a month is really not a whole lot. If you think about the average population and the number of missing teeth that are that are there. And the number of opportunities would have been, he would have had, would have been much more than that.

A hundred percent. Now, when he had looked at the treatment team, all of a sudden something flipped. Right now assistance he's higher, which tells me that kind of going back to the whole team approach is that they're not diagnosing implants as a team, but when doctors by himself, he's you know what, actually, my hygienist didn't mention it because she's not here. We haven't really had this as a whole team discussion, but I think you could do an implant. Would you like that? Yeah, I totally would. Really interesting how this type of information flips or can change based off of certain procedures.

Wendy Briggs: So now we have the opportunity for training and development on the hygiene side.
So just like before we have opportunities there, which is awesome. And so again, to your point, Curtis, we often see these numbers, right? Prompt us to ask certain questions. And the question I would ask is do the hygienists know about the skillset? Is this a relatively new scale for Dr. Kim?

My guess is it's a relatively new skill. He may be in the process of taking this implant training. So he's fired up and knows more about it than the rest of the team. We haven't had a chance to really bring the rest of the team on board. So again, training opportunities exist in this regard as well.

So while the assistance or training on the processes for gaining patient acceptance, on the other side, we can spend time with the hygiene team on the implant side.

Curtis Marshall: Okay, so true. And one thing that's pretty cool about this is we can see that we already know this, but it's super evident that every practice is different.

It doesn't matter if they're the same on the same street in the same town, every office is different. It has different areas of opportunities to increase. And that's why this data type information is really good to review with a coach, somebody who's outside of your practice to say, Hey let's maybe look at.

Some other area to improve. And that's why we love working with you guys and your team. And but there's, I like to even take this one step further unless you guys have other thoughts on diagnostics.

Dr John: Sure. Go ahead.

Curtis Marshall: The next step is simply acceptance. So right here we diagnosed 14 patients last month.
I'd like to know how many of those 14 patients. Said yes. And I didn't look at this data beforehand, by the way. I just know that every time there's a different story. What is this story telling us with case acceptance on implants?

Wendy Briggs: My guess is it's a new thing, and we haven't quite developed our systems yet. We've got tremendous opportunity here when we first started with the practice Curtis, interestingly enough we don't get upset when the case acceptance percentage is low because we want to see a range of opportunity for improvement. So I get excited when the case acceptance percentage is low, because it means that we can take steps and markedly and measurably improve that.

So if I were Dr. Kim, I'd be excited about this because it means that as they work on these systems, those 14 that were presented, they're going to see far better acceptance. And when we're talking about implant services, certainly that means a lot of improvement in the cashflow. So I get excited when we see lower numbers at the beginning, because it means there's huge opportunity to make a difference.

Curtis Marshall: Yeah. So in this scenario where we both Dr. John, you and I both saw and recognized this doctor needs a little bit and team needs to get better on diagnostic until I click this page. And then I'm like, wait a second, hold up before we diagnose any more, let's get them to accept because that's going to be like, you're gonna just be spinning your wheels in mud, over diagnosing.
We're going faster. Our RPMs are going faster, but we're not moving anywhere. So really cool. See this this type of data and information, which the only other way to get this out of any other practice management software is to literally write it down on an Excel sheet, have someone else do it for you your team members do it for you, and I'll tell you what not because I was trying to cheat the doctor, but when I was doing that within an office, I would remember myself saying, Oh, I'm putting in Mary Jane. We diagnosed two crowns. We did diagnose ortho, but she told me no. So I'm going to skip that one, right? No, we want that information in. Oftentimes when people are entering in data, they're not putting, they're putting it in for themselves to look good and not, Oh, I want to know where the opportunity is.

True. The only other way to really get this data is through Excel sheets, but it's super easy and there's nothing anyone has to do to get this data on Dental Intel

Dr John: it's automated. And as long as you put everything in your practice management software, the correct way, you're going to get really easy data. You're going to get it at the touch of your fingertips. It's fast, it's accurate. It's consistent to try to recreate that manually would be a nightmare.

Wendy Briggs: You can ask us how we know, because we don't have the software that aligns and bakers. Themselves every month as do we, because it is really labor intensive to get some misinformation.

That's why we include it with all of our coaching clients and try to get everybody, we've had practices, he would change their software so they can use the tools because they're that. Important. So Brooklyn Curtis show us, let's take a look on the high teens side too, because this is one thing I always here.

And that is well, of course, yes. But on the perio diagnostic side, I couldn't even remember a relatively large practice with. With hundreds of locations saying, Hey, we're doing really good. On the perio side, we really don't need much of a focus there because we've spent a lot of time and energy and money on training and systems.

And then when we pulled up their averages, their performance, they were like, that can't be right. So I think this is a very common area where we see tremendous range for improvement. But we don't have access to this information. In our typical practice management software.

Curtis Marshall: Yep. So you'll notice here. Right here, what we have, and I'm glad you brought this up because this is a one another filter that we could do. But what I like to do first is realize, Kay, look at this perio. We have a for all of last year, Curtis let's get a bigger picture or even a quarter so that we can have a range to look at. Oh yeah. Just because of shoot, let's just do loss last year. See what happens here. Okay. So once again, we're gathering all the data at some, when you have larger data sets, especially looking at a diagnostic percentage, it takes just a second longer, but really shouldn't be too bad. And then what we're going to do is we're going to filter first. We're looking at patient diagnostic. There we go.

And then we can filter by perio. And these are the codes that we're saying is in perio right here. Or you could add more if you want to too, but we're only going to be adding these codes right now. And when we add those codes on there and you could X one out, if you want, if you don't like one or add an additional one, But now it's taking all the dataset and removing everything else, except for these codes on what was diagnosed.

So out of the, now granted, this is seeing people maybe more than once, right? So these are the patients that we saw this many patients and we diagnosed 102 different times. With perio at 2%. Wendy, what do you see here?
Wendy Briggs: Yeah, it sounds like such a great story because it's 102 codes. So keep in mind, if it's 43 41, typically that's four codes on one patient.

Curtis Marshall: Oh, this one right here is people.

Wendy Briggs: Oh, that's total people. Okay. That's good to know. I was going to say it's probably, maybe even worse than we thought so that's
for sure.

Curtis Marshall: It's still not great. And you can even see when the doctors with certain people, Stephanie versus Summer,

Wendy Briggs: so that helps a lot, right? It does tell us a lot. And this is what we typically see. We often believe our perception is that we're performing far better than we actually are. Imperio and I hear a lot of things from high dentists. Oh, our patients don't have a lot of perio. We live in a fairly affluent area and our patients are consistent with their appointment. So we just don't see it very much. We've already treated all of it. All of those things that are just a perception, they're not.

Not at all aligned with reality. So I think this is an area that once you have these analytics, it's important to look at them and identify. So obviously Stephanie is doing something differently than summer, right? So what we want to do is we want to have consistent standards. As Dr. John mentioned before, we want to have tools or risk assessment worksheets, or something that all providers are using the same formula for assessment, and that's going to help us improve from a consistency standpoint.

Think about the opportunity in this practice, if all those providers got to 8%, not that 8% is our standard, but that even just, that would bring tremendous improvement in this practice.

Curtis Marshall: Yep. And we can see that the two people who really are they're the most, it looks like they have a few people come in randomly, but they're both their temp hygienist and our person who came in and random.

Are much higher. They found stuff quickly because that's not, they're not always seeing Mary Sue and Tom there. They always come in and Chelsea always sees them and, Oh, this is good. But then as soon as someone else comes in, Hey, I, when you walked in and I diagnosed perio, I could smell it. Now, let me double check x-rays yet.

You're having bone loss. Sure enough. You have perio. Stephanie caught it. Where Chelsea and Kennedy often times th they're not able to catch it because they're stuck in that mundane everyday thing with all the patients.

Wendy Briggs: I would say that this shows that really the whole practice needs a better standard because hygienists, I'm gonna be the devil's advocate here, hygienist and say that falls on the doctor, right?

The doctor's the one that's supposed to catch it and provide the final diagnosis. This is true to an extent. And certainly the doctor has ownership here, but this again suggests some risks, right? Dr. John, that's why we talk about the need for standards is because we are at risk. If we are undiagnosed.

If we're underdiagnosing, we're not diagnosing at all or letting that same five millimeter bleeding pocket slide by because we know this is a single mom, we almost know too much about our patients and we allow those emotional things to get in the way.

Dr John: It's a great opportunity to create some diagnostic standards and to use a risk assessment. And those two things would turn this around very quickly. So yeah, a lot of opportunity there and that's, what we search for as we help practices become more productive. We want to figure out where are the areas of opportunity? How are we going to have the biggest impact with the least amount of effort?

And so this is in this practice, this certainly is an area that without a whole lot of effort could improve the results pretty dramatically. And it's a nice practice and these are good folks.

Curtis Marshall: Yeah. It, th they're doing them so many things. But that's the thing is no matter where we are at, we can always, once again, status quo, wherever we're at, we can get a little bit better and closer to our vision.

And every office is so unique. But one thing that you mentioned there, Dr. John is whenever you're focusing and improving, making it easier, doing better work, less effort. Whenever that happens. There's so many things, but the biggest one that I want everyone to realize is that patients get better care.

The patients with perio that you're not having a an old thought about them. Oh, there, I know this person. I don't want them to think that they have periodontal disease. If you actually diagnose it, you're taking better care of that patient. If they accept it. So patient care that whenever we look at this patient care goes through the roof and it makes it easier for everybody and we make more profits.

Wendy Briggs: We love that, we've always said productions, never the goal productions, the result that comes, we do the right thing for the patient. And when we look at the diagnostic percentage, that's absolutely right. We never have to talk about unnecessary dentistry. There's so much opportunity for our patients, with the necessary dentistry, the needs that they already have.

It just really. Shows us the opportunities that exist to have training opportunities, more consistency with communication, processes, systems, all of those things help drive patient awareness and acceptance. And as you mentioned, patient care is improved and that's always the goal. Awesome. Curtis, I want to thank you for hopping on the this Double Your Production Podcast today. I appreciate all the help that you've given us. And we love your diagnostic tool. We use it every single day. So everybody thanks for being on this episode. We'll see you next time on the Double Your Production Podcast.

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