E130: Cloud-based Dental Practice, with Eric Giesecke – Part 2

Hello and welcome to ascent dental radio, a program dedicated to the balance between the clinical aspect of healthcare and the business of healthcare. And now, here’s your host, Dr. Kevin Coughlin.

Good evening. This is Dr. Kevin Coughlin and you’re listening to ascend dental solutions. With a focus on knowledge education development training. I want to give a special thanks to our sponsors Patterson Dental, Henry Schein, and vocal dental supplies and material. Without their sponsorship, these podcasts would be very difficult. I also want to say a special thanks to David Wolf and his podcast team that put these podcasts together for us every week. A couple of weeks ago, we have a special guest, Mr. Eric Giesecke. He is one of the CEOs and founders of planet DDS, denticon. And full disclosure. Although I do not know, Eric, I’ve had him on my podcast. And I felt that it was important to get him back because there were topics that we didn’t discuss. I have been a user of planet DDS, in my opinion for at least 15 years. And I have nothing but positive things to say about their team and their product in full disclosure, but I’ll let my listeners make their own decisions. Eric, thank you again for joining us. I really appreciate the last podcast the information and knowledge gave to our listeners. Why don’t you give a brief introduction to yourself and your company?

Thanks, Dr. Kaufman for having me again. I’ve been replaying DDS since 2015. When we acquired it through through a search fund as folks may have remembered, it’s a single purpose vehicle intended to acquire and operate a business. Today, we are roughly 300 employees, we are active in roughly 10,000 offices with one of our three products denticon, the practice management software, you mentioned Apteryx, our imaging software and lay work our patient relationship management software. Our focus is primarily from a product perspective on DSOs, and MSOs. But we also serve roughly 2000 or 2500, rather independent dental offices as well. All of our products are in the cloud, they were architected to be cloud based from from the ground up. And we think there’s lots of interesting opportunities to continue to see in the dental industry as we as we continue to try to unleash dentists to practice on patient care.

Eric, on our last podcast, you talked about your three basic departments in denticon. But I wanted to know, how is your company and your software cloud based systems? How can you help the dentists dealing with these tragedies in trying to keep your team or staff together since there seems to be an enormous shortage? I can’t go to any programs, I can’t sit down with a group of physicians or dentists and not hear the same thing. Like where are you getting your employees, Kevin? How can you continue to grow? And I think the cloud based system in softwares, such as yourself, may be able to help us with this particular problem. Can you give a little more insight into that area?

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Yeah, we’ve we’ve heard the same thing from many of our clients through the Great Recession, finding good folks and retaining it folks has been has been a challenge. Some of our clients have have found some success because we are cloud based and you can access the software from anywhere in terms of providing some flexibility in terms of back office services from remote work. We’re in the software business, we are pretty much semi virtual. I’m in the office today, there’s roughly five people two years ago, a slow day for us used to be about 25 people. And I think a lot of people a lot of our people have really appreciated the ability to work flexibly being able to log in and for example, post payments or attach or batch claims or follow up on outstanding patient AR being cloud based and being accessible from anywhere, allows people to do that, which I think is particularly from a back office clerical perspective has allowed some of the DSOs to introduce some flexibility into into the staff.

I can only tell you I have right now probably maybe 65 employees or what I like to call team members and have the flexibility of having them if they have childcare issues, if they have illnesses, whatever it is to be able to work from your home. That flexibility is allowed me to to cushion the blow. I still have my issues like every dentist but this cloud based system that your company offers my company has actually been a significant advantage. And I’m assuming our listeners if they’re not aware of it, think about the beauty of what we’re able to do, whether it’s confirm appointments, whether it’s to look at data and make determinations about marketing decisions in completed treatment plans, communication with the patient, you don’t always need to have a team member in the office, they can work remotely, which means that it gives you a little extra space in your office. It also provides that incentive for potential employees to join your team, do you see a certain percentage of your clients moving in that direction, or you don’t have that data available?

Anecdotally, most of the large, larger clients and we serve some clients, I have over 300 locations have started to think about things in the same way to be competitive from a labor perspective. It was interesting during COVID, the last place people want it to be understandably, during a global respiratory pandemic was was at the dentist and so everyone basically shut down and patients weren’t being seen. But there was still work to be done. And I think it taught a lot of a lot of a lot of dental offices that work could still be done without team members in the office. And and I think the cloud based aspect of the software, the ability to access data, as you mentioned, to be able to schedule appointments or to be able to follow up on appointments remotely has given us given folks that flexibility. The if I had to estimate, I would say the majority of our larger clients have introduced some flexibility. And that denticon has allowed them to do that. I can’t say for certain if all but but we’re definitely seeing that as a trend.

I’d like to have yet addressed another topic. And that topic is with your background with your knowledge. Is there maybe three or five bullet points that you could provide our listeners to say I thinking about a cloud based system? What are those five bullet points that that our listeners should really consider before they jump from one cloud system to another? What are some of the competitive advantages with your background and experience that you could educate our listeners?

Yep, good question. So I think the first thing I would recommend if I was independent, and it’s hard to be properly independent, given my position, but if I were advising a friend, and I didn’t work for planning TDs, I would, I would ask, I would suggest that they speak to five or six folks or people that have transitioned to the software and been on the software for a while. The industry is really, with the exception of us, and we’ve been around for 17 years now in the cloud. It is very new to cloud technologies, there are a lot of new entrants that are are working to develop full, fully functional solutions. But I think there’s also a lot of marketing out there. And I think it’s important to have spoken to a couple people, such as yourself that had been on the product for a while and can speak honestly to some of the some of the challenges. The second thing I think we because we are the system of record, and really mission critical for dental offices with all three of our products, it’s really important that you understand the company you’re partnering with. And there, there will be challenges moving to new software’s is not easy used to click here, and I click here, change is always difficult. But if you’re working with good supportive people that you can rely on that, that are only a phone call or a ticket away, you’ll get through the initial challenges related to switching the software, and they’ll support you, as you either continue to grow, adopt new functionality, want to change how you do things in the practice? So the second one I would do is I’d really understand what the support profile and and kind of on, I would look at reviews online to make sure that the company is good at that. The third I would say is is the company well capitalized does it have the ability to invest in the software, we have two large private equity funds that support us, they reinvest all of our all of our cash flow back into business, mostly in development.

And the reason why you want to do that is you want to be partnered with a company that will be innovative, and will think about not only what you’re solving dentist problems today, but what’s going to ultimately solve dentists problems two to three years from now. The fourth one I would say is how how does that company play in a broader marketplace? I think there’s a lot of solutions and we kind of cool things being developed in dental technology, some cloud based systems take a take kind of a position that they need to be closed architecture and not partner with a lot of flux. We we believe that we ultimately want to be good stewards of good dental care. And as good technology arises, we want to partner with that technology and give our clients the ability not just to use our technology, but that technology. So I think the just generally how the company views itself relative to other partners. And then I’d say I’d say the fifth if I had to come up with one off top my head is probably on how that software deals with multispecialty it’s We’re seeing a lot, particularly the DSL space. Now, a lot of DSL is starting to bring specialty in house. How do you work with external partners when it comes to referring specialty out if that’s the methodology you’re using for specialty treatment? But how is the software viewing itself in changing to, to, to adhere to what’s becoming a more complex and more specialty driven different dental work?

Well, Eric, I can’t tell you again, I know you’re busy. I know your company’s growing leaps and bounds. And as I said earlier in the podcast, 100% endorsement, your team their support over basically 15 years, it could be close to 17. I might have been one of your first clients, and I don’t regret a date that I partnered with you in your company. If my listeners have additional questions or interest, how would they be able to contact you what’s the best way

Visit www.planetDDS, where we have all kinds of information, there’s forms you can fill out if you’re if you’re looking to take a look at the software, you want to see information about the company. Or if you prefer to email info at Planet dds.com is monitored by I think probably half of the company and if you send an email, you’ll get a response from somebody within 60 minutes.

That’s terrific. Eric, thank you so much. Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve been listening to Dr. Kevin Coughlin. This is a sent dental solutions with a focus on knowledge, education, development and training. I can’t thank you enough for tuning in and listening to us. I really appreciate your support. And in closing, I want to thank pepsin dental Henry Schein and vocal dental Supply Company for their support. And again, a shout out to David Wolf and his podcast team for putting these together. Eric, I really appreciate your time. I know you’re busy. I really thank you and your company for what you’re doing for our profession. Keep it up, keep growing. And I look forward to speaking there in the near future. Thank you so much. Thanks. All right. Thank you