Providers2 June, 2022



Providers2 June, 2022

Doing things better is often associated with doing things with greater efficiency.

That applies to how AI can extend the resources and capabilities of overworked (and occasionally stressed) dental care professionals.

Technology, like artificial intelligence (AI), shifts priorities. It’s important in this season of innovation to clarify how AI can help you achieve your dental organization’s objectives.

And do it without overextending an already maxed-out team.

Dentistry is in recovery mode. The pandemic increased the stress levels that for some were already red-lining.

But here we are. AI has been carving out space across numerous industries – including dentistry.

Dentistry is in recovery mode. The pandemic increased the stress levels that for some were already red-lining.

AI extends a “hand”

It’s essential to consider AI in the context of how it supports and augments routine processes. Dentists and team members who think “AI is here to replace people…” should reconsider who they approach the technology. It’s purpose is to make it easier to do your jobs, so you can focus on what you love most: patient care.

Here’s what AI’s extended “hand” is accomplishing across the general industry and workforce landscape.

  • Automating redundant systems and tasks.

  • Replacing repetitive tasks with more “intelligent” workflows.

  • Helping set new “rules” for achieving results and preferred outcomes.

Those are the broad categories you can expect when you shake-hands with AI in your dental organization.

The bigger and perhaps more pressing issue is how AI can provide support when your human and corporate resources are stretched.

Here's how AI can maximize your resources — while minimizing the impact of workplace stress on your team:

AI helps “tame” information overwhelm

Every dental organization could stand to reign in the mass of information that’s created and distributed. Even so, data has great value.

But it’s how the seeming information overload is tracked, monitored, managed, and shared that AI can help. For example, AI is equipped to navigate the ocean of information coming at you with heightened intelligence.

Think of AI as a “digital assistant.”

  • Prioritize communications such as email and text messages according to urgency, desired result, etc.

  • Contextualize information and related communications to avoid task “drift.”

  • Apply logical guidance to your data so communications are secure and achieve their intended purpose.

AI helps reduce task redundancy

Doing the same thing over and over again could be necessary on occasion. But such repetition could also lead to burnout.

Again, context and “intelligent” support can make sense of what could otherwise lead to redundant busy-work. AI has the capacity to sort through tasks and create better, more fulfilling workflows.

  • Chatbot technology can be personalized and programmed for screening communications. It helps cut-to-the-chase and eliminate time-consuming discovery.

  • Online patient portals can set up scheduling protocols that save your patients time. Provided information can be vetted to create more productive person-to-person communication by your staff.

  • Reminders, follow-up communication, and personal messages (e.g. birthday greetings, etc) can be automated for timed, scheduled delivery. This helps team members stay on task with their current in-person patient interactions.

Again, the goal is not to replace human involvement. AI brings additional support to the mix so your team members can better engage with patients and improvethe patient experience.

AI helps anticipate what’s next

Task and workflow “friction” stifles productivity. And team members can also experience increased stress when their productivity is at risk.

The ability to anticipate next steps helps keep progress moving in productive directions. AI has the ability to drive smarter workflows and task management.

  • Voice-activation technology and software could reduce loss of momentum or task avoidance.

  • Chatbot technology can be programmed for predictive communication for standard patient inquiries or featured FAQs. The technology can perform inquiry based searches that save your team members time and energy.

Informed decision making can generate more targeted workflows and maximize your data forachieving clinical and business outcomes.

AI helps keep your team unified around common goals

Fearing AI as “big-brother” or that it's here to replace personnel undermines its benefit. AI best practices have the potential to not only support team functions but also keep tabs on organizational morale and teamwork.

Use AI to support your human resources department.

  • Monitor internal staff feedback and exit reviews with a focus on improvement.

  • Score job satisfaction ratings and make changes around gathered and analyzed employee data.

  • Use acquired data to improve team member engagement and reduce turnover.

All things considered, AI is a somewhat limitless and fully scalable digital team member. Introduce the technology, communicate with your team(s) about how you’re using it, and allow AI to do its unique job supporting them.

You’ll discover that AI can improve efficiency across your dental organization. And that has the potential to reduce stress and overload.