How To Market, Manage & Grow Your Orthodontic Practice
For the last 5 years, MMG Fusion has been a leader in the dental space with its suite of automated marketing and management software tools focusing on practice growth. Now, it’s created a customized product for the orthodontic space.
The all-in-one, cloud-based software is available as an integrated system or as separate modules, and works to, as the company puts it, “Market, Manage, and Grow” the practice. The modules provide management of online marketing, search optimization, social media marketing, online reputation management, patient communications and engagement, call recording and tracking, schedule optimization, and ROI assessment.
Since its launch, orthodontic practices have made up some 20% of the MMG Fusion customer population. The company recognized that orthodontists are unique among the dental specialties. One, they more proactively market their practices. And two, there are dramatic differences in terminology, clinical goals, and patient treatment flow when compared to general dentistry that were not accounted for in MMG Fusion. With these differences in mind, the company set out to create MMG Ortho.
“Twenty percent of our clients are extremely happy using our product for general dentists, but I think they’re going to be blown away that somebody actually took the time and effort to work with focus groups, our clients, key opinion leaders, and …went through every feature, line by line, flow by flow, and redesigned it for them,” says Paul Intlekofer, CEO of MMG Fusion, which is a four-time winner of the Cellerant Best of Class Technology Award.
Intlekofer uses the software’s reputation management module to explain the idiosyncrasies of the different specialties. In a general dentistry practice, staff are trained to ask for reviews every time a patient leaves the office—and the MMG Fusion software is set up to push out messaging to patients after that visit to solicit those reviews. In an orthodontic office, asking for a review at each appointment could be dicey. Orthodontic treatment extends over months, sometimes years. Ask an orthodontic patient for a review right after bonding their braces and you might catch them when they are experiencing discomfort. Ask for it 6 months into a 1-year treatment plan and they might be frustrated that treatment is taking so long. Neither situation is likely to translate into a glowing review. But catch that same patient as they’re walking out of the office after completing treatment—well, that’s more likely to translate into a 5-star review. MMG Ortho is designed to push out review requests to orthodontic patients on a schedule that tracks with the orthodontic experience.
“It seems like a subtle difference,” says Intlekofer, “but the product has to be changed to make sure that reviews are secured at the right time.”
The company paid the same attention to its ChairFill module. ChairFill runs in the background, automatically mining the practice’s patient records to find patients to fill last minute cancellations or other openings. With general dentistry practices, ChairFill focused on selectively searching patient records for the most profitable patients to help practices meet revenue goals. For MMG Ortho, ChairFill was tweaked to account for patient compliance and the fact that orthodontic treatment is based on a contract. If a general dentistry patient misses an appointment, more often than not, they’re ok and the practice can get them in eventually. But in orthodontics, if a patient misses weeks’ or months’ worth of appointments, treatment outcomes are at risk.
“Our ChairFill product had always been designed to go get unfinished treatment,” Intlekofer says. “Well, now it’s designed to make sure patients are compliant with their orthodontic contract.”
In addition, ChairFill combs the orthodontic practice’s records looking for leads or consults that haven’t progressed to treatment starts. Instead of having staff search through the records and dial for dollars, the ChairFill module automates this process, sending these patients customized messaging. For example, younger people respond more to text, so they receive texts. If the potential patient is a 16-year-old boy or a 40-year-old woman, the messaging will include before-and-after photos that look like them.
“At the end of the day, MMG Fusion’s product for the general dentistry community has been customized by about a third [for the orthodontic community]. Every product was analyzed based on the orthodontic patient flow, how [the orthodontic] office works, the terminology, contracts, and data they pull so they could see it in their language the way it actually happens,” says Intlekofer.
MMG Ortho also includes patient engagement and marketing tracker modules. The patient experience module includes a patient app that gives patients access to appointment scheduling and online payments. Meanwhile, the marketing tracker gives the practice insight into the actual revenue generated by its marketing campaigns. The tool tracks new patients and organizes and customizes these statistics to provide a quick and easy analysis of market spend. As Intlekofer puts it, the module looks at production and the lifetime value of the patient to assess the yield of each campaign.
And recently, the company rolled out its Unified Communications and Task Manager tools. The former gives practices ability to collaborate and connect both externally with patients and internally with staff, and replaces the office phone, text, and chat systems with a VoIP system using AI to capture patient data and load it into the patient record. The patient record is then converted into a Patient Pop that is automatically presented anytime staff communicate with the patient. The AI-powered task manager tool acts as a virtual office assistant, prioritizing, streamlining, and disseminating daily tasks to staff members. In addition, the tool monitors the task through to its completion.
To ensure that MMG Ortho is set up to work optimally for each practice, performance coaches work with staff to set up the software’s parameters. For the first 3 months, the company offers monthly reviews, and thereafter converts to quarterly—this is in addition to telephone support. The software, which uses machine learning, is compatible with a number of practice management software platforms on the market, including OrthoTrac, Cloud 9 Software, Ortho2, and Dolphin.
“These [modules], once they’re set up, they’re designed to do the work,” says Intlekofer. “The staff then has more time to do other pressing matters—focus on inventory, on helping the [doctor], on being more friendly and courteous to the patient to create a great experience. [This platform] makes the day easy.” OP