📈 How do you start a DSO right before COVID and thrive? Listen as guest host Dr. Carolyn Brown chats with Mick Janness, CEO of Oakpoint, to discuss the blueprint for what their organization has prioritized to ensure continued growth and development.

Listen on Apple/Spotify, watch (or read) below 👇

You can find more about Mick and Oakpoint at the following places:
Website: ⁠https://oakpoint.us/⁠
LinkedIn: ⁠https://www.linkedin.com/in/mick-janness/

Hello, and welcome to Kinda Different, the podcast where we talk about innovation, connection, and making dental care more human. I'm Dr. Carolyn Brown. I'm co-founder and chief strategy officer for DifferentKind, which is a unique dental software that gathers the voices of your patient's experiences to help dentists and dental companies get insights into making their dental care of higher quality and exactly what their patients want.
And today I'm very proud and happy to spend some time with Mick Janness. Mick is the CEO of Oakpoint Dental, and Oakpoint is a leading and emerging dental affiliation group that is headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. Mick, welcome.
And we're really excited to hear not only more about Oakpoint, but about your journey into dental and what some of your initial thoughts were as you were setting up Oakpoint. So please, if you will, tell us a little more about yourself.
Thanks, Carolyn. Great to be here. It's great to see you.
Great to connect. And I appreciate the invitation to be here. When we launched, I'm one of the two co-founders, Eric Strang, our CFO, and myself, we launched the business back in 2019.
So we're coming up on five years this September. Exciting to be here. It's kind of amazing five years into it, and here we sit with 43 locations.
And the genesis of the model from day one was, how can we build something a bit different that truly caters to the doctors and what their needs are, and making sure that we're supporting them in the areas that they truly want that support, and making sure that they're part of that process and part of that strategy going forward. And we've done a nice job of that, and it's obviously an evolution. It's a learning process.
Every day, we learn, but we're proud of where we are. We're proud of what we've built, and we feel like we're just getting started at this point, so.
And it must have been quite a journey, especially with Covid, like smack dab towards the beginning of your launch there. Can you tell us a little bit more? I know we've spent some time getting to know each other and becoming pretty good friends, I would say, but can you tell me about kind of your focus on data and how that was a really unique part of what you set out to build with Eric from the get-go?
Yeah, absolutely. This is like one of my passion topics. I consider myself a data geek.
Just kind of learned that data drives all really good, important strategic decisions. And for us, while we are now migrating to a single practice management system, up until this point, we've been running on disparate systems across the entire platform. And I think what makes our model a little bit challenging from a data standpoint, from a data gathering standpoint, is that we're multi-specialty.
So we have traditional general dental practice management systems. We have specialty practice management systems. We've got hybrids of the two.
It's a truly mixture of different practice management systems, which makes it, of course, very challenging. So we use a product called CECA for our, it's an API plugin to all of our practice management systems. And then what we do is we extract that data out of the practice management systems.
And then that data goes into Microsoft Azure Data Warehouse. And then we normalize that data. And then we've built out our own data tables and our own dashboards to drive the decision making.
And we've got different dashboards for different layers of the organization. Dashboards customized to practice management, practice managers, for example. Dashboards customized for regional operators, another example.
And then of course, C-suite, management, investor level dashboards that drive a whole host of KPIs. But the CECA plugin really allowed us to be very nimble because we've been able to do no harm to the practice. We're able to get the data that's important to, of course, ourselves, institutional investors and the like, but at the same time, not do any significant harm to a practice and disrupt the practice.
So our job is to bring value. How do you bring value? You bring value by understanding what's driving the practice metrics and then be able to bolster resources and support resources around the various trends that you're seeing in the practice.
So that's been the driver. It has been a passion project of ours from day one. I mean, we started making this investment right when the very first practice joined.
So we sit today and it's pretty amazing. I mean, what we've got today, it's a pretty incredible data set.
And it's interesting because as a dentist, like the things that I've heard from you from the get-go, we set out to build Oakpoint so that we could help the providers and really be there to do the things that they either don't do or don't do as well. And to be able to kind of bring us off or raise the whole ship mentality. And I think you must have different dentists that have come into the organization that either had some degree of acumen and appetite for data and maybe some that didn't at all.
So it sounds like you really built not only a nimble system for your organization in terms of decision making and insights, but also as a way to kind of really whet the appetite of your providers and your regional teams as they're kind of learning how to do this. And as you said, you're a learning organization and you're continuing to learn from them too. I would say at DifferentKind, we've done very similar things in terms of looking at dashboards and building dashboards differently.
Most of our information we're giving back to practices is around qualitative data and where most practices pull their data into the dashboards tend to be quantitative. So what are some of the other things that you're working on right now that you're most excited about?
So we're very excited about AI and how artificial intelligence can help our provider base be more efficient, not only from a workflow point of view, but also from a diagnosis point of view and help that provider tell the story better or more efficiently to the patient. And that is extremely exciting. We've got several practices that are beta testing various technologies now and the feedback that we're getting from our provider base, it's exciting to see.
It's next level, it's next generation. And we feel like it's just kind of at the tip of the iceberg here in terms of where we'll be five years from right now. And it's exciting to see it.
It's exciting to constantly see new technologies come into dental, which is obviously an old industry, it's been around for a long time, but to see it constantly evolve from a technological standpoint and to be on the forefront of that, it is exciting. And it's also a lot of fun to see our doctors embrace the technology, embrace the challenge, and want to be a part of that process.
Yeah, I love that. I think when we look at things, like you said, dentistry has been around a long time and in some ways, it's been thought of as somewhat sclerotic, and it's kind of appetite for change and innovation. I think we're really seeing that change.
And part of it is when AI came in around the radiographs and the multiple companies that do that and do that well, there was sort of the innovation on the payer side around prior authorization. And then on the practice level side, I think we initially saw particularly DSOs or groups look at it around calibration and around really being able to show the patient through technology what the treatment plan could and should be. But what I really heard around what you said was that it helps your, it's helping your providers connect with the patients in a way that's more genuine and more efficient.
Because I think one of the things we're always as providers trying to translate what we learned with Latin in the background around mesial distal surfaces to the right side and left side of that too. So we're always learning and trying to perfect for each patient how to communicate most efficiently. And I think sometimes when you can run a software scan over someone's x-rays and things that kind of spit out, kind of like the Jetsons, it does kind of take something into hyperdrive and allows the provider to connect more genuinely with the patient because they've already had someone else objectify what they think, what the potential treatment plans or diagnosis could be.
And it's interesting, as you're working across the state of North Carolina, I was wondering if you could share a little bit about, it seems like kind of an antithesis of the way most people would start a DSO coming into North Carolina in 2019. And, you know, I love the headspot of it. But I also know because the state has had a different set of policies, even around their state dental practice acts for years, I think it's a quality obsessed state where dentistry is concerned.
And I would say that looking at some of their policies, with a positive lens, I think there are always ways we could kind of look at it as more restrictive in some cases. But wondering how not only that was and why that was your unique approach, but how that also has benefited your group from the inception.
Yeah, absolutely. It's a fun topic to talk about. When we kind of look at North Carolina, traditionally it has had a high barrier to entry state from a DSO perspective, from a traditional DSO architecture standpoint, no question about it, probably the highest barrier to entry state in the country without a doubt.
And it was extremely intentional on our part. I mean, Eric and I, we saw that as an opportunity, high barrier to entry state. Let's set up and operate within that state.
Let's seek the approval process. Let's go through the steps. Let's make the investment in time and energy to actually be approved and be able to operate within the state.
Then once that happens, then we saw that as an early, kind of first mover advantage opportunity. And all of that has played out exactly as we thought it would. So timing was impeccable.
I mean, we kind of laugh internally. We've told the story 100 times. When we wrote the business plan, somewhere in the threats section, we missed a global pandemic in the threats section of the business plan.
But we were able to manage through it. It was obviously not easy to do. It was unprecedented times for everybody.
And we had just started. We consummated our very first doctor partnership the Tuesday after Labor Day in September 2019. And we had two other practices ready to join around the 10th to the 15th of March of 2020.
And I remember it vividly. I was in the airport and all the travel was starting to wind down. And we were trying to wind up.
And we just obviously kinda gutted through it. It was just a difficult time. We could kinda get through it.
And then those practices ended up joining in August and September of 2020. And then from there, we were, I would say, pretty aggressive on the travel front and the introduction front and just spending the time with the doctors. And we grew quite substantially through that period of time.
And we attributed it to absolute kind of dogged determination. We had a thesis that we wanted to build. We believed in what we were building.
And we just felt like we were doing the right things from a clinical compliance standpoint, OSHA, HIPAA, just dealing with all the things that were going on, managing an extremely complex environment, but we were able to do that successfully. And that's a testament to this team. I mean, we just, we have an incredible team.
And our doctors were absolutely committed, and we all band together and we work through it. And we are really proud of the fact that we were able to manage through all that. And then today we set $115 million revenue business, 43 practices total.
Pretty incredible, right? I mean, and I think it's important to celebrate those wins because it's not easy. It's not easy at all.
But you've got to celebrate those wins and look at those accomplishments and take a step back and soak it in because it is pretty remarkable.
Yeah, so tell me, how do you learn from your doctors and your practices? Either newly acquired practices that you're trying to integrate or practices where you see consistently high numbers that maybe other practices aren't able to mirror or want to mirror.
Yeah, I think, so for us, we start with, number one thing that we start with is partner selection. So for us is, and this cuts both ways, right? This is absolutely from our perspective and what we're looking for in a partner.
Are we as a team, as a support team, are we coachable? Can we listen? Is our team listening to our doctors?
Are we listening to our doctors properly? Where are the true pain points within the workflow of a practice and where is the doctor struggling to reach that next level of growth or whatever it is that they want to achieve personally within their practice? Because each one of our practices, I'm sure you can appreciate, they're all at different phases and stages of growth.
We have a doctor on our team that has seven locations. We have a doctor on our team that has three locations that wants to go to ten locations. And so, your question is a good one because it's about unpacking the institutional knowledge that exists within the business.
And we have a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge, deep, deep, deep tribal knowledge that exists at the practice level. How do you uncork that? And the only way to do that is to make sure and ensure that you've got a culture that really cultivates that.
And it's, I mean, that's the bottom line. You've got to have people that actually want to learn from one another and are willing to listen. Because all the answers are pretty much there between all of our practices.
So we've done a good job of partner selection because if you find the right partners that want to be a part of a culture like that, then it makes it really easy. It's about putting, you know, doctor A together with doctor B, and those two doctors sit together and they're working through those challenges that one of the doctors have already worked through, right? Let's not reinvent the wheel.
So, we spend a tremendous amount of time listening and spending time with our doctors to understand, okay, where are the key pain points, right? And they're always in the same, you know, let's call it three or four silos, right? It's human resources, it's marketing, it's information technology, and it's, you know, financial management, whether it's accounts payable, accounts receivable, revenue cycle, you know, whatever it is, right?
Those are big silos. But for the most part, they kind of come into those four, and those are the four that we've spent the most time building out resources to support the doctors properly in those areas, so.
So if I was to ask you more of like a five or 10,000 foot question of, if I gave you a magic wand and there was something that you could like sprinkle over the dental industry just to kind of, you know, make high level big changes, where, and maybe it's in those four buckets, but where do you think like still the biggest, the hardest sticking points that either you face or you know that others in your shoes face that kind of hold dental back from, you know, really being able to be more agile and, you know, serve patients and providers and, you know, clinical teams better.
Yeah, it's a great question. So from our perspective, one of the areas that is far behind the times is the revenue cycle function, you know, within dental. And it becomes more and more complex as the consolidation rolls downhill.
And then depending on how your personal organizational architecture is set up, that could further exacerbate the problem. And so, you know, we are seeing all sorts of complexities across the whole industry. I collaborate with fellow CEOs weekly on this topic, sharing best practices.
And it is an extremely complex topic. And then you've got insurance companies that are clearly not efficient. They're running, you know, as if they were 50 years ago with real no changes there at all.
And our number one focus is trying to distill all that complexity down into, you know, as few steps as possible to reduce the day sales outstanding and the cash collections and just increase the cash efficiency within the organization. Extremely hard to do.
Well, and so many failure points along the way, right?
Don't break anything, right? Let's just seek to understand. Let's seek to learn what is happening and then just don't break anything.
Because, boy, when you break it, it can go sideways really quick.
I would say that's the number one area that is going to be a problem for a long time forward.
Yeah, I mean, I think we're recording this on April 9th, and we're just really starting to hear and feel the effects of the problems that happened with change. And that being a major fail point has had a trickle down effect that's been ridiculous. And I think dental is maybe a little more immune to that, because we don't just rely on the one kind of third party intermediary there, where a lot of ophthalm takes care of a lot of the hospital systems.
But I think we're really starting to feel that on the dental side. And I guess all we can hope for is that maybe that also brings some redundancy and speed. It shows that things should be paid as quickly as possible, so that those types of issues don't have these kind of effects that can be crippling on different organizations.
If we take some of what we've just talked about and kind of take it back to the patient, how do you at Oakpoint, in your role at the C-suite or maybe even down at the practice level or in between, how do you see and hear and feel things around the patient or the community? What are some of your inputs so that your teams can respond or start to offer new services or sunset a service that no one is using? Tell us a little bit about how you get those types of insights to stay connected to the patient as the CEO.
So we will and have issued a fair amount of surveys to the patients. That's one area of information gathering. We do a fair amount of work with our doctors to understand, okay, if we're supporting our doctor base properly, and this is our key message to our doctors, is we always want them to know that we have their back 100% behind the scenes.
So anything that they need from a human resources standpoint to their employee base and to that team member base, anything at all, we have their backs. That can free them up to focus on delivering exceptional clinical care to the patients. One of the cascading messages that's going on internally right now across all of our doctors is, how can we better educate the patient that, the last time that I checked that our mouths are attached to our bodies.
So dental is always discarded and not necessarily considered part of health care, which we all know is a huge mistake, right? That thought process is a huge mistake. So working with our provider base to better educate the patient on prevention, really truly focusing on prevention.
Aesthetics are one thing, right? Straight teeth are one thing, beautiful teeth are one thing, but it's perio charting is done correctly, and making sure that we have all the resources to support the doctors appropriately there. That's just one area, and when you look at dental, oftentimes overlooked inside a practice potentially.
So what can we do as a support team to support the clinical teams to ensure that that's actually being delivered? So it's not easy to do, right? There's the aesthetics piece of the business, right?
Then there's the prevention piece of the business, and then there's the maintenance piece of the workflow. But look, if we're doing, I would say, I love finding doctors who are passionate about hygiene because hygiene practices are really healthy practices. They run exceptionally well.
The doctors focused on prevention, and they're clinically sound, and there's a direct one-to-one correlation there with sound hygiene practices and great clinical care. And it's fun to talk to doctors that embody that and embrace that and want to further expand that. Just a few things that we do on our end.
Yeah, and I think that this makes sense because I'm not a practicing dentist anymore, but of course people call me and they're like, oh, I just got this treatment plan. It always makes me pause when someone's telling me about a treatment plan and the dentist wants to do four or five crowns and then do the cleaning. So I think that you're right.
We also know that outcomes are better whenever possible to have some of that, let's take care of the environment and the bacteria and the gut health and all of the other pieces. But I think there's such a strong body of science around some of this now. And it makes a ton of sense.
What do you think is one of the most overlooked areas of the patient experience? And this could come from personal experience in provider's offices or from your role as a CEO.
Yeah, I think there's two things that I'm personally very passionate about. So number one, running a schedule on time.
Oh, yeah. We talk about marketing to attract new patients into a practice, which is of course a lifeblood of any practice. And if you just deliver exceptional customer patient service, the rest will truly fall into place.
It really truly will. So running on time is absolutely critical. And I think oftentimes overlooked across the entire practice.
And then kind of going in reverse here, answering the phones and having that initial point of contact being exceptional. If you've got a phone tree set up and that tree is set, so it's three, four, five buttons you have to press in order to talk to a live human being, you're going to have a huge fall off in call volume. There's no question about it.
We've looked at the data. We're deeply passionate about the phones. And look, I think most people will respond like if you don't have the answer, it's okay.
Just tell the patient you don't have the answer and take a name and phone number down and get back to them in 15 minutes. People appreciate good service because let's face it, in today's world, there's not a lot of it. And if you look at really exceptionally run organizations from a customer service point of view, their backbone, everything that they've built their organization on is delivering exceptional customer service.
So those are the two things that I'm personally very passionate about. And I think it's very simple. And then you have to, it's hard to execute on, but it really truly is a simple thing, right?
We all know it. But then being strategic about the people you're hiring from a team member standpoint to help you support those initiatives, right? And those goals of delivering exceptional customer service.
You have to be at the front desk. You have to want to serve the patient walking through the door. Point and simple.
You just have to be hardwired for it in your DNA. You have to be hardwired to serve the patient. Because our doctors are, right?
There's no question the doctors are. They eat, sleep, and breathe taking care of the patient. And then surrounding yourself around people that embody that mindset, and the rest just kind of falls into place.
Yeah, I love that. I mean, both things basically speak to the old adage, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. And, you know, I would say looking at thousands and thousands of data points from patients through DifferentKind, through all different kinds of practices all over the country, you know, we can say that wait time is one of the things that make a patient walk away from your practice and never come back.
And that wait time is really, really minimal. It's like six, eight, ten minutes and they're done. No matter how nice your waiting room is, no matter how much coffee you have sitting out for them.
You know, from a personal experience, two of my three children go to an orthodontist here in town, and he is so rigid with his schedule. And, you know, I need flexibility. So it drives me nuts if I have to reschedule because I'm like, well, I'm bringing the one, can't I just bring the other?
I know this is not a wire change. You know, it's going to be quick. And the front desk people are like, oh, no, no, Dr. G will only run his schedule this way because, and sure enough, nobody ever sits.
So now every time I go there with my children, you know, I literally start my clock when I walk in the door. And I have never waited more than four minutes unless I was really, really, really early for my kids to be seen in the back. So I do totally believe that.
And I think sometimes we forget when we are on the service end of health care. We think that once a patient's come in for a new patient appointment and have spent two hours with us going through their medical history and getting all their x-rays and filling out all the forms or whatever it is, it's a big chunk of time. And then we eat treatment plan with them, hopefully, you know, co-treatment plan with them.
We just assume they're going to be loyal to us for forever. But I really think, and we see this in our data from DifferentKind, that absolutely every single time they come in for an appointment, even if it's their 10th time in a month and they love you, if they're waiting more than 10 or 15 or 20 minutes, you can just see there. And, you know, we tend to survey three to four hours after the appointment, once their anesthesia wears off, to be able to, you know, really look at some of this.
Yes. So wait time, wait time in an office, it's critical, right? I mean, time is so critically important to everybody in today's world.
Every minute kind of counts, at least it feels like that to me. And you just don't want to walk into a patient appointment and be 20 minutes late, you know, running 20 minutes behind. I think most people would give a pass on one, you know, one time if there's an extenuating circumstance and it's communicated appropriately to the patient.
Without a doubt, I mean, I think most people would be fine with one situation, but if it's a continued kind of habitual just running behind and being tardy in the schedule, it's going to have an impact on your patient. It also creates tremendous stress on the team.
It does, for sure. I mean, the front desk, they're like, you know, they have PTSD after a day like that. And I think, because they're always, they're hearing it, they're apologizing, they're trying to move things.
I wholeheartedly think it is one of the reasons we see attrition at the front desk more than a lot of other positions. I mean, we know from, you know, Department of Labor Statistics that, you know, frontline customer service roles tend to have a three to a four year timeline before they flip. So I do think it's one of the keys to, you know, keeping your staff who have the, like you said, the tribal knowledge of how that micro office, you know, works, how it could impact other offices that you work with and partner with in the area wholeheartedly.
Absolutely. Yeah, and technology obviously helps drive some of this, right? Scheduling, making sure the schedule is automated in every step function that you can possibly automate it in.
And just trying to streamline as much of that as possible, obviously sounds great, right? Hard to execute on. But also too, I think part of that is about running efficiently and on time is also running a schedule that's efficient.
And I will be the first one to tell you I am not, I am in no way, shape or form an expert on how to set up an efficient schedule. But we have incredibly talented people on our team that know how to set up a schedule efficiently and for maximum success and reduce stress in the system. And our doctors and our teams work closely on that to build those protocols on the front end so that you get it right and run a very efficient schedule throughout the day.
So it is all about the patient, right? If you take care of the patient, the rest will fall into place. And you have to have it, you've got to look at the whole life cycle and pretend you're a patient.
Just pretend you're a patient and call into the practice, right? Like what's the experience like?
Yeah, and I think, Mick, what I'm hearing, too, is that having like amazing templates that represents that office, that time of day, that particular community, the types of procedures that may or may not be done on a certain day. I think there is certainly like an art form to it. I also think there are ways to blend in some areas of, you know, a little more plasticity.
You know, when you think about the game Tetris, or what is it, Candy Crush, you know, where you condense things and move things around. And, you know, it takes high performing teams to be able to do that. I also think that, you know, those types of approaches is where we've seen, like, no shows or broken appointments decrease.
It's where we also see a little bit of plasticity in the schedule so that if someone, you know, on the clinical team is late or needs to leave early because of a sick kid, you know, that there are ways that you can do that that still have calibration and still have, you know, some degree of kind of the culture, but still give a little bit of play that can sometimes, because I've seen where some practices take such a rigid approach to scheduling that it backfires. And the life cycle, I think, is an important piece, that kind of patient journey is really important because if you have a practice that's in an area with a lot of executives or an area where maybe there are some kind of manufacturing, like some of those schedules ideally would change based on the community or the day of the week. Can you tell me a little bit more too as you're looking to bring in new partners?
What you've heard from your existing partners or dental offices that didn't choose to affiliate, what differentiated Oakpoint and your leadership approach from maybe others that they were considering?
Yeah, this is again one of my favorite topics to talk about because there are different groups for different doctors at different stages of life. And I think as a doctor that's exploring, potentially taking this step to partner with a group, I think it's important to look at where you're at in your own personal journey within your career. Are you later stage and you want to work another two years and kind of walk off and sail off into the sunset?
Or do you want to be focused on growth for the next 10, 15, potentially 20 years or longer and partner with a group to take your vision and truly make it happen and deliver on it? And that's what we've attracted, that's our model within Oakpoint, is we've attracted growth-oriented, growth-focused doctors. And that's how we've just built the business.
And so our average age of our doctor is 47 years of age. Every one of our doctors is focused on professional growth, not only at the practice level, but also honing in his or her clinical acumen and taking their clinical acumen to the next level. And where I think we've really done a nice job of differentiating ourselves is aligning ourselves with doctors that truly want to grow.
They're not coasting and making sure that we're putting the support mechanisms in place to help support that growth. And I would say that the vast majority of our doctors, when they joined, they were at a personal inflection point within their own careers. And they had a practice that, let's say, two locations and they want to take it to five.
And they personally know that they need resources around them to help them go from two to five locations. Or we've got another practice, it's a two-doctor practice that has six operatories right now and has the opportunity to secure the adjacent space next door and expand and double the size and footprint of the existing practice. Those are phenomenal practices for us.
We can bring tremendous value to those doctors. We can be the backbone in that growth. And at the same time, allow them to do the things that they love to do every day.
And that's take care of patients. So our differentiating point of view is making sure that we are focused on growth. And that's both at the clinical level, clinic level, like actual clinical delivery level, and also from a patient acquisition level and making sure that we've got the tools in place.
Yeah, and I love that. I mean, I can really just paint that picture in my head because I think when you're at that stage as a clinician, you're not worried about how do I learn to do a molar endo faster and more efficiently and with better outcomes, but you're really hungry for knowledge. So it's such a great inflection point.
It's sort of like, I'll take my experience as a woman when you're expecting your first child, you read all these books and you talk to friends and you learn all of these things, and you try and also spread that knowledge to the village of people around you. That will be involved in your growing child and family's lifespan. And so to me, this is probably part of the key to the success of Oakpoint in the sense that when you have doctors that are growth-oriented, I can very much see your focus on innovation, technology, data, just be at a place where not only it helps that provider to kind of supercharge what they're doing, but it then becomes little seeds that plants throughout their existing practices.
And I think innovation may be one of the key places there, both in terms of your approach to operations and to hardware, software innovation. So maybe we'll just kind of close out on that because it's certainly the feather in the cap of what you're doing. And again, well, thank you for the time after, but if we can just close out on thoughts around innovation and how you continue to support these practices would be great.
Yeah, absolutely. So a couple of things. Let's talk maybe about data just for a quick second.
And maybe just make one quick point in terms of how we, one quick example of how we use data to make good strategic decisions. So we have one of our practices was having some challenges at the front desk and answering phones efficiently. So they were missing a disproportionate percentage of phone calls relative to let's call it the mean average or what the goal is for us as an organization.
And this is also a practice that was spending a fairly tidy sum on marketing dollars. And so you're spending big dollars on marketing and you're missing a disproportionate percentage of phone calls. That's an easy fix, right?
You either have to answer the phones or we have to dial back the marketing spend. And when you've got a great partner in the doctors that we have, you sit with the doctors, you give them the data. And what I've learned and worked with doctors now for over almost two decades is if you give that provider the data, the decisions will be made.
It's that simple. And that's what I love about our doctor partners is when you sit shoulder to shoulder with them and you give them the data and you arm them with the data, and they're all over it. They're all about constant improvement, constantly focused on driving toward excellence, and never satisfied with status quo.
They're just not. They're just not wired like that. So that's one way I think that we use data extremely efficiently, and there's a lot of other examples, but that's one.
And then on the innovation front and technology front, personally speaking, we see two areas of investment that we're focused heavily on. That's on the revenue cycle side and the automation of all of those steps that drive the revenue cycle function. And so we will be taking, we are right now, and we will continue to take calculated risks with new technologies that help drive automation and efficiency on the revenue cycle side of the business, because we just feel like that is one of the areas of most frustration for everybody at this point, and we just don't see anything, any letting up there.
And so we're constantly on the forefront of that, we're attending conferences, demonstrations, technology demonstrations, we're on it, it's in our lifeblood, and we'll continue to be as we kind of go forth. And then on the artificial intelligence side, as mentioned earlier, that is an area that we want to make sure that we're supporting our doctors properly and appropriately and looking at technologies. And we do have some, approximately a half a dozen or so doctors in our organization have agreed to be champions and review technologies and be able to push the tire, push the envelope a bit and kick the tires on new technologies coming out.
And then put a quick write up on that technology back to us and help us understand, is this something we should pursue? Is this not something we should be pursuing? And so we want to make sure we're on the forefront of our artificial intelligence because we feel that that is going to be an incredible component of diagnosis of treatment going forward.
No doubt about it.
And then the other piece, particularly when you're talking about the patient and out of pocket cost or treatment that isn't covered, maybe it is more cosmetic or maybe it's something that's not traditionally covered by insurances like implants or something. One of the things we see all the time from DifferentKind and we have a couple of white papers out around it is really this, you know, like it's called shared decision making. If you want to read some academic articles about it, but it's really this co-treatment planning with the patient, like hearing what the patient is saying as the provider, having the provider involved in this and not just a treatment plan coordinator so that there's like clinical way and the patient will really listen more when they feel like the doctor is actively listening to them first.
And this is where we really have seen the, you know, the changes in, you know, take home data for the practice in terms of dollars is when they're really actively listening and co-treatment plan with the patient. So I would sort of say that's kind of the next step to the AI piece. You know, you're gaining the patient's trust through, you know, software through using the AI and then kind of keeping a pulse on how that particular patient or your patient base in general is really moving forward.
And then we know, you know, from data that patients are three times more likely to show up for that out of pocket, you know, treatment, which could be very pricey and are more likely to pay on time. So some of those things I think are kind of like the cascade effect around the AI that, you know, we should also figure out some ways to track and look at the inputs.
Yeah, it'll be fun to see how all that plays out. And then, of course, offering and making available financial payment options for the patient as well, because some of the step in that entire process is so complex for the patient. I think the more we can simplify that, using technologies and systems to help with the approval process on the front end, we've done a nice job of that, and we're seeing great results across the entire portfolio there.
So excited to see that kind of play out, this newer area of focus for us, but we'll continue to build on that in the years to come.
Terrific. I know you mentioned CECA. Can you mention some of the other software that you use to be able just for others to hear?
Yeah, absolutely. So CECA is the number one API plugin that we use. It's compatible with the vast majority of practice management systems out there.
And then our aggregator of all of our various systems is a product called Domo. Domo allows us to integrate all of our human resources platform, all of our financial platform, our practice management system platform, and our telephonic platform. So all of that data is aggregated into Domo with customized dashboards built for various levels of the organization.
So we use the data to really drive decision making and drive a certain set of decisions that we want to be followed in a certain order. So, for example, it's one thing to collect the outstanding funds that are owed to the practice efficiently, but if you're not answering the phone, going back to the phone, if you're not answering the phone efficiently, right? So the data tables are set up in a way that drives behavior and in the order in which we want the behavior driven, and trying to distill obviously a very complex environment down to bite sizes.
So that's how we've done it.
And what do you use for patient financing?
We use Care Credit as our primary, and that's been a phenomenal solution. That entire organization's been incredibly supportive of our growth. That's a recent engagement with Care Credit globally across the organization, and we're rolling that out over the last, we started approximately two to three months ago.
And getting good adoption, we're seeing down at the practice level, we're seeing good adoption there.
Okay, fabulous. Well, Mick, we really appreciate your time. Everyone knows that Oakpoint's kinda different.
And it's one of the reasons I think you're such a solid actor or panelist is that everyone's watching what Oakpoint's doing and are amazed that you've been able to make the progress that you've been able to make in the regions that you chose to launch with, like you said, Covid, right as you were launching. So kudos to you and your team for all the good work you do and to all of your provider partners who are taking great care of patients because ultimately that's what we set DifferentKind up to do was to help be a voice for the patient and provide insights back to practices. So I hope you have a great rest of the day and see you soon.
Thank you very much. Always great to see you. Appreciate the time to be here.
Thank you.