Focusing on More Compassion in Care

modern practice podcast

On episode 4 of DentalCast Productions’ “Live with John” podcast series, John Stamper will host Rectangle Health’s Senior Director of Customer Success, Sam Anderson, to discuss how dental practices can utilize technology to automate tedious administrative tasks and focus on delivering more compassionate care.


John Stamper 00:00

What’s going on, everybody? Good evening and welcome to another episode of Live with John. It is an absolute pleasure to continue our learning series with the amazing team from Rectangle Health. We are on episode four and as my guest and I, Sam Anderson, were talking the other day, we had great episodes one, two and three, but it’s kind of like championship rounds, like in a fight. Like as we get to episode four and five, the content is just going to continue to get better. So no pressure whatsoever on our guest, Sam Anderson, who’s the senior director of customer success at Rectangle Health. I know he’s going to do an amazing job. How are you doing, Sam?

Sam Anderson 01:00

I’m well, John. How are you?

John Stamper 01:02

I’m doing great and thanks so much for coming on. So as you all saw, everybody, episode four of this learning series, sam is going to get into focusing on more compassion and care. And I have to say, what has been such a learning experience, even for me in this series is Rectangle Health, as everybody has shared, is a technology company. However, what all of the guests have done, as you are aware, is they are bringing in this human element side that regardless of what the technology does in the dental practice, how it’s helping the team if there’s not that human connection so the team understands it or it’s good for the patients, a lot of it can get lost. So I know that’s what Sam’s going to talk about that today.

If you recall episode one, we had Mike and Brian really kind of framed out the industry as a whole as far as kind of where things are at. Then we had Michelle and Taisha talk about setting yourself up for 2022 and building a plan for success. And in our last episode, we got the opportunity to speak with Michael, who just talked about how that technology is driving success. So, Sam, I think for us to get started real quickly, would love to have you share with everybody how you got to Rectangle Health and then let’s get this thing started.

Sam Anderson 02:15

Sure. Thanks, John. So I’ve spent more than a decade in I guess what we call the fintech space or finance technology. I’ve been responsible for designing solutions and teams that helped improve cash handling procedures and enhance financial controls. My journey to Rectangle Health started, let’s call it, nine years ago with my father’s journey in battle with cancer. We encountered a lot of courageous individuals and stories of personal battles with cancer. But John, with each story, they had a singular underlying theme and that was always cost of care. And Rectangle Health gave me the opportunity to become part of their family about a year ago. And with that opportunity, I’ve been able to practice what I call my purpose each and every day. We offer compassion through technology. It allows practices to meet patients where they are.

So offering affordable payment options, eliminating the financial stress for patients, practices get paid and patients receive the care they need. It’s powerful, John, that I have the opportunity to actually live out my purpose each and every day and a few people actually get the chance to say they do that and I’m very grateful for that opportunity. With rectangle health.

John Stamper 03:24

Yeah, I love that. And I know in talking to your team they were very excited about having you come on today and particularly focusing on this area that you work on every day. And I think for starters, we know, Sam, it’s no secret in dentistry and a lot of industries right now, there’s no staff shortage. It’s kind of hard for people to put their fingers on it, right? You think in yourselves for a lot of these industries, people would want to work there. There’s a lot of stability, especially in the dental field, yet a lot of practices are dealing with it and it feels like technology is there and a lot of these practices are finding ways to at least help them get through these staff shortages.

But I’d love to hear from you how you and your team are helping a lot of your clients work through this.

Dealing with Staffing Shortages

Sam Anderson 04:08

Great question, John. So let me first say following up with Micah, Brian, Michelle Ty and Mike Peluso is not just an honor, it’s a little bit unnerving and a challenge, but I hope that I offer the same insights and quality they did. So job practices are absolutely feeling overwhelmed with lack of resources. They’re being told do more with less, like all of us are. And they have to continue to provide that compassionate patient centric care. So the feeling of being overwhelmed by practice staff can only be achieved through automation. Our customer success managers are skilled in solving business problems. They focus on eliminating manual tasks and three major touch points in the patient journey. And that would be pre point and post-care.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with this, John, but in 2021, Stanford University economists revealed that there is an estimated $141,000,000,000 that’s billion with a B in patient debt, which is staggering. And payments can only be achieved by giving patients options and meeting them where they are and creating that automation is what’s going to relieve a lot of the grind and the burden so that practices can focus on patient centric care. Over the last six to seven months, we had a client, what we call an enterprise solution client, who was really interested in taking our Text-to-Pay solution to the next level.

So they initially started out by saying if a patient owes for a post adjudicated balance, we’re going to send them a message and so slowly but surely, they saw the number of payments for Post Adjudicated balance really start to swing upward. And they said, you know, this is really helping us to scale and meet patients where they are and get paid more efficiently. It’s the difference between taking your accounts receivable from 90 days down to 45 days and cutting it in half. They also took it a step further and said, hey, we also want to be able to take the technology that Rectangle Health provides and we want to be able to give that to patients pre-care. So recently, they rolled out Text-to-Pay for any sort of copay or previously post Adjudicated balance that hadn’t been paid.

And so before the patient ever gets there, they have the opportunity from their mobile phone to remit payment. We know that virtually 98% of all text messages that are received by patients are opened and seen within roughly 90 seconds. So this client was able to take that technology to the next level through our solutions and help and guidance from their Customer Success Manager to integrate that into their business, to help eliminate a lot of that manual intervention and having to mail out those statements, letting them focus more on patient care.

John Stamper 06:55

Yeah, I love hearing that, Sam. And I was thinking there are a lot of practices that embrace a lot of these newer technologies. I mean, just hearing you talk about a practice being able to cut their AR from 90 days to 45 days and what that means, cash flow wise, it’s the lifeblood of a practice. But as you and I both know, there are practices out there that are going about things the way that they always have gone about them. Maybe they’re concerned about what it would take to implement these newer technologies or they get busy or what have you. But there is an impact, as you know, there is an impact on when you don’t implement these, especially now, because they exist. And there’s companies like Rectangle Health that are helping practices implement this very easily.

Can you touch on that a little bit? Like, what is the impact for the practices that have not found a way yet to be able to build these into their practice?

Combatting a Resistance to Change

Sam Anderson 07:45

Absolutely. So Customer Success Managers, they understand that there’s always going to be resistance to change when it comes to implementing technology as part of their business operations. So when our Customer Success Managers, John, when they meet with clients, our clients, we always look at cost savings and ROI, and we almost always relate it to eliminating or reducing things like patient paper statements, which on average cost about $9 per statement. And the cost can be quite staggering for very active practices that see a large volume of patients daily, weekly and monthly. So our Customer Success Managers coach our clients on how to leverage technology to actually reduce the amount of time that patient debt stays in AR. So as you know, there’s an inverse relationship between cash flow and patient debt. And so lack of automation drives up those costs and it reduces cash flow.

So our customer success managers help our clients through the practice management software to reduce debt through technology, leveraging things likeText-to-Pay online payments card on file where the patient can securely give the practice their payment card. Information, store it to where post, Adjudicated, balances or copays can automatically be billed and, of course, recurring payments. Something that our CTO, Mike Peluso, refers to as care now and pay later. So understanding, in addition to how to eliminate these friction or pain points with technology, it’s also important that we understand how to leverage that technology for the patient base or the demographic that serve. So, for example, generation Z, John, those born after 1996 are highly tech savvy. So if we give them a paper bill, one of three things are going to happen.

A, they’re going to receive in the mail and say, wow, this is some sort of joke. This is totally antiquated. B they’re very unlikely to give you their checking account information and or credit card information and mail it back to the practice because they’re very attuned to risk involved when it comes to giving out their financial information. And I would even say C, patients feel that they may feel that another practice is better suited for them because they more effectively leverage technology as part of the patient experience. So patient loyalty, John, is key to the financial health of any practice, whether it’s large or small. And our Customer Success Managers work very closely with our clients to make sure that they’re implementing the right technology that serves the patient demography that they serve on a daily basis.

John Stamper 10:25

Yeah, and it’s interesting, Sam, because when I hear you talk about patient loyalty, there’s a lot of different things that drive that, as you know, and there’s a lot of things that change that over time. And so when I think back over the last couple of years in the pandemic, there are new pressures, as you know, that are on dental practices, and that is that there was a time not too long ago when a patient would come into a practice and a dental practice could still operate and maybe get by with being antiquated. And then all of a sudden you had this explosion of resources and technology available to consumers, patients, meaning that they buy their groceries online, they do all these different things. And as you know, they now expect those same services to be offered by their dental practice.

And when they’re not, it can affect, as you know, the decision of loyalty they’re going to be loyal to. So, as we think about the last couple of years, I know you and your team work with a lot of your clients and have got a lot of feedback on how practices have adapted through this pandemic. We’d love to hear that. We know there’s a lot of practices are doing some great things. Can you just touch on what you’re seeing and where you see things going from here?

How Technology Affects Patient Loyalty

Sam Anderson 11:33

Absolutely, John. So safety is always top of mind with practices when they’re speaking with their Customer Success managers. And one of the things that we help to do is practices understand how to better integrate touchless payments into their business operations. So we’ve helped practices of all sizes achieve scale and provide contactless solutions with digital registration, Text-to-Pay, as I spoke to earlier, QR codes and of course, supportive mobile wallets at the point of care for that contactless touchless experience. This saves time, but more importantly, keeps the practice employees and the patients safe and healthy in the wake of COVID Mike Peluso spoke in the last episode about technology and this contactless payments experience being here to stay. And that’s absolutely true. This is John.

The new normal practices are sharing with their Customer Success managers that helping them implement technology to provide an additional layer of safety. And touchless payments has helped them achieve a balance between business operations and providing compassionate, high quality, patient centered care, whether it’s COVID or it’s the next healthcare crisis, whatever that may be and Mother Nature throws at us. Our Customer Success managers are working with clients to ensure that they are prepared to maintain and continue operations by serving their patients more effectively and leveraging that technology to create that contactless experience in a way that they can capture payments without having to necessarily engage directly with patients so that they can keep everyone safe and healthy.

John Stamper 13:10

Yeah, it’s interesting right there’s, the whole infection control piece and the expectation now for the patients coming in and being very aware of that. And then, of course, the byproduct of just speeding things up for the practice like you talked about, which I think is awesome. One of the great things that I have enjoyed about this learning series is that with everybody I’ve had a chance to speak with, all of you are hitting on the specific technologies that Rectangle Health offers. However, there’s a universal theme in each episode, and that is these stories. We talked about this at the onset of creating this, and that is a lot of times companies get the opportunity to talk about their technologies and how it’s helping the practice, but you don’t always get a chance to share personal stories.

I love how you started this episode with your own personal story and how it obviously connected you to Rectangle Health, but you have that opportunity, just the nature of where you work at Rectangle Health to talk to a lot of these clients. Could you share a story or two of how something we look at technology as like this robotic thing, but it’s connected to exactly what you’re talking about here, which is compassion and care and real lives are being affected by some of these things. So love to hear you share some things.

Sam Anderson 14:20

Absolutely. I’ll start with one of our most recent clients that was a large DSO. And in January I started working with them along with our product delivery team. And one of the things that they were most concerned about is we’re going to implement a lot of change across our organization over the next six to eight months. We’re pretty nervous about this and we’re a bit averse to change. So how do we go about this in a very simple way to where operations can continue to be supported and how are we going to implement that change management across our organization? So one of the things with customer success management that we do is we work very closely with the client during the product delivery process.

So for example, one of the first phases of this project was to get them into a state where they could take card present payments at point of care. We quickly created a process with the help of our product delivery team and we worked directly with the accounting manager for the Dental DSO practice. And so we said, here’s what we need from you and here’s how we’re going to streamline this process so that we’re going to take the burden, we’re going to take the concerns that you have off of you and they’ll place that onerous upon us. And I’m very pleased to say, rather than having to wait that 60 or 90 days to get them up and running, we did it in 30 to 45 days.

And we basically cut your implementation timeline in half by saying, here’s what we need, give it to us and we’re going to take care of the rest. What’s interesting about that experience, John, is that we got a very kind email that accounting manager took the time to craft. And it was in my inbox early the next morning after we completed that implementation of their point of care and their card present solution. And she was not only thankful, but was very complimentary because she said were both warm, compassionate, and we took our time with the implementation and we relieved a lot of those concerns that she went into to this project. Really probably more concern and dreading than anything else.

And I’m proud of not just the work that our customer success team does behind the scenes, but our product delivery team, the folks in R and D who really bring the technology to life and they make it to where our customers can implement it fairly seamlessly, very little friction. And we do it in a way that I feel like delivers that high touch quality that rectangle health is known for, particularly in the dental DSO space. So being able to deliver that type of experience to someone at her level who then took the time to say, hey, I also want to know who the management team is. So I can also send them a very kind email that means a lot to us because oftentimes with technology, you just hear the bad, you never really hear the good.

And get an email like that from a client that said, my first experience with your organization the last 45 days was just unbelievably positive. That means everything to us, particularly from a service center perspective, which is what we seek to deliver a great customer experience when engaging with us from the beginning.

John Stamper 17:43

Well, and as you know, think about the time that was saved by having a smooth implementation with that organization and an episode that one of their practices or a situation could have had with one of their patients to make things easy for them, to help them get care that they needed. It’s all connected, right? Sam? It really is. I don’t share this that often, but one of the big driving forces for me wanting to even create live with John, for me, wanting to spend time with companies, and that is because I spent time providing products to dental practices, and I also spent time in the dental practice as a coaching consultant.

And one of the fascinating things I saw was that the companies like Rectangle Health are always out there on a daily basis trying to make things better for the practice and the doctors and the practice owners and the office managers, they really are interested in all these newer technologies. It’s just that both sides are really busy doing things, and as you know, the practices are busy seeing patients. But what is so encouraging is when companies and practices work together, and I think they’re closer than they’ve ever been. Because, like you share that story, we’re at a point right now where a lot of these practices need these technologies that you guys offer in an effort to be able to keep up and in many cases, for them to keep their doors open.

So I love that story, and I think it just shows how important it is for both sides of the equation in dentistry that companies and practices are working together. So great stuff.

Sam Anderson 19:09

Thank you, John. I appreciate it.

The Benefits of Compassion in Care

John Stamper 19:11

I love that. All right, so any closing thoughts as we talk about compassion? A lot of the work that you’re doing, and I think more importantly, what you’re most excited about when you look at the future with Rectangle Health.

Sam Anderson 19:24

Well, let me say thank you for this opportunity. But I would also say to that, John, one of the things that I’m most fortunate to be able to do, as I said at the onset of our conversation, and that is to be able to practice that purpose. Every day and being able to take the human, the emotional element, all the things that I experience, to be able to take that care and funnel it directly to working with our clients. I don’t, unfortunately, get to work as one to one with clients as I would like to. When I was in the trenches as a Customer Success manager a few years ago, I was constantly in contact with these clients. And unfortunately, when you lead a team, you are a layer or a level removed.

However, I do get the opportunity to still speak with them, particularly our larger clients that are coming online early on. I do have the opportunity to work with some of the decision makers and some of those people who are going to be vital to the implementation of our software. And so it gives me that perspective to be able to say to them, I understand what your concerns are, I’ve been down this path more than once and we’re going to ensure that you have a best in class experience. And that’s what we always strive to give all of our customers, big and small, it doesn’t matter. I would say the thing I’m most excited about is being able to continue to watch our solution, our software, evolve and seeing it.

We have a vision for our software and we roll it out and we talk about these feature sets that are going to help with contactless payments and helping to reduce AR. But it’s always interesting when a client gets involved and they say, I love this, but I want to see it do more. And I think it can go in this direction. And getting that type of real time feedback that we get from our clients that we then socialize back to our product team and we make business cases for and we vet the roadmap so that those feature sets can be there for our clients. It’s truly amazing the insights and I’m just excited about the throughput that we receive from our clients and helping our software continue to grow and to thrive and serve the healthcare industry, in particular dental DSO practices.

So I’m excited to see what more of our clients are going to give us in terms of feedback to help improve our product.

John Stamper 21:44

Yeah, and that’s awesome. I mean, I think that’s the whole point of this and I think that we’re seeing through the example you just laid out that when companies are working with the practices and you’re open to get that feedback, the speed of technology and what it really can do for a practice and ultimately for the patient is awesome. And so seeing that you guys are working with your clients to kind of get that feedback is only going to make things better for the profession, which is awesome. So listen, Sam, this has been great and we have one more episode of this learning series.

I know, as you said, that there was a lot of pressure with the three episodes that came before you, but I think you did an amazing job and I think that you really laid out this human side of what rectangle health is which is I know what we wanted to do here and you’ve certainly done that. So it’s been a pleasure. I wish you the best of luck. And I want to let everybody know that’s watching right down below in the comments thread live. Be sure to go click on that. Learn more about the great work this team is doing in an effort to help practices. They got a lot of information on there. You can set up a demo, all kinds of great stuff, so be sure to check that out. And until our next episode, we will see you all soon.

Thanks, Sam.

Sam Anderson 22:59

Thank you, John.



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