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THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Changing times - a final word (this week) on AI in dentistry



Last Saturday, I was privileged to join Hannah Burrow (Kiroku) and Dhru Shah (Dentinal Tubules) for the Practice Plan panel on "The Future of AI in Dentistry".


One of the questions that did set the cat amongst the pigeons was whether the panel thought that AI would reduce the number of jobs in dentistry?


Hannah diplomatically suggested that AI, used at its best, would automate repetitive jobs (like note taking) and free people to use their time creatively.


Dhru raised a banner for human creativity, passion, heart and soul - and eloquently suggested that we need more, not less, humanity in the delivery of healthcare.


My own contribution was pragmatic:


  • Surveying my clients, their average total PAYE wage bill is 40% up in the last 2 years;

  • That represents approximately 7.5% of profits which have disappeared;

  • And can only be recovered by

    • increasing the productivity of fee-earners;

    • increasing prices;

    • decreasing costs, the most significant of which is their wages bill.


I'd love to say that dentists will be ready, willing and able to improve production and increase prices - but the evidence paints a different picture - one of reluctance or inability to rock those boats.


So - I suggested to my audience - even though I agree wholeheartedly with both Hannah and Dhru, if AI gives dental business owners the opportunity to reduce their payroll costs, they will take it.


Expensive people replaced by increasingly inexpensive machine learning.


What we have to wait for is the technology - but that wave is one that none of us can turn back, and it's moving fast.


This week I've been approached:


  • By Google, asking me to upgrade to Gemini - their AI support service for all Google Drive material;

  • By Microsoft, asking me to upgrade to Copilot - their AI support service for all OneDrive material;

  • Both of the above mean that I don't need to use ChatGPT any more;

  • By Zoom, asking to take advantage of their AI companion, which looks as if it might make my existing subscription to Fathom unnecessary;

  • And this morning, a message from Meta telling me to look out for AI improvements to my Facebook experience, resulting in changes to their privacy policy that will come into effect from 26th June 2024, unless I exercise my right to object.


Come gather 'round people

Wherever you roam

And admit that the waters

Around you have grown

And accept it that soon

You'll be drenched to the bone

If your time to you is worth savin'

And you better start swimmin'

Or you'll sink like a stone

For the times they are a-changin'


p.s. Image generated in Wix.com by Photo Studio AI Image Creator






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