Industry Trends in the DSO Space and How to Stay Prepared

March 22, 2022

In 2020, 16.3 percent of dental professionals aged 21 to 35 were affiliated with a DSO. The benefits are clear—with DSOs, dental professionals can focus on their skills and patients while experts handle the business side of the operation. In 2022, over 4,000 DSOs exist nationwide, and hundreds more form each year. These businesses are motivated to keep on top of the latest industry trends and stay prepared by incorporating new and emerging dental technologies and practices.

The DSO space is constantly evolving with new industry trends. It’s essential to be aware of these trends and how they can impact your business and competition. Here are three critical industry trends in the DSO space and how to stay prepared.

The Increase of Data-Driven Services

For starters, more and more companies are turning to data-driven services to improve their operations. This involves using data analytics to make better decisions, identify opportunities, and optimize processes.

As a result, the demand for data-driven services is increasing, which is good news for DSOs. DSOs, by definition, are meant to support dental professionals in providing better patient care by reducing the burden of administration. Data-driven services help them accomplish this by gaining a holistic view of practice-level KPIs. By aligning those KPIs and setting clear goals, practices can achieve better outcomes.

Standard metrics for dental practice performance include the following:

  • Rate of hygiene recall
  • Current active patients
  • New monthly patients
  • Monthly production
  • Monthly practice overhead
  • Product, collections, and accounts receivable
  • New monthly, quarterly, and annual acquisitions

DSOs also help silo marketing efforts, improve communication, and maximize ROI. Depending on the specific goals and structure of the DSO, they might consider incorporating specific marketing technologies to assist their efforts. This includes analytical tools, reporting software, a project management system, and more. This allows a better workflow and time for the marketing team to focus on what they do best.

From KPIs to silo structuring and integrated technologies to support marketing efforts, data-driven services are one critical component of becoming a leading DSO.

The Rise of AI and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning cover a broad spectrum of technologies—from consumer electronics to diagnostic imaging tools in healthcare—rapidly gaining popularity due to automating complex tasks and improving decision-making. As these technologies evolve, DSOs can see increased demand for their services.

AI allows dentists and dental professionals to move with increased precision and efficiency in dentistry. They no longer need to stop and sanitize their hands as AI completes the task at hand, providing better infection control and a seamless workflow. AI technology also helps dentists diagnose and treat dental illnesses and conditions better. It can detect tooth decay, oral cancer, and periodontal disease through diagnostic imaging and advanced algorithms. Ultimately, this paves the road to the future of dentistry with healthier, happier patients and happier dentists, too.

The Rise of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is becoming a more important priority for businesses looking to leverage new technologies to improve their operations. This presents an opportunity for DSOs to help companies implement these technologies and achieve better results.

One way dentists use digital services is through patient management software. Online portals provide patients with increased autonomy, an ability to interact directly with their provider via a secure messaging platform, pay bills, review test results, and more. It’s the ultimate patient management tool and an excellent way to streamline operations, improve staff efficiency, cut down on mundane administrative tasks, and improve user experience.

DSOs can stay ahead of the curve and prepare to better serve their patients by keeping these industry trends in mind.