Dentistry could become a leader in AI use: VideaHealth CEO

Dentistry could lead the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare as the industry continues to innovate with the technology, according to VideaHealth Founder and CEO Florian Hillen.

Several industry partnerships and new product launches took place this year as dental AI companies looked for new ways to integrate the technology into the dental field. VideaHealth marked several accomplishments, including rolling out its technology at several DSOs and gaining new patents and FDA clearances.

Mr. Hillen recently spoke with Becker's about the company's accomplishments from the last year, how AI will evolve in the dental industry and the trends he is currently following with AI.

Note: These responses were lightly edited for clarity and length.   

Question: How would you describe the last year for VideaHealth?

Florian Hillen: This year has been truly big for us in terms of fulfilling VideaHealth's mission. Our mission is that we want to help thousands of dental clinicians provide better care to millions of patients through AI. This year, we grew the company, our product, our customers and our users. We end this year now having over 25,000 dental clinicians using our AI every single day and we are supporting the diagnosis and treatment planning of tens of millions of patients per year. So it's pretty amazing. 

At the beginning of this year, AI was an exciting but young topic and now at the end of it, it is not a future topic anymore. It's used day by day. So it's pretty rewarding to see this huge shift in the industry within 12 months and now every day we are getting an email from either a dentist, a hygienist or even a patient about the impact our AI has [had on] their life. That has been great.

Q: What are the company's biggest accomplishments from this year?

FH: I think the first thing is that we truly understood how to incorporate Videa AI into the workflow and the day-to-day [work] of a dentist, which leads to adoption and measurable results. Before, it was just like a proof of concept, but right now we have dentists using it every day on every patient and we also have measurable results.

Number two is due to those learnings, we were able to roll out [our technology at] a lot of DSOs throughout this year. There are many to name, but one of the highlights was Heartland Dental, the largest DSO in the world. We rolled out across their entire footprint this quarter within eight weeks. We believe this is the fastest AI rollout and the largest in the history of healthcare.

The third aspect is that we were able to deeply integrate into Dentrix and Dentrix Ascend together with our great partner, Henry Schein. Going back to our mission, we want to provide better care to millions of patients and support dentists. So now we made our AI available to over tens of thousands of dentists. So everyone who has Dentrix and Ascend can click to update and have our AI. That was not possible before this year and now it's possible.

The fourth thing is that we massively expanded our FDA clearances. We have obtained FDA clearances that cover almost every single disease you can identify on a radiograph and that enables our dental clinicians to have a comprehensive AI platform and do comprehensive diagnosing treatment planning with it. That was always our goal. Now you can do everything, the bread and butter of a general practitioner, [with AI.] So that's pretty phenomenal.

The fifth and last thing is we grew quite a lot in terms of the number of people, and we just built an incredible mission-driven team at VideaHealth who are going to extreme lengths to make our customers successful, to constantly innovate and to do the best by the dentist as well as by the patients.

Q: What results have you achieved with your technology this year?

FH: We get daily emails from dental clinicians using our software who share that they were able to use our software to convince a patient to get the right treatment at the right time and not delay because that's what's happening a lot. That's incredibly gratifying because it helps the dentist and it helps the patient. We also get a lot of reviews from patients who appreciate it because they are now getting a two-surface filling now versus maybe a root canal in a few years.

The other side of it [is] the quantitative side. We published one of the largest benchmark studies in the industry to date. It's an analysis of over 40 DSOs. We analyzed over 470,000 patients and we compared their treatment plan and their diagnostic success with the AI and without the AI. What we found is that if a patient has been [treated with AI], we were able to grow the revenue of that practice by 13% across restorative and periodontal procedures, so 13% more net production for restorative or periodontal treatments. That's almost $80,000 more revenue per year just because of our AI. So it's a great financial outcome for the clinician, but it's also incredibly great for the patient because they are getting the treatment now versus delaying it and paying more and having more health risks later. So it's a win-win.

Q: What does the company have planned for 2024?

FH: We started to fulfill our mission [this year] and we will double down on that. We want to continue bringing better health to millions of patients through AI. We are massively expanding our customer user base. The second thing is that we want to build on our excellence. We have obtained a huge scale this year in terms of the number of users, and we are focusing on continuing to have the best customer success, drive adoption and workflows and provide measurable [results] to our customers. We are now getting to a scale where we are all about delivering excellent experiences to our customers across the board and that continues to be our focus, as well as continuously innovating on our product to make it easier to use as well as expanding the insights: more detections of potential diseases.

Q: What should dentists know about AI today?

FH: The number one thing, which is unfortunately also a misconception right now with ChatGPT, et cetera, is the misconception that it's AI versus the expert, which would be the dentist. That is not true. The dentist and the AI as a collaborative unit can do a faster, quicker job and have an easier time than dentists without AI. [It] is a collaboration between the dentists and the AI together, not against each other. It's a win-win situation. We see this in the real world. Clinicians who might have initially been reluctant to leverage AI are now using VideaAI for every case, every day. 

The second thing is that patients like it too ... It's incredibly powerful to see your own X-rays with the AI. It just increases your understanding. You start to co-diagnose with the dentist. It's just incredibly powerful and I believe that patients will benefit from that experience quite a lot. We already see that happening.

Q: What trends in AI are you paying attention to right now?

FH: I think we still underestimate the impact AI will have on our world. I think we are close to crossing the chasm of AI being useful to society. Also, I'm an optimist. I believe modern society has a lot of huge challenges, such as energy, education and healthcare. We need AI and innovation to navigate these challenges in the future. So I'm excited for what's to come for how we can change our outcomes. I also believe that dentistry will actually lead AI in healthcare and will not be behind.

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