AI is here and can help your practice. Are you ready to take advantage of it?
Join Bethany and Eugene Shatsman from National Strategic Group as they talk about the role that rapidly evolving AI tools can play in optometry and how practice owners and managers can use them to drive practice growth and innovation.
Eugene’s team has tested dozens of AI tools and he discusses how being an early adopter of some of this technology can help enhance your patient experience and give your practice an edge. He shares his perspectives on how AI offers shortcuts to humans, not replacing, but enhancing what we do every day.
Marketing your practice involves so much more than getting patients in the door. As the capabilities of AI expand every day, harnessing this exciting technology can provide strategic advantage while allowing you to analyze practice data and interact with your patients in ways you’ve never had the time or technical ability to do before.
August 30, 2023
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Becca Starks: We have the ear with the students to hear what they’re looking for. They’re very, very few students that we’re working with, with the class of 2023 that will even consider an opportunity that is not private practice.
Dr. Bethany Fishbein: Hey, I am Bethany Fishbein. I am the CEO of The Power Practice and Host of The Power Hour Optometry Podcast. And I just want to first congratulate all of the new optometrists graduating this week from the optometry schools across the country. It’s such an exciting time. It doesn’t feel like that long ago since I and my classmates at New England College of Optometry in 1997 graduated. It goes fast. It’s really an exciting time. So congratulations, first of all, and this show is inspired by and dedicated to you and all of the people that you are hoping will hire you. Once you get your licenses and get out there into the world. So I’ve invited a guest, I have Becca Starks, Becca handles Enterprise Accounts and Operations for KMK Careers. And she’s here to help me sort out some of the things that today’s optometry students are looking for, and help educate some of the optometrists who are looking to hire young optometrists about misconceptions they may have or differing perceptions of this graduating class. So, Becca, thanks for doing this your second podcast ever. That’s awesome.
Becca Starks: Yes, thank you for having me. This is exciting.
Dr. Bethany Fishbein: Yeah, thank you. It’s an interesting time because we work with mostly established optometric practice owners. So most of the people that I’m speaking to day to day are employers of young optometrists, and they have this vision of what today’s graduates are like, and then I get the opportunity to speak with optometry students and recent grads and they’re not necessarily like that perception at all. So hopefully, you can help us bridge the gap a little bit.
Becca Starks: Yeah, absolutely.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: So, talk about yourself for a minute here. I want you to just talk about KMK and KMK Careers because when I want to data on students, I knew you were the one to go to. And so I want all of my listeners to understand your involvement with young optometrists today.
Becca Starks: Yeah, absolutely. So KMK for those that don’t know KMK’s foundation is the KMK board review, which was started 18 years ago by Dr. Kyle Cheatham. And now fast forward 18 years we are inside of all of the 23 optometry schools nationwide. We have a team of optometrist instructors that traveled to all of the schools and we have a relationship with both third and fourth-year optometry students and 98, This is a big number to remember 98% of optometry students utilize KMK to pass their boards. So essentially we have a relationship with almost every single optometry student nationwide from the board’s perspective. And so we now have a new division of KMK specifically on careers which is just a natural extension of supporting those same students and finding their first career.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: So you’re initially talking to these students when they’re students studying for boards. And then they hopefully pass boards and you know, move on and take more boards and pass those and move on. So what are the services that you’re providing for these students once they’ve graduated as doctors?
Becca Starks: Yeah, so it’s really fun. Personally, I am mostly an employee you’re facing so those that are looking for these candidates. However, we have a team of career advisors and all day long, they’re the luckiest ones in the world. They get to speak to these upcoming grads. So right now they are around the clock talking to those that are about to graduate here and a couple of weeks or maybe have graduated just recently. And uncovering what they’re looking for in a practice is really it’s a one-on-one relationship, so it’s totally free to students. They sign up to get a career advisor. They have calls with that career advisor to uncover what are they looking for what type of practice is it specific specialties, just anything that may be the true motivating factor as to why they want to go to a certain practice. And then essentially we play matchmaker so the career advisors speak to students all day long. I speak to employers all day long, and then we come together and get to build a bridge between the two and hopefully connect great candidates with a great opportunity.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Maybe it’ll be the next Netflix show after Indian matchmaking, Jewish matchmaking. It’ll be optometric career matchmaking. And be a celebrity.
Becca Starks: I think some of us would watch that, at least your listeners would probably enjoy that.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: My husband and I would watch it so
Becca Starks: same.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: So I mean, you’ve got a line of sight into exactly who today’s optometrists or today’s graduating class, today’s brand new optometrists are, can you give some facts and figures of what that class looks like?
Becca Starks: Yeah, so essentially, from a demographic perspective, it’s highly female. The data is showing 70% female and 30% Male.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: 70?
Becca Starks: 70 Percent.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Wow.
Becca Starks: Yes. And there’s information I believe you are going to be able to put in the show notes. But there is a really robust report. I believe it’s lots and lots of pages. I don’t remember how many but there are highlights within that on pages nine and 10 that give a really good but really quick summary of demographics of this class, within gender within race. There’s even financial information about how many needed to have financial aid, that sort of thing, and some really detailed information even about by school breakdown.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Are you able to roll through some of the things in there that kind of stood out to you?
Becca Starks: So the biggest thing that stands out to me is female and how as you it shows kind of year over year how that transition has changed from much more female than male as it was in the past. Same thing with race, I believe I don’t remember how many years ago it was but just not too long ago. It was predominantly white for professionals graduating and now that’s shifted to highly other races, whether it’s Asian or black or other races that are included in that.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: And what about the financial piece? Because I feel like that’s such a big topic for new doctors. Is this need to pay back student loans? Do you have any stats on the amount of debt that students are graduating with?
Becca Starks: Yeah, so the report itself shows 85% of students are utilizing some type of support financial aid, loans, and the average for a graduate right now graduating is about $200,000 in debt. So definitely it is.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: That’s just from optometry school or that’s including undergrad debt?
Becca Starks: That’s actually a good question. We just get the stat of 200,000 and I assumed it was just optometry school. But that’s a good question.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: So young, female, and any change in like age demographic? Or is it typically right out of college a year or two out of college starting into Optometry?
Becca Starks: Yeah, So typically, it is kind of a typical route straight out of undergrad and to optometry school. There is about of the 16-1700 graduates there are about 150 of those that are considered you know, like other avenues whether that would be part-time or returning back in at a later point in time.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Okay, so out of 1500 you’re talking about? Very typically, right? 1000 young, female, probably non-white doctors.
Becca Starks: Yeah.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: If you had to say this is what’s typical. This is the majority.
Becca Starks: Yeah.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: With debt?
Becca Starks: Yes. A lot of it.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Okay. So, when you talk to this typical doctor and are getting into the field of matching into a career of their dreams, what are they telling you that they want?
Becca Starks: Yeah. So it’s been interesting to learn that so the things that I came into this thinking people would want my background was actually at LinkedIn for five years before coming on to help launch this division of KMK and I thought it would be very different. I would think pay would exceed everything else. But, interestingly, location is the top deciding factor for these new graduates in determining which practice they want. Obviously, that is the hardest answer because no one can do anything about the location of their practice. But we can touch on this later. Kind of some ideas and tips for those to try to recruit folks into harder locations but definitely the location. Again, before and above pay even this work-life balance coming into play that is much more of a topic. Then I think it has been in years past. Not necessarily meaning, Hey, I want to come in and I want to never work. But this generation is much more just passionate about having that work-life balance of the work to live not live to work mentality. And so location, work-life balance, obviously pay, and structuring pay in a way that is understood to the candidate as well too. So being very upfront about what that pay is so that they know before even applying and putting that in a way that they understand what they actually can make because sometimes it can be hard with percent of production, knowing what that means.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: So let’s go into those a little bit more and I want to just go back one to work-life balance because I think that’s probably the biggest misunderstanding between a doc maybe in their 50s and a doc in their 20s. This idea of working to live instead of living to work and it’s respectable and it’s necessary and mental health is important and it’s and life has to work for you. But these older docs, that was not their world. And so when I hear it, it’s complaints. They won’t work weekends, they don’t want to put in 40 hours. They’re asking for a four-day workweek. They’re like it’s coming across as we’re lazy. We’re not dedicated to the practice. We don’t want to be here we’re not going to work as hard as you and it. It creates a disconnect from the start like somebody interviewing, who says I don’t want to work every weekend. All of a sudden has all these judgments thrown on them that they probably don’t deserve. Do you see that with the docs that you’re talking to and you’re matching?
Becca Starks: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, it’s the same thing I hear to have. You know, that’s typically the demographic of employers that I’m talking to all day long to have, you know, they came out and maybe cold started or they came out and bought a practice and they’ve been doing it for 20-30 years and like. What?
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Right and they remember, or maybe they’re still working 70 hours a week and they’re there, you know, every day in the practice and their day off there when the cleaning themselves because that’s what the owners do. How do you coach of 50-something and 60-something-year-old practice owners into understanding that it’s not laziness and it’s not to they don’t want to work?
Becca Starks: Yeah, so that is it is a big misconception of the students that it is laziness, and specifically, most students are expecting to work at least one to two Saturdays a month. So it’s not that they’re coming in and saying I only want four-day workweeks, and I’ll never work a weekend. They are expecting a true full work week and one or two Saturdays per month. To your question about how to coach an owner in that situation. I think it’s just taking a step back and looking really high level at your practice as a business and I’ve had this conversation with many owners of I don’t know why we are open Saturdays, honestly, we’ve just always done it and so determined are we doing this because it’s just always been done or when determining this because it is a true business need. And so same thing with later hours or that sort of thing. If it is a true business need 100% voicing that to a candidate that’s a friend and that’s that’s great, but there may be situations where again, it’s just we’re doing this because it’s been done forever. And actually, our patients wouldn’t mind if we didn’t have a late night or we had a late night instead of a Saturday or vice versa.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Do you think docs have like a little bit of that? It’s like that hazy mentality? Like I went through it I put in my time therefore you you need to.
Becca Starks: I think it could be a little of that. Me not being an optometrist. I have to tread lightly because I have not earned my dues. But in the conversations that I’ve had, I think it is a little bit of that at least.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Yeah, I worked weekends for 23 years. I’ve never missed it Saturday. I’ve never called out sick. And now I’m going to change my whole practice because this 24-year-old kid doesn’t want to work, like there’s that so what are the students are the new grads thinking about these practice owners, doctors who are in a different demographic from them because there’s got to be misconceptions going that way also.
Becca Starks: Yeah, I don’t get to hear a ton of the misconceptions from the student side. But I think there’s just both sides can teach each other something right like maybe that student can come in and show this business owner who’s been doing this forever, like, wow, I could totally do this differently. And, wow, I’m kind of relieved that you came in and brought up the idea of work-life balance because I as the business owner, really needed that, and wow, my life is different because of it and vice versa. There’s obviously so much that the practice owner can teach and pour into these new grad optometrists. But as far as misconceptions from them, I haven’t heard any to be honest.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: I hear that they look at a private practice. They think they’re not going to be paid as much. So they’re thinking that not necessarily that the owner is cheap, but that it’s not. It’s not as profitable, therefore there’s not as much money in it for them. You didn’t mention the mode of practice. You talked about location, work-life balance, and pay. Are students coming out looking for commercial opportunities? Are they looking for private practice or looking for MD offices? I mean, obviously, students are looking for each of those, but what are you seeing most frequently?
Becca Starks: Yeah, great question. So motor practice is very important and private practice remains. Top of the list for I’d say close to 90% of the new grads.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Serious?
Becca Starks: Yeah, because I hear the same thing. I hear a lot from private practice owners that say that almost come to the call with me very nervous, like “Becca, what’s going on? Why might all the new grads want private equity and why do they want retail? And can I really afford to hire them? Because it sounds like they’re throwing all the money in the world with them.” And then it’s interesting because we have that ear with the students to hear what they’re looking for. They’re very, very few students that we’re working with, with the class of 2023 that will even consider an opportunity that is not private practice. So there’s just a handful of folks that have said all maybe look at private equity or retail, but the vast majority say I truly, truly, truly want to private practice and there’s even a really good group that says, “Not only do I only one a private practice, but I already know that someday I want to partner slash buy this practice as well.”
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Do you think though that it’s, it’s like self-selecting a little bit because retail opportunities are so easy to come by? That they might not even consider needing to work with a company like yours? They just need to go on Ziprecruiter, Indeed, and type in optometrists job and the geography they want and they have their choice. Are you talking to them before they’re job-seeking?
Becca Starks: Yeah, so we actually start a process with them a year before they graduate. And so we have them fill out a profile with us it looks just like a LinkedIn profile, but it’s specifically for KMK, and go in and select all of the different types of practices that they’re open to. And so, we have both from the data from what they input on their profile and then they all have a one-on-one call with a career advisor as well. And so that’s where those points come from, both in the data they enter and then the conversations they have with a career advisor.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: And is that when a student should be starting their job search is early in fourth year?
Becca Starks: Yeah, so we were really surprised in the timeline as well that a lot of students start having conversations about the fall before they graduate. So this class of 2023 they were starting interviews, October timeframe, and then a lot of them were during their Christmas break, timeframe holiday break, going on visits to practice owners. And then as soon as the New Year transitioned over there were many that were in contract. So definitely, Fall time is like you can feel good. About yourself being ahead of the game, wintertime is still very safe, you still have a lot of opportunity to be reaching out to candidates, and then as we enter into more of the springtime, a lot of I’d say probably half if not more of those that we’re working with are 100% in contract ready to go.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: When you start working with them. Is there any issue with students who are starting the search and still haven’t passed their boards or won’t have the credentials to work when they graduate?
Becca Starks: Yeah, Yep. There is information from ASCO also about passage rates. And it goes into detail even of school by school, but it essentially shows year over year the decrease in passage rates, and I think we’re at about 70% passage rate, right now. 73%. And so there’s a huge population of students that don’t pass typically it’s part one where the struggle is and so there are some students that will even graduate and still have not passed boards. And another misconception there is, “Oh, these students are lazy or they’re not understanding the information, and I don’t want those students because they won’t be good doctors”. And completely not true. Those are students that could either be not very good test takers. These are also the population that came into optometry school right in the heart of COVID. There are some that have just had really rough life events around the time that it is to take boards and so but they are all great people that will be great doctors, they simply just need to pass this test. Many of them have had really great GPAs some of them have other degrees that help them with the practice management side and so it’s just a matter of getting past that one test or many of them.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: And how does, how did they navigate that with the job contract like, will an employer sign something with a student who hasn’t yet passed boards?
Becca Starks: Yes, we are running into that actually part one. Board scores were just released this past week. And it was a lot of that there was a lot of celebration and there was a lot of sadness around those that didn’t pass. And the good news is, I don’t know that I’ve come across a single employer partner that we work with that isn’t at least open to the idea of bringing on someone that’s graduated in kind of a super tech role. It’s kind of how we position it to practice under that optometrist owner until they graduate and we even have some that say, “Hey KMK I know that you, as an organization, do great at coaching them and helping them after they fail boards.” I will even invest in that side of the house to ensure that they can pass boards not only to show that, hey, I believe in you and the hardest time in your life student but also that gains them a really loyal employee that again, is going to be a great doctor has just had trouble taking this one test.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Coming in as a super tech though, obviously, they’re coming in at a lower pay scale and they would come in as an optometrist, and they have those student loans. So let’s talk about compensation of obviously it’s going to vary around the country and regionally and how many hours and all of that but what is it that a new OD is looking for as far as the ability to earn money?
Becca Starks: Yeah, good question. So, specifically with this new grad population, the way that I kind of coach, the employer partners that we work with private practice owners is, a lot of times they’ll come into the call and say why pay 16% of production, but with this new grad population, they aren’t able to really wrap their brains around what that is, you could have a $1.5 million, your practice and they still just don’t, they can’t really understand that. And so the recommendation that we give is to at least have some sort of salary and we have information and concrete data on specific areas of the nation. So by all means, if, if we can support you in any way with that, I’m happy to to make sure that you’re competitive, but having some type of salary listed up front is what’s going to entice these new grad population because they can wrap their brains around 140,000. They can’t necessarily wrap their brains around 16% of production. And so totally understand, then obviously the argument private practice owner, I hear you what’s going on in your head is. “Well, I need to motivate them to work hard. Like if I just give them a salary, then what’s the motivation to work hard”, and so there’s been kind of this really nice avenue that we’ve taken with a lot of partners that’s worked well in that advertising a salary a little higher than you probably would have normally, but then decreasing to a really low percent of production, so that there’s some salaries that’s there that’s enticing to a new grad, but a lower percent of production. So for the first year only, so year one higher salary and lower percent of production, and then having that shift for year two and year beyond your two to a lower salary, higher percent of production. And so what that does is again, entices this new grad to apply, and even want to learn more about your practice because there’s a salary, but that little bit of percent of production will get them to realize in their first year of working well. I’m doing the math, and if I would have went on the percent of production, I probably would have made more than my salary. This is making sense this is motivating me to work harder. And then again, you can even have it in the contract that upon year two that shifts to a lower salary that’s guaranteed and a higher percent of production. So as they’ve gotten their feet wet, they’ve learned they’ve been mentored that first year shifting then into percent of production.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: So you’re coaching your doctors to do a salary plus a percent of production?
Becca Starks: Yeah, that’s pretty typical.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: And what about benefits and stuff like that is that important? Yes, it is important. Is that something that a brand new grad is going to give enough importance to that it’s going to help them decide one place versus another?
Becca Starks: Yeah, such a good question. So I’ll give both sides just agree very important. I would say the majority of private practice owners that we’re working with are offering some sort of benefits, whatever that might look like. Some are very comprehensive, some are very “Hey, we will pay 50% of your medical and leave it at that.” But now that we are in this lane of there is competition from private equity and from retail. Those are just a no-brainer. In those avenues. And so to remain competitive from that regard. They will get a full package of 401K’s with matching with benefits with PTO, all of those things, if they’re considering a retailer or a private equity opportunity in comparison to your private practice opportunity. And so, again, I think most I talked to very few that say “Hey, I’m just percent of production and I don’t give any days off you just you if you’re here you make money if you’re not, you don’t but you can take whatever days you want type of thing”. I have a handful of those but for the most part, most private practices are offering the salary with percent of production, at least something towards medical, and then most do have a 401K whether there’s a match or not with that.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Are there other intangible benefits, other things that would make a practice more attractive?
Becca Starks: Yeah. So I think the thing that’s so such a great opportunity with all of the listeners that would have that are trying to hire than our private practice owners that have been doing this for years to a new grad specifically is mentorship. And so those that are willing to do that are excited about that. Well, maybe “Hey, I haven’t really even thought about that. But I’m gonna share over the last 20 years, I really have learned a lot that I could pour into this next upcoming generation”. And so being very vocal with that, even in a job description, or whatever it is that you’re creating, to entice candidates to come your way and some people put a really extensive plan behind, “Hey, we have a weekly meeting, and you get lunch hour with me every week and we will cover XYZ and some it’s kind of informal of just “Hey, I’m going to be with you I’m alongside you. You can call me when you want”, whatever that looks like, or even if you haven’t, some team members that are fairly recent grads, being able to vocalize that to have hey, we’ve got folks that I brought on board as new grads and couple years later looking them go and so the mentorship side is again that intangible free opportunity that I think a lot of people don’t even necessarily recognize they have the ability to give.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Is it mostly clinical mentorship they’re looking for? is it practice ownership? like when you say mentorship, what are they hoping to learn from you?
Becca Starks: Yeah, definitely medical at the top of that, but there are again, those those candidates that just know that they know that they want to be very involved in the practice management, the business side of the house. And so for those candidates that are interested in it, being willing to say “Hey, here’s I’ll show you all of our programs and all of our software and how I design the day and this is how I designed the business side of the house”, and so in those situations for folks that are interested in that side, I think it’s important to have just kind of an open door policy of “I’ll show you all that. I’ll show you that number. So I’ll let you in on this.”
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: So for practice in a particular geographic area, if you can get your salary and benefits close, but they don’t necessarily have to be higher. They just have to be within range and you can kind of check off all the other boxes. Is there a type of practice like heavy medical versus refractive versus specialty that people are looking for?
Becca Starks: Yeah, so definitely looking at highly medical. And then what I would also say is kind of another somewhat intangible, but if practice owners are open to new specialties that maybe you don’t have in your practice right now. But hey, if there’s somebody who comes in and is passionate about whatever it may be, and they want to bring that into my practice, that’s a really enticing thing for a candidate to really see themselves. They’re in the long haul of “Wow, I’m passionate about myopia management and this practice says, by all means bringing that on.” That’s such a great thing to be able to offer to a candidate and so definitely, medical and specialties are really where the candidates are wrapping their brains around of how do I see myself there.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: And what if you’re in rural Wisconsin, where there’s just not a huge population of optometrists looking to settle? What’s the best way for a practice like that to set themselves up to find somebody to join because so many of those are great opportunities to become part of a community to ultimately partner buy a practice have a really low cost of living like it’s how do they make themselves attractive or show how attractive they are I guess I should say.
Becca Starks: Yeah, and I think that so often because I get the luxury of talking to these practice owners in some of these more rural areas. And every time I’m just like, Wow, if I could just record this and let all of these candidates see this owner care about the type of patients they get to see a lot of times it’s the smaller communities that because there’s not a nearby ophthalmology or another office like those are the most medically focused practices.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Absolutely.
Becca Starks: Yeah. And so, so often I feel better. Oh my gosh, if I could just package this up and get a candidate to truly wrap their head around it. So one of the things that we do on the candidate side is our current advisors do as soon as a student comes in and says, “I only want Miami in New York and LA”, we try to mentor as well and show your kind of cost of living and let’s truly take a look at this and let’s look at your lifestyle and look at
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Miami, LA, how about rural Wisconsin?
Becca Starks: Right? Yep.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: And consider Minnesota.
Becca Starks: Exactly. We play that game all day long. Yep. And then to the practice owners, a lot of what I tell them is, they’ll tell me I say they get to brag. So give me your brag book, when they come on as a partner to me, tell me what’s so great about your practice. And then they’re typically ready to end the call and I say, “Okay, based on your area, we also want you to brag on the geographic location just as much as the opportunity and so getting a candidate to truly understand what their life is going to be like, not just when they’re at work with you all day, but once they leave work, and what does this community look like and what can I do there? Is it great for hiking, is it great for the music scene, and the art scene? Is it great to raise a family and maybe I’m not thinking about that right now. But in the next couple of years, I will be.” And so I always say “Somewhere in your job description, however, you want to do it. It’s a post that you’re putting on to kind of an Indeed or an AOA. Having information, just typed information about your geographic area and what makes it so great. And then also, the other added thing you can do is you can always create videos.” Videos are I feel like that’s kind of how we’re all digesting content at this point. And especially this generation of these new grads, and so if you can even do a quick it doesn’t have to be professionally shot but videos of you just speaking informally, almost as if you’re speaking to a candidate who wouldn’t be right in front of you talking about again, envisioning their life there, the more that a practice owner can make a job description or job post about the candidate instead of themselves. The better that that’s going to relay to the candidates have just really getting to understand “Okay, this isn’t what I thought I was thinking Miami, but now I can kind of envision how my life could be in Wisconsin.”
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: That’s a really strong and valid point. Because when I think about a job ad, it’s all about what we need and what we want. We’re looking for an optometrist to work these hours to do this and when I’m interviewing candidates for Associate optometrist, but really for any position I’m always sensitive to an applicant, who all they’re telling me is what this job is going to do for them. Right. So I’m very critical of it as an employer when they’re like, I’m looking to build my clinical confidence in myopia. I’m looking into, you know, whatever. And I think what are you going to do for me? But in the ad, maybe it should be the other way off, Here’s what I’m going to do for you so that they’re interested and intrigued by the post enough to then come in and want to tell me what they are going to do for me so
Becca Starks: Absolutely
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Cool.
Becca Starks: We even have one it’s a Power Practice member that wrote a personalized it looks just like a letter you would receive from your grandma in the mail and it was so different and so eye-catching and so engaging. It was truly just a personalized letter, Dear Candidate, and then it just spoke really informally like, Hey, I get it. Words are hard, school is hard, but here’s what it would be like living here. Imagine if you could leave work and go out and do this, this, and this and your two hours within this big city so you can go catch a basketball game and be back home at night. And so it was just very, again trying to get that candidate to envision their life not only with that practice but in that geographical location. And so that was an incredible example.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Did it work?
Becca Starks: We’ve gotten some interest. We don’t have anybody signed on yet, but it has enticed interest.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: And talked about KMK a little bit again, just before we close. So if a practice owner is looking for an associate, they can reach out to you or how do they go about tapping into this database network matching service that you guys have?
Becca Starks: Yeah, absolutely. Yep. I would be the point of contact Becca Starks. And I’m sure you can put my email in the show notes, but it’s just Becca@kmkodcareers.com. And yeah, we typically just do a really informal introductory call and learn about the practice, learn about what they’re looking for. And then go over kind of our offerings. We’ve got two different offerings to choose from, just depending on what the practice owner is looking for. And then yeah, we just go from there. It’s really simple. It’s free to be in agreement with us and having us promote a practice. And so basically, we get that agreement going and then our current adviser starts promoting any of our partners that we’re working with. And then essentially once we have a student that is a great fit, we play the matchmaking game.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: I love it. Thank you. I think this is valuable information for new grads to help them understand what they’re going out into and some of the misconceptions they might be facing. But hopefully, we did our part today to try and reduce some of those and really give today’s employers a more real picture of new grads who are looking for jobs. So thank you so much for taking the time to do this and give this service to all of the optometrists out there.
Becca Starks: Absolutely. My pleasure, Bethany. Thank you. So much.
Dr.Bethany Fishbein: Thank you
Read the Transcription
Eugene Shatsman: I went and I chatted with a real person. And the first question that I said was something like, I live in such and such a zip code, which location is closest to me? And the chatbot nailed it. In seconds, I had my answer. The human made it so difficult.
Bethany Fishbein: Hi, I am Bethany Fishbein, CEO of The Power Practice and host of the Power Hour Optometry podcast. My guest today is Eugene Shatsman, returning to the podcast. Eugene is the managing partner of National Strategic Group and a popular speaker on artificial intelligence, which is the topic of the podcast today. So, Eugene, thanks for coming back in a different capacity to talk about a very different topic that I know on a lot of people’s minds.
Eugene Shatsman: Yeah, happy to be here. And I think we’re all just trying to figure it out along with the rest of the marketplace.
Bethany Fishbein: Talk about just kind of where your initial interest in AI came from. I guess we’ve always talked about marketing and thought of you as the marketing guy. So how does artificial intelligence come into play?
Eugene Shatsman: If you think about what we do, just to give your listeners some context, we work with roughly 1,500 doors and doctors coast to coast, and we’re always trying to find ways to really innovate the way that our clients are seen in the marketplace and to make them look a little bit different than the other choices that patients have in their marketplaces and to really position our clients as a unique and exciting choice. When you think about what that takes, it requires us to think really strategically about the different content that we’re developing, about the different positioning techniques that we’re using, and certainly about the technology that we’re using to make sure that our clients are picked by their patients over the competition. And so when we think about technology, we’ve always said that, hey, we want to spend some percentage of our time on innovations at National Strategic. But the technology that we use today on a regular basis has to do with what we call accelerations, delegations, and really just getting higher and better yield from the same amount of effort just so that we can do more for our clients in the markets that they serve.
Having said that, AI really hit the radar for us when ChatGPT became kind of really mainstream, and we said to ourselves, well, there are lots of different things that we write every day, and we have a full team of writers who have studied optometric terms and who really understand what ocular surface disease is and what all the contact lens options are in the marketplace and all of the things that we’re really well-educated on. And we asked ourselves, well, there’s a lot of people writing random stuff with ChatGPT. Let’s see how that stacks up against our own writers. And so we started looking at that as the first kind of AI tool when ChatGPT was in beta and Google BARD came out. And then that kind of led our entire team to get really energized and excited about, well, what tools are there? And by the way, ChatGPT didn’t do a great job compared to our writers, and I’ll give you more context on that. But the idea came out to say, well, what are all of the AI tools?
There are websites that just list hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of AI tools that are out there. And we said, well, there’s got to be something to this processing power, to this AI intelligence. Let’s challenge our entire team. We have over 100 people on our team. Let’s challenge as many people as possible on that team to look at AI and to look at different tools that they could use in their day-to-day to be able to do more and better work for our clients. That’s kind of where our exploration started really early this year.
Bethany Fishbein: Just to clarify, just in case anybody has their finger on the pause button or something, is your interest primarily in AI for marketing purposes, or you’ve gotten into how this can be used in optometric offices in all kinds of different ways?
Eugene Shatsman: Yeah. If you think about what marketing really is, marketing is not just, hey, I made you a website. Marketing is about connecting the patient to the practice and then getting that patient to come back to tell their friends and family, getting that patient to have the best possible experience. And so while some of the things that we have direct control over are that kind of initial patient experience, patient communication, up until and after the phone rings and they schedule their appointment, but once they walk into practice, there may be some other opportunities that happen afterwards too that could potentially be enhanced with AI. And we as marketers would be foolish to not really think about how is every single thing that we do in the practice part of the future revenue system of the practice as well?
Bethany Fishbein: I think that’s perspective worth thinking about because I think you’re absolutely right that when people hear marketing, they think about something that draws new people into the practice. But you’re right. It’s not just that. Drawing new people into the practice, if the experience that they have there isn’t one that’s going to encourage them to spend their money in the practice and return and tell others, then it’s really only a little piece of the puzzle. So thank you for clarifying that. It’s good perspective. When you started looking at this, was there an element of fear? I know it’s something we talked about with Dr. Boparai on the podcast in the past of is this going to replace us? When you guys first typed, hey, write a blog post on whatever into ChatGPT and one came out in a few seconds. Was there an element of nobody’s going to need us anymore?
Eugene Shatsman: I love that question. I think some people on our team really did wonder why it is that our company was pushing so hard for AI solutions. And I think where I have always had my perspective is that if everything can be done by machines, then that’s the lowest common denominator. If you think about standing out in the marketplace, which is what really marketing is about. If you think about getting the right patient to make the right decision to pick your practice over your competitors, that’s always going to require human interaction. It’s just that the game has changed because the computers have leveled the playing field again.
The same thing happened with Google. And you just think about it’s just another tool in the toolkit that is ever growing. And if you think about what marketing used to be several decades ago, well, we had limited tools. What could we do for marketing? Oh, we could do TV, radio, that kind of thing. And then all of a sudden, smartphones and Google came out and all of a sudden, the game changed. And this is just another example of the game changing. But there are just really, really nuanced ways that we can look at this game changing impact and make the most of it for early adopters.
Bethany Fishbein: I might be guilty of incorrect thought here. And so this is your opportunity to correct it. But for something like a blog post, right, they tell us, oh, you should have a blog post once a month or twice a month on a different topic for search words. And nobody ever reads the blog. I have heard people saying, oh, you can just use ChatGPT. I spent 10 minutes and I wrote a year’s worth of blog posts for my website. As you guys started to look at this, like you said, oh, by the way, they’re not all that great. What’s the difference?
Eugene Shatsman: This is great. And there’s a couple of different components to this. Number one, the quality of that content, the quality of that content has been improving month after month. I mean, initially it was just blatantly inaccurate. If you ask it for an opinion, which is oftentimes what humans are looking for, is this or this better? Oftentimes it gives you objectively incorrect facts to support the opinion that you can offer. But over time, the content has gotten better. And we have an OD on our team who reviews content. And he’s even said, initially it was just garbage. Now it’s a lot better and not always garbage. But here’s the interesting thing is if you think about the why behind that effort. And by the way, we stopped telling our clients that you have to write blogs as part of their SEO effort, because quite frankly, everybody was using an outsourced team to write some sort of thing that nobody was ever going to read. And so that’s not really value adding. That’s just sort of algorithm hacking. And algorithms are smart enough to evolve. And Google changes its algorithm dozens of times per month. So the reality is if you think you’re going to hack the algorithm and not provide it with quality information, then you’re wrong.
And so just writing a blog for the sake of writing a blog is completely pointless. And the best part is that Google had an interesting keynote in May of this year, where they kind of talked about this completely new AI integrated search experience. It’s called Search Generative Experience. And so Google unveiled it at the keynote in May of 2023.
During that keynote, they showcased the future of search. And so what is the future of search… And by the way, we have gotten our beta access to this. So almost all the employees on our search engine optimization team and many of our employees and client strategy are using this tool on a day to day basis and watching it evolve.
I think the general population doesn’t have it yet. But what you can do, and what Google showed us that you can do, is you can just ask a question like you’re talking to a human. So I’m thinking of going to this location, and I have two kids and a dog. Is this location or this location better? And Google will use the Search Generative Experience to give you several outcomes for your search. So one of them could very well be an objective assessment of does this particular location allow dogs? Is this particular location rated well for kids? Do they have kids activities? And so it can give you some objective facts based off of its analysis on the content of those websites. But then it’ll also feed you things that you yourself, Google knows what you’re looking for. And what you’re frequently looking for is other people’s experience to base your decision on. And so you think about AI making it easier for you to get through the facts, and also making it easier for you to get to the authentic content that you’re really going to use to make your decisions. Does that make sense?
Bethany Fishbein: It does in a kind of mind blowing, completely not making sense kind of way. I guess it feels to me like someone doing all the research for you. If you want to do something, you can go on Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and look at other people’s opinions. But it takes some effort. So, this is kind of like asking and someone else has already reviewed that effort, or someone else has already made that effort for you and is just handing you results.
Eugene Shatsman: It’s interesting because imagine a world in which, and this is the exact example that Google gave during their keynote. You’re saying, what’s the best dress to wear for a wedding in Miami in August? And Google says, OK, thanks, challenge accepted. And it searches the entire database of it possibly compares the weather, it tries to decide what it’s going to look like, or what’s appropriate for a wedding versus a different type of outing. And it gives you some options. And then in addition to giving you some options and says, and here’s some shoes that would go really well with that dress. And by the way, here’s some authentic reviews from some influencers who have recorded videos about this particular outfit, so that you can see what it looks like on people and also people reviewing this particular item.
And if you think about that, that’s what search generative experience is really guiding us to, which is changing our relationship with the tools that we use as consumers to make decisions and making it easier for us to get to an outcome that is beneficial for us, which is really what Google has been trying to do for a really long time. But now it’s just saying, well, AI powered search is going to give us some of that stuff faster. And you’re not going to have to like, try to think about the Boolean search. You know, remember like the old library card catalog that you would have to search with like specific quotes and specific ways that you would have to like set it up so that the machine can understand what you’re trying to say. Here it’s saying the machine’s smart enough to kind of know what you’re asking it. Just ask it naturally and it’ll give you the results.
Bethany Fishbein: I feel the transformational nature of this. How does it stand to transform our relationships as optometrists and practice owners with our potential patients, with our existing patients?
Eugene Shatsman: Let me just back up to one earlier question that you asked about those useless blog entries. Do you think that Google’s AI algorithm is going to give any credit to the AI generated stuff that has been written and placed on somebody’s website? And Google, of course, is going to know that this isn’t really authentic content from a doctor. They’re going to know that, hey, this is AI generated stuff that is a similar flavor of somebody else’s AI generated stuff. And am I going to really use that as credit to provide AI generated results for a searcher? Or am I going to give credit to someone who is actually driving value to the consumer experience? And I think that’s the distinction that we have to think about as we think about providing value to our audience, which in this case is optometric patients.
Fast forward now to a world in which a patient is trying to pick the right look or the right glasses for themselves. Google is going to push some choices that potentially a patient could buy online until those choices don’t work. If you kind of look at search trends in the marketplace today, buying glasses online is down by 18% year over year. Buying glasses, if you look at some of the top retailers who sell glasses online, search demand, meaning people typing in glasses at, insert large online glasses retailer, those are down substantially.
So Google is learning that maybe people don’t want to buy glasses online. Maybe people want to buy glasses in store. Maybe this is an in-person shopping type of thing. I will say large glasses retailer that has both online and in-store shopping, their name plus near me, they start with a W, name plus near me has increased by 18% year over year. Obviously, patients are expressing a preference towards making a decision in store for something like glasses. Google is going to know that and so it’s going to share some of the content that’s associated with that.
Now imagine if you happen to be the doctor who understands that this is coming and is creating video, which is the highest value authentic content and is creating video that Google can place right next to its AI generated search results so that user generated authentic content supports the search experience for that particular user.
Bethany Fishbein: So now a patient who’s looking is kind of asking Google like you would ask a friend or anyone else, hey, I need to get new glasses. What’s going to look best on me?
Eugene Shatsman: Right.
Bethany Fishbein: And Google is able to integrate all kinds of information to specifically tell them. But if it knows that a video from your optician talking about here’s great considerations for glasses to match your face shape or something, and it’s perceiving that that’s going to be as valuable or more valuable to the searcher than giving them a list of random websites where they can buy glasses, then all of a sudden we’ve got a new shot at being up there and establishing ourselves in a different way.
Eugene Shatsman: That’s exactly right. And I think that while Google is still learning and it’s very experimentive, when we’ve tried this, when we’ve said, if a patient is going to type in which glasses look best on me, Google will, instead of driving you to some half hearted blog on this, they’ll talk to you about face shape and skin tone and personality as impact points of trying to pick your glasses. And you can kind of learn more about each one of those. And the AI will serve that all on the front page of Google. Right. We haven’t left Google at all. And then eventually it will serve you videos and other websites and places you can shop or places that you can explore and even images and things like that.
So this is all thinking about changing the mindset of search engine optimization as a way to trick the algorithm into picking your business, but more towards the thing that, you know, and we’ve been driving our clients towards this for a long time, which is that deliver value in a way that Google wants to see.
Make it easy for Google to see that when people click on your content, that they stay on that content. They don’t immediately hit the back button because those are some of the things that kind of long term. That’s where the consumer experience is going. As long as many of our consumers are going to start their search on Google.
Bethany Fishbein: And as a Google searcher, I guess it feels like there has been a change recently that I’ve noticed that when you ask it something, very often it is instead of just linking to the site, it’s actually giving you information with a source– that feels fairly new. Now that I’m thinking about it.
Eugene Shatsman: Position zero or featured snippets was something that Google has been experimenting with for about a half a decade. And it’s been kind of more prevalent, less prevalent, more prevalent, less prevalent certain years and for certain topics. But that kind of position zero of like, here’s some information and then here’s where you can check out more or questions now because related questions you might be asking, which is pretty popular now. That’s been something that Google has been experimenting with for about three to five years.
What’s interesting, though, is that some of that stuff is ending up and I get to see the beta live on my screen right now. Some of that stuff ends up in that AI generated result, which is a really immersive experience. I don’t get to like go click on the source of that website nearly as easily as I could have done elsewhere. But that’s where the whole idea of what’s the quality of the content that you’re contributing and what’s that contribution look like. And then there’s this other side, which is Google is obviously incentivized to provide people with quality content, but they’re also economically incentivized to provide people with sponsored content.
So, if Google can make money off of that same wedding dress that you were going to wear to Miami by selling it to you or by driving you to a sponsored listing, a sponsored ad where they can get someone to spend more money on Google ads because they’re driving people to that listing. Ultimately, there’s an economic incentive for Google to do that. So, we have to kind of balance what is our presence as local businesses who serve a community, not necessarily national content providers. We and many of our Optometric clients are going to have to balance the way that we interact with Google and the way that we really experiment with different things to say, we still think that there’s a lot of value in showing up in the snack pack. I think that the snack pack still exists in this environment.
It’s just a little bit different in the way that it shows up. And again, we’ve been playing with the beta, so the cards are a little bit stacked, but we’ve been figuring out ways that we can make sure that there’s value driving content in our snack pack listings and some of the experimental pieces of the listings that we have on Google for our clients that allow us to show up number one and number two and some of the snack pack listings that show up in this search generative experience.
So, these are all new things that we’re trying. But if I think about Google as a driver of potential content, you also have to think about the patient’s experience and then also our experience as both marketers and optometrists and people. There’s tools out there that read your email for you and answer your texts for you.
Bethany Fishbein: Once the patient gets through this search and makes a decision to look further at your office, where does AI come in next to either help turn them from someone who’s just looking into a patient or to improve the service, you’re able to give them? Give a next step here.
Eugene Shatsman: Well, you know, what’s interesting is that let’s say we show up on somebody’s website. This is a real experiment that we did with a real practice. We tried this with a practice that had multiple locations and we installed there were two choices. This practice is actually paying for a service that has live chat on their website that will answer patient questions via chat. And part of that was an attempt to reduce the number of phone calls coming into the office. Part of that was just aimed at patient convenience and just really something that they’ve had for the better part of the last year.
Bethany Fishbein: Is that chat a real person or this is an AI?
Eugene Shatsman: They have a real person that they’ve had for the last year. So they have a real company that they pay to provide chat services on their website. So we did something crazy, which is that we spun up a new chat bot and we downloaded all of the content on their website. We had the chat bot read all of the content on their website.
We said, read every page of this website. And now you’re an expert on this website. And now we expect you to be able to answer questions that anybody asks you as long as that content exists on this website. And then we actually talked to this chat bot and we said, and every other time ask a person if they would like help booking an appointment. And if they say yes, take them to this link. So we just did some basic programming. I’m really oversimplifying it, but there’s some basic programming that we did for that chat bot. Here’s the thing. And this is the objective results. I went and I personally tested this. And I know several members of my team did as well. But I personally tested this where I went and I chatted with a real person. And the first question that I said was something like, I live in such and such a zip code, which location is closest to me? And the chat bot nailed it. In seconds, I had my answer. The human made it so difficult.
They said, here are four locations, you know, which one is most convenient for you? I said, well, I live here. Which one is most convenient for me? You tell me. And they said, well, you know, here are the addresses of those locations. And I said, okay, but which one’s closest to me? And they said, I can look that up for you. And seven minutes into the conversation, I finally have my answer. And then I asked the chat bot and I said, which doctor is at this location? And they told me pretty quick. Now, the chat bot, interestingly, was wrong about the next question, which is, does the doctor accept any new patients? Or maybe I asked, does the doctor see kids? The chat bot just said, yes, absolutely. Would you like to schedule an appointment? Whereas the human said, this doctor is only seeing patients five and older. So let’s just clarify that you, in fact, have a five-year-old or older and you’re not going to bring in an infant. But during this conversation, my interaction with the human, they asked me once whether I’d like to schedule an appointment. And when I had my questions answered at the end of the question answer, they said, is there anything else I can help you with? My chat bot said, I’m glad I was able to answer your questions. Would you like to schedule an appointment?
In fact, my chat bot asked several times throughout the conversation whether I needed help scheduling an appointment and would probably do a much better job of converting the person. The chat conversation took as long as I took to type. The chat bot conversation took as long as I took to type. The human conversation took three or four times as long. And I also had to explain more of what I meant to the human because I think they were struggling to use whatever resources that they had about the particular person’s practice that they were asking. So I think patient communication is definitely something that we should be looking at closely to make sure that we can make our patients’ lives easier once we’ve gotten them past the search.
Bethany Fishbein: Did you tell that you were talking to a chat bot? Or if you were a user, you probably wouldn’t have known.
Eugene Shatsman: I wouldn’t have known. The grammar and the tonality was clunkier on the human than it was on the chat bot.
Bethany Fishbein: So now the patient gets into the practice. So even just what you’re saying is really interesting to think about because I know obviously patients texting in is very, very popular. And I’ve been in this situation as a patient of other offices that have this where I’ll text something and I don’t get a response for 35, 40 minutes.
And as a practice owner, I get it. They’re probably sitting at the front desk and patients are coming in and going out and they’re working on stuff. But texting to me feels like an immediate response is expected. And by 40 minutes later, if they text, what day is good for you? I’ve already forgotten who I was asking and why. I’m not thinking about it. So the instantness is as appealing as the accuracy and the focus on conversion, which is huge. So now they schedule an appointment and end up in the practice. And it’s funny, you and I have had this conversation not recorded before. But one of the things that I speak about is AI within the practice and testing and stuff like that. But where is the next big opportunity that you see for a patient in the office?
Eugene Shatsman: For me, and I think that you have some really unique perspectives on how you can make an impact on the patient’s experience. For me, it’s about what can you study? What kind of data can you get that previously might be accessible through your EHR, might be accessible through the stuff that you have in your practice, but just not so easy to deal with that you can train AI to deal with? Let’s think about how we typically as humans, we don’t just learn from experience. We learn from a lot of experiments. And so what kind of experiments can you set up in your practice that could potentially lead you to have a better outcome for your patients? But if you got the instant feedback of the data component.
So, for example, and I think about it this way, is if you could train AI to say that, hey, these are the patients that I’m going to do X with, maybe I’ll try something new during pre-testing, maybe I’ll explain something a little bit differently during pre-testing. And then I’ll see at the end of the day or at the end of the week, what the outcome was on the amount of stuff these patients bought from us, or maybe even their feedback for our practice. You have some of those data points in your practice, but you don’t necessarily have that information easily accessible because in today’s environment, a human has to go run those numbers and say all of these patients who went through this and during this week and what were our numbers that point and how do we digest that? You can track patient experience using AI. You can train AI to kind of run just about any algorithm, but then you can go beyond that, too.
You can say, well, what data do I want to pull out so that I can analyze it so I can say I can create what we’ll call patient experience or marketing opportunities afterwards? For example, what if automatically you trained your AI to think about all of your exam only patients or to think about all of your patients who bought less than X? And maybe you trained your AI to say, I can build you an interesting workflow that says, let’s go from, okay, if it’s an exam only patient, maybe on day two or day one, we can send them a what can we do better survey so that we can really understand the exam only. And then two days later, we might be able to send them a danger of online glasses email or like here are the five reasons why people return their online glasses or something. And then four or five days later, if they still haven’t bought because we have access to the data, or if they still haven’t come back, then we maybe send them some sort of discount offer or remind them of our second pair promotion or something like that, that ultimately allows you to take advantage of an opportunity you didn’t have before.
So you think about this workflow automation, that if you can train AI to look at your data, and then to just come up with workflows that ultimately enable you to better serve your patients, AI is a huge accelerant from that vantage point.
Bethany Fishbein: You’ve talked about things that you can do to train AI to do this and train AI to do that. Who trains us to train AI? Because some of the things that you’re talking about are things that we’ve done in my practice, you know, we said, okay, let’s figure out who didn’t get glasses and send them a survey asking, was there something specific they were looking for? What was the reason they didn’t purchase? If there was a brand that they want us to carry? What is it? But all of that was done manually. So is this something that the EHR companies are looking at? Or how do you even get from thinking, this would be a good thing? I wish I had AI to do this to actually being able to make it happen?
Eugene Shatsman: Well, I think and I’m sure there’s lots of really smart people trying to answer the question inside of their own companies, I will say that I haven’t seen anybody. With people who I’ve talked at larger EHR organizations, they said, Oh, my gosh, that’s a great idea. I just don’t know where to start. And so the truth is that this is all blue ocean right now. But the nice thing is that it’s easy enough for someone to kind of come in and say, I want to try this. I just tried this personally. I’m not an engineer. And I would say I understand what code means, but I’m not certainly an expert at writing code. But I tried this and I took a bunch of data, unnamed patient data, where there was no HIPAA stuff. And I loaded it into an AI, essentially data cube. And I said, analyze this data. What can you tell me about these patients? What can you tell me about patients with the highest transactions? Who are my VIP patients? What do I know about them? And I realized that there are certain zip codes that correlate really closely to those things.
This is like huge data analysis opportunity that took me five minutes that would normally take a data analyst days to go through to say, if I know what questions I’m trying to ask, then I might know what to do. Then I can spit out the data a lot faster. So there are lots of tools. There’s something called SheetAI.app. There’s Excel Formula Bot. There’s SheetPlus. These are all tools that are designed to help analyze your spreadsheets. There’s also tools like ChatGPT just came out with essentially an analysis component to it. You have to have the premium version, but if you load a bunch of numbers into it, you can get that analysis. And this is where I think AI is such a good thinking partner.
You can actually plug ChatGPT into US Census data. Well, that doesn’t sound that impressive because US Census data is publicly available for anybody. But the things that would take me hours and hours and hours to do before by looking and scouring the Census data, I can just ask ChatGPT and say, hey, in such and such zip code, what are the top occupations? Hey, in such and such zip code, how many families have an income of over $75,000 and have kids? Because those are my target. And then I know, do I target this zip code or do I target that zip code? And then that’s when we start asking the question, well, if I were to target them, could I target them in a more intelligent way leveraging AI tools to really automate some of that communication?
So unfortunately, the answer to your question is that there’s nobody training this yet. And this is where I guess some of the folks who are coming out early and saying there’s possibility. Part of what I’m trying to do is educate the market that there’s possibility. We should not look at AI as a competitor. We should look at AI as an accelerant and as an opportunity to really think about, given that there’s a possibility to make some of these things happen, let’s try them. Because all of us can learn from each other’s experiments, because there’s nobody with experience. There’s literally nobody who has had years of experience in training AI tools, because they’re just coming out. So, it’s just about experiments.
Bethany Fishbein: Eugene, as always, when we have these conversations, I feel like it’s just the beginning and we could talk and talk and talk more. But I think this is a solid overview, but also just like a taste of what’s to come, how this will be useful for us as consumers, and also how it’ll be useful for us as practice owners in the near future and maybe a window to five or 10 years down the line. My partner Tobin, I think I’m quoting him, but he’s quoting Drake when he says it, but he says, what a time to be alive. That’s how I’m feeling right now. Thank you, as always, for sharing your knowledge.
You got my brain going again, things that I’m thinking about and things that we’ve kind of hypothesized, I wonder if. And having a way to just have those things figured out would make our practice so much better, so much more effective and let us take better care of our patients. So as always, I appreciate your time. I appreciate you being here. Give your contact information for people who want to know more about your agency or want to hear you speak further on this.
Eugene Shatsman: If you go to nationalstrategic.com, you’ll be able to find me or request information and just kind of learn a little bit more about what we do. But my parting thought on this topic is that I believe that there’s a lot of people who are running around and saying, I’m worried about what AI is doing to us or to humanity or to my job or to anything that kind of directly impacts them. And I would say, flip that and just get excited. Absolutely an opportune moment to seize all of the first mover advantages you can and identify all of the different ways that you can accelerate both your personal life, whether it’s AI checking your email for you and helping you organize it, or your business life. If AI is helping you identify your VIP patients or contact your exam only, whatever that looks like for you, think about how AI can accelerate your day to day and make it better.
Bethany Fishbein: Awesome. How do people get in touch with you?
Eugene Shatsman: Nationalstrategic.com. Reach out to me there. I’m happy to be a resource for anybody.
Bethany Fishbein: Thank you so much. And for us at Power Practice, learning about new opportunities, utilizing technology are always things that we’ve done to help practices gain clarity around their business, increase their financial success, and help practice owners spend time doing the things they love to do. So to get in touch with us, you can find us online at PowerPractice.com. Thank you so much.