Ryan Miller Of Peerlogic Is Disrupting Our Industry, and What We Can Do About It

An Interview With Cynthia Corsetti

If leadership wants AI to be adopted, the narrative is going to come from the top down. You have to be educated, you have to have a plan. You have to calm the team’s fears that they aren’t being replaced.

Artificial Intelligence is no longer the future; it is the present. It’s reshaping landscapes, altering industries, and transforming the way we live and work. With its rapid advancement, AI is causing disruption — for better or worse — in every field imaginable. While it promises efficiency and growth, it also brings challenges and uncertainties that professionals and businesses must navigate. What can one do to pivot if AI is disrupting their industry? As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Ryan Miller.

Ryan Miller is the CEO and Co-founder of Peerlogic, a company at the forefront of the dental industry through its innovative use of conversational AI. With over 20 years in technology and sales leadership, Ryan leveraged his experience to disrupt traditional models, following his previous success with the BlackStar Network in the mid-2000s. Away from his professional duties, Ryan treasures the time spent with his wife, Kristen, and their family and his enthusiasm for exploring new places, showcasing his dedication to a fulfilling life that complements his visionary leadership.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive into our discussion our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Starting a company to serve the dental industry was nowhere on my radar, but then my wife, who works in medical device sales, kept coming home with stories from struggling dental offices. I have a background as a technologist and have always been entrepreneurial, so it was second nature to begin brainstorming potential solutions.

By way of background, AI is revolutionizing dentistry, but most of the focus has been on leveraging it to improve diagnostics, imaging, robotic systems and the like. But who really needs support are the front offices of dental practices. Today, Peerlogic is powered by AI and processes data points captured from human speech to help practices quickly identify and win-back missed opportunities, improve processes, and streamline communications.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Peerlogic’s technology platform has significant implications for the industry at large by directly addressing pain points dental practices and front office employees have run into for decades.

Peerlogic is servicing more than 1,000 dental offices in the United States. So far dental practices are thrilled by how quickly Peerlogic is helping transform businesses and operations. They’re seeing benefits like a 60% reduction in call times, a 70% increase in appointments, and a 40% reduction of costs. This underscores how useful conversational AI is as an engine that empowers high-performing front office teams to increase dental practice efficiency and revenue.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

  1. Hiring for culture, not for need. In my experience, prioritizing cultural fit over immediate necessity has been crucial in the hiring process. Any time I simply bring someone on board based solely on their skills, without considering their alignment with the company culture, it often does a disservice to both of us.
  2. A shared mission within the full team. At Peerlogic, it’s essential that every team member can wholeheartedly endorse our mission, fostering a sense of collective purpose and commitment. A cohesive team is built upon a shared mission that transcends financial objectives.
  3. A blind willingness to know you’re going to succeed. I’ve had to tell myself — and believe — that I’m going to succeed, and anybody that says differently is wrong. It’s what keeps me going.

Let’s now move to the main point of our discussion about AI. Can you explain how AI is disrupting your industry? Is this disruption hurting or helping your bottom line?

Before Peerlogic, office support was accepted as being manual, time consuming and repetitive. With economic downturns, budget cuts and staff shortages, it’s not realistic to manage phones in the ways that are needed. Peerlogic is disrupting the dental industry by saving practices time and money. Our conversational AI technology gives practices real-time custom insights based on their unique call data, proven dental industry trends and correlations combined with their individual practice call data. These call performance metrics take the guesswork out of how to improve front office performance. The bottom line is impacted directly when conversion rates increase from calls to scheduled appointments.

Which specific AI technology has had the most significant impact on your industry?

In our industry, the most impactful AI technology has been in the realm of natural language processing (NLP). This encompasses various applications with a primary focus on facilitating seamless interactions through natural language in conversations, text-based communication, chats, and voice interactions. The other important AI tech is computer vision, which involves the analysis of visual data such as images, which holds a significant impact in image identification and interpretation, such as identifying dental anomalies from radiographs.

I believe the biggest opportunity is in capturing the conversation between practice and patient. That’s where the majority of disconnect is. As a result, our efforts are directed toward enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of these interactions, aiming to streamline processes for patients to access primary care and dental services promptly.

Our vision extends beyond mere x-ray reviews and clinical documentation. We aim to capture the nuanced conversations between patients and practitioners, recognizing that valuable information often remains unrecorded or overlooked. By leveraging NLP technologies, we seek to enrich the patient experience by ensuring that vital information communicated during consultations is accurately captured and integrated into the patient’s care journey. This holistic approach not only enhances the quality of care but also fosters stronger patient-provider relationships.

While our initial focus may have been on addressing front-office challenges, our long-term strategy involves integrating NLP solutions into clinical workflows. By seamlessly integrating doctor notes and patient conversations into the care continuum, we aim to fill the existing gaps in healthcare delivery. Our goal is to move beyond surface-level interactions captured in electronic health records and delve deeper into the subtleties of patient communication, ultimately improving the overall quality and efficacy of healthcare delivery.

Can you share a pivotal moment when you recognized the profound impact AI would have on your sector?

A pivotal moment for me occurred during a conversation with a prominent dental practice, where I gained insight into the substantial investment they were making each month in marketing efforts. What struck me was their lack of confidence in their front office team’s ability to effectively convert inquiries into actual patients. In response, they resorted to outsourcing new patient calls to a third-party call center, primarily due to the absence of visibility and coaching mechanisms within their organization. The realization that such critical aspects of patient engagement and conversion were being overlooked underscored the profound need for innovative solutions.

It became evident that traditional coaching methods were insufficient in addressing the specific challenges faced by dental practices in optimizing front office performance. While platforms like Gong excelled in providing coaching solutions, there was a glaring gap in tailoring these solutions to the unique needs of the dental industry. This realization served as an ‘aha moment,’ prompting the recognition of the transformative potential of AI-driven solutions tailored to vertical-specific challenges.

How are you preparing your workforce for the integration of AI, and what skills do you believe will be most valuable in an AI-enhanced future?

To prepare our workforce for the integration of AI, we recognize the need to assume responsibility for educating our customers. Rather than expecting dental office staff to become AI experts, we are committed to equipping our customer success, sales, and engineering teams with the necessary skills to effectively guide and train our clients. Our approach involves delivering targeted, bite-sized training modules tailored to address specific challenges our customers face. By focusing on practical solutions to immediate needs, such as handling missed calls from new patients, we aim to demonstrate the tangible benefits of AI implementation in driving practice revenue.

In terms of skill sets, adaptability and a willingness to embrace AI technologies are incredibly important. Teams must adopt a mindset that acknowledges the transformative potential of AI in dentistry and actively seek opportunities to leverage it for enhanced efficiency and performance. Additionally, effective communication and training abilities are crucial for our workforce to facilitate seamless integration and adoption of AI solutions among our clientele. Through comprehensive documentation, personalized onboarding processes, in-app training resources, and dedicated customer success support, we want to empower both our team members and customers to navigate and capitalize on the AI-enhanced future of dentistry.

What are the biggest challenges in upskilling your workforce for an AI-centric future?

We are focused on building a great Arizona tech company. One of the primary challenges in upskilling our workforce for an AI-centric future lies in fostering effective collaboration and talent acquisition within the context of our company culture and location. While the trend towards remote work is prevalent in the tech industry, we firmly believe in the value of in-person collaboration and have thus prioritized an office-centric approach at Peerlogic. However, attracting top-tier engineering talent to Arizona presents a unique hurdle. Many skilled professionals gravitate towards tech hubs like Silicon Valley, Austin, and New York, posing a challenge in recruiting and retaining talent locally. There’s only a handful of people in Arizona that we can go after that meet our skill set, but yet we’re doing it. Our strategy involves cultivating a strong company culture that resonates with potential candidates and emphasizes the opportunity to contribute to the growth of a dynamic organization.

What ethical considerations does AI introduce into your industry, and how are you tackling these concerns?

It’s always going to be a challenge to navigate the ethical implications that come from AI. For instance, there’s an inherent risk of AI generating inaccurate or misleading outputs. This is why it’s so important to recognize that AI shouldn’t replace human oversight and decision-making — it should complement it. AI isn’t the end-all, be-all of solutions. But as an industry, we can make the most of it. At Peerlogic, our team of engineers constantly works to refine AI algorithms, focusing on eliminating biases and preventing the oversharing of sensitive patient data. We’ve also collaborated with experts in healthcare data science to ensure our AI solutions exceed ethical standards.

What are your “Five Things You Need To Do, If AI Is Disrupting Your Industry”?

1. Surf the waves.

If AI is disrupting your industry, don’t pretend it’s not happening. If I’m a graphic designer, I’m not fighting AI’s ability to graphic design. I’m looking to see how I can be the most effective designer using AI. I’m becoming the prompt engineer guru of design around AI. This is true for every industry. If there’s a disruptive force that’s coming in, don’t fight against the wave. Surf it. Learn it. Go with it.

2. Don’t be afraid of it.

Many people are afraid of AI because they think it’s a replacement, but that’s not true. Think of it as an enhancement. If it is replacing a certain thing you do now, it’s so you can spend more time doing something that’s more important to the customer.

3. AI isn’t always the right option.

Sometimes it can cost more to deploy the tech, learn it and train it than it will ever be used. Be smart with your financial investments and decisions on when, where, and how to use AI.

4. It starts at the top.

If leadership wants AI to be adopted, the narrative is going to come from the top down. You have to be educated, you have to have a plan. You have to calm the team’s fears that they aren’t being replaced.

5. Build an implementation plan.

We’ve implemented a strategy within our software development team to allow users to embrace AI. Peerlogic’s approach involves ensuring that every member, from senior principals to juniors, is proficient in leveraging key tools. In our case, we use a tool called Copilot, which helps our team accelerate code writing while still requiring human oversight. Our aim is to empower our engineering team by integrating AI seamlessly into their workflow, enhancing efficiency and productivity without displacing their valuable expertise.

What are the most common misconceptions about AI within your industry, and how do you address them?

One prevalent misconception is the overestimation of AI’s abilities. We often encounter inquiries regarding the possibility of AI completely replacing front office staff, which is not going to happen. Contrary to the notion of AI as an existential threat, it currently serves as a valuable assistant. AI enhances human capabilities rather than replacing them outright. It’s essential to provide clarity and context to stakeholders, emphasizing AI’s role as a supportive tool rather than a substitute for human expertise.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

My favorite quote is, “Everything you want is on the other side of hard.” Monty Williams said that and I’ve related to it as an entrepreneur. Long story short, starting a company hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it.

Off-topic, but I’m curious. As someone steering the ship, what thoughts or concerns often keep you awake at night? How do those thoughts influence your daily decision-making process?

When running a business, you’re always concerned about competition. This is especially true in the world of AI where there are going to be big billion-dollar companies that are started by a small group of people. So, it makes me think: how are we protecting ourselves from what’s coming next? I was reading an article from Sam Altman, and he and a handful of other tech CEOs are in this group and they have a bet on when will they see the first billion dollar company run by a single person with only one employee? Every company right now is available for disruption.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

We’re trying to take Arizona’s tech ecosystem to the next level. Every day I get up and I tell our team there will be big companies that come out of Peerlogic and I’m going to help fund them. I don’t want to lose to Salt Lake City. I don’t want to lose Austin. I don’t want to lose to New York City or even Palo Alto. I want my daughter to come and build a great tech startup in Arizona and not have to move to San Francisco.

How can our readers further follow you online?

Find me on LinkedIn.

Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

About the Interviewer: Cynthia Corsetti is an esteemed executive coach with over two decades in corporate leadership and 11 years in executive coaching. Author of the upcoming book, “Dark Drivers,” she guides high-performing professionals and Fortune 500 firms to recognize and manage underlying influences affecting their leadership. Beyond individual coaching, Cynthia offers a 6-month executive transition program and partners with organizations to nurture the next wave of leadership excellence.