February 8, 2021
by Lou Shuman, DMD, CAGS, CEO and Founder of Cellerant Consulting
Are there limits to the convenience culture? In a world where a click of an app can keep you well read, well fed and cozy in bed, all without leaving the house, consumers have come to not just prefer just-in-time service, but they expect it. Dentistry is not exempt from this sea change in customer service and in the orthodontic market, we’ve seen a number of direct-to-consumer companies spring up and try to get aligners into the hands (and mouths) of people while skipping over the actual art and science of dentistry. Enter OrthoFX.
One of the things I appreciate most about OrthoFX is that its leadership and team represent deep dental expertise, and are carving out a technologically savvy, patient-centric slice of the market that doesn’t leave the orthodontist or GP behind. Co-founders Ren Menon and Nichole Garcia both worked with Invisalign before transitioning to venture capital roles where they looked for ways to support innovative new companies and concepts, many related to the dental field.
The two teamed up with another clear aligner veteran, Henry Chan, to create a hybrid business model that is truly innovative and refreshingly modern. Using a direct-to-consumer promotional concept and transparent pricing, coupled with treatment delivery by a curated network of GPs and orthodontists around the country, OrthoFX makes the dental professional the centrepiece of the process. “We are creating a frictionless environment, where we offer a suite of services for both the patient and the doctor, including financing, insurance submission and verification and so much more,” says Garcia.
OrthoFX’s model of building a doctor network allows them to also work with practitioners to present OrthoFX to their existing patient base.
“We’ve built a web-based platform where doctors can convert their patients to OrthoFX. We team up with the doctor to offer coop marketing to drive additional interest, conversion and productivity. If the patient is interested in moving forward, the doctor can take a scan, upload it to our system and an OrthoFX team member will reach out and get the patient moved through finance and insurance,” says Garcia.
OrthoFX assembled an inside Customer Success Team who takes care of the patient and doctor needs with a VIP touch throughout the entire clear aligner journey. OrthoFX collects the fee directly from the patients and then pays the doctor to deliver the treatment. Practices no longer must buy products and carry inventory that leads to huge costs at the end of the month. With OrthoFX, the practice can expect a payment at the end of the month, not a bill.
Another pain point the OrthoFX team observed was the trend of alignment treatment plans designed by lab technicians, requiring multiple revisions by doctors. For this reason, all OrthoFX treatment plans are created by dentists, for dentists.
“We hired doctors who have been doing treatment planning for 10 to 15 years, so our plans are great from the beginning,” says Garcia.
Another significant differentiator is the polymer material innovation OrthoFX has invested in, resulting in nearly 80% reduction in refinements, shorter treatment times and greater comfort for the patient.
According to Garcia, the feedback OrthoFX has received so far is very favourable.
“We want to continue building products and processes that benefit doctors and patients. That means continually improving our material science and investing in innovative concepts like AI,” Garcia says. “Our FXOnTrack remote monitoring solutions are making this a reality because if there is one thing we’ve seen confirmed time and again, it is that patients want to come to the dental office as few times as possible.
“Innovation also doesn’t have to be something that happens in a lab or on a computer screen,” Garcia says. “We are working with our partner practices in key cities to create more weekend and
evening appointments for OrthoFX patients.”
The OrthoFX team are seasoned clear aligner experts, many of whom helped build this sector. For additional information on OrthoFX, go to orthofx.com.