Bola AI Expands Reach of Dental Voice Assistant
Health tech developer Bola AI’s dental voice assistant for gum health tests will soon be widely available thanks to a new partnership with software distributor Henry Schein One. Bola’s Voice Perio records data during perio tests, replacing the need for a second person in the exam room to write down what the dentist says.
Bola’s Voice Perio is a specialized virtual assistant for transcription and analysis of perio tests, gum health tests performed by a dentist or a dental hygienist. Normally, the dentist reads out a number for each section of the mouth indicating how firm and healthy they are, and someone else in the room enters that data. Voice Perio takes care of that automatically. Bola pitches the product as a way to free up an employee in the dentist’s office while also reducing the number of people in the room at a time and cutting down on PPE use, both important considerations, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Dentists don’t have to touch the keyboard or keep a hygenist who could be busy doing other things there,” Bola chief revenue officer Dan Brownwood told Voicebot in an interview. The value proposition is that it’s a hands-free way to enter data. Dentists are an ideal customer for voice AI exactly because it’s very difficult for them to interact with a keyboard while they are working.”
Henry Schein One is distributing the version of Voice Perio integrated into Dentrix, a popular IT platform used by dentists to manage patient records. Brownwood said about 40,000 offices would have the option of signing up for Bola’s services if they wish. He expected there would be plenty of interest, not just because of what Voice Perio can do, but because an earlier voice product used for similar purposes had always performed poorly and was in the process of shutting down now. He also pointed to a trend of dentists being keen to try out new technology and willing to experiment even in the early days of trends like voice.
“There’s a segment of dentists that are really tech-forward. They’re thought leaders and early adopters and are very enthusiastic,” Brownwood said. “We go in the morning and can be piloting in the afternoon. No other healthcare service offers that kind of turnaround. They are really all entrepreneurs.”
Brownwood said the kind of hands-free transcription Bola offers could be used in fields as varied as autobody work and scientific research. Still, there’s no question that medical transcription and analysis of all stripes have attracted a lot of interest in the wake of the pandemic. The potential in the area has spurred voice giants like Nuance to add new features frequently. Nuance’s Dragon Medical Virtual Assistant has been adding partners at a steady clip all year, and the company even added ambient clinical intelligence (ACI) to Microsoft Teams. Investment in startups in the field like Suki or Saykara has risen too, and Nuance even acquired Saykara earlier this month to extend its growth. There’s not as much in the way of dental-focused AI, which Brownwood said is part of why so many dentists are eager to start using Voice Perio.
“A unique selling point is the focused nature of Voice Perio. It’s not capturing a whole visit,” Brownwood said. “We’re focused on specific use cases when you’ve got to capture data at that time, or you lose it. Our goal is pure, unbridled efficiency.”