I first met Prof Tom Kompas a few years ago when he came to me as a patient. Tom is an expert of risk and rare events at the Center for Bio-security Risk Analysis (CEBRA). I've seen Tom a few times a year since then, and somehow through the various quirks of a dental appointment he usually manages to leave a trail of bread crumbs for me to follow and research. Nassim Taleb, (Fooled by Randomness, Black Swan, Antifragile, Skin in the Game), Mark Burgman (Trusting Judgments) and John Von Neumann (Game theory) were some of the crumbs that he's left over the years.
One bread crumb that sparked the CoTreat project was political scientist Robert Axelrod's elucidation of a game theory observation. The effect that the 'shadow of the future' has on human behaviour and morality. Essentially it expresses the idea that we behave very differently when we expect to interact with someone repeatedly over time. There is a distinct difference between one off transactions and repeat business.
We behave very differently when we expect to interact with someone repeatedly over time.
Traditionally, dentistry has been a very decentralized model. Small business owners that cater to the same few thousand patients over the course of many decades. Long term incentives were strong enough to encourage high quality work, good communication and fair transactions.
Today, the dentistry landscape is changing fast. Large corporations employ thousands of young dentists. In the past older dentists retired and younger dentists bought those practices. Now, older dentists sell to corporates and younger dentists works as employees. This is not a forecast, but a rapidly growing reality. Data shows small owner, operators can be expected to stay in a single location upward of 30 years while employee dentists working for a corporates on average stay less than 2.
In the past older dentists retired and younger dentists bought those practices. Now, older dentists sell to corporates and younger dentists works as employees.
The shadow of the future is shrinking for dentists.
What are we trying to do at CoTreat AI?
CoTreat attempts to improve quality of service to consumers by increasing transparency and aligning incentives. Dental decisions are peer reviewed to ensure validity, and we hope outliers are caught before damage is done. Treatment purchased via CoTreat will also be assessed for quality by an independent panel of dentists to ensure a reasonable standard has been met.
We don't expect corporate dentistry with strict KPIs to disappear any time soon. The urgency for projects like CoTreat have never been higher.