Rushtree’s Customized Incremental Optimization Method and AI Solutions Can Help DSOs Grow

RushTree’s Paul Blocchi explains how using universal performance models powered by AI-enhanced tools and following an incremental optimization method develops continuous improvement habits, enhances team performance, and creates a culture of harmony.

DSOPro: Tell us about your background.

I joined Eastman Kodak in distribution in 1988 as a third-generation Kodak employee. Eventually, I worked my way into marketing and stayed with Kodak for about 5 years. One of my first roles was being a facilitator for their “quality leadership program (QLP).” Basically, QLP took Total Quality Management (TQM), which was traditionally developed for manufacturing, and applied it to business process management for marketing, sales, operations, etc. We gained phenomenal insight, and I really enjoyed the experience.

New call-to-action

Our national sales manager saw that I had a passion for sales and marketing and told me, “You need to be in the dental business” because that’s where he came from. So, I moved on to help Planmeca build their brand name in North America as a member of their original sales team. Then, I worked as an independent for the next 15 years focusing on technology, digital imaging, traditional equipment, software, networking, manufacturing, and distribution, etc. In one company, I led the restructuring of their sales and marketing business model from direct to distribution. We re-branded the North American operation to match the company’s global brand that is now known in the United States as Vatech America.

I recognize over the years that I have committed my career to “fight the mushroom and seagull theories of management in corporate America.” To support this commitment, I earned a Master Black Belt certification in Six-Sigma. In order to break the rules, you have to master the rules. I’m a real world, hands-on business mechanic and RushTree provides the ultimate business tune up.

DSOPro: How does that philosophy apply to different DSO structures?

Today, speakers often say, “Don’t be like Kodak. Kodak got Uberized.” I say, “If you’re not driving change, change will drive you.” I think we’re there now, especially with artificial intelligence (AI), in how we conduct daily business. It’s the old habits that create work silos. In a dental office, you have the front office-business operations, clinical end, and a strong focus on scaling the practice. Without operational and cultural harmony, it’s easy to get lost in the daily schedule.

RushTree Optimization solutions work whether you own a single dental practice or run a 1,000 practice DSO.  We follow the “and-also” philosophy. If you’re going to scale, you need to optimize through empowered continuous improvement. Hence the name of my firm, RushTree Business Optimization. You can’t just scale without optimization, or you will end up scaling all your problems, too. You can’t just automate, or you’ll potentially end up with a highly automated mess. You must first do what I call “USA,” which stands for “understand, simplify, then automate.” We apply this approach to all our clients’ systems and processes.

Read more


The™ Scanning Solution

Scan your way to better savings and an impressive ROI with:

  • No monthly subscription or licensing fees
  • Portable cart with laptop and monitor included
  • Fast, accurate, and detailed impressions


One key is to be able to understand and time market demands well. For example, I started my latest iteration of RushTree in February 2019. I was introducing conversational and generative AI solutions to the healthcare, veterinary, and automotive market. My outreach involved about two dozen dental companies, mostly manufacturers, with the idea of taking level one activities, whether customer/technical support or training, and automating those tasks so that teams could focus on the higher, more complex work. Our AI solution re-purposes current sales, training, and support content, then programs it into AI chatbots and Alexa to provide on-demand guidance and support. For dental practices, we can even do this for morning huddles.

There was solid interest in RushTree AI solutions, but then COVID hit.  Many companies chose to ride out the situation. They just didn’t grasp what AI technology could do to differentiate them. This was an eye-opener for me. I realized we have a problem, particularly in the dental industry.  So many people are still doing the same old things the same old way. I saw an opportunity to provide real change to advance the industry.

DSOPro: Describe what you and your company do.

RushTree is an AI business optimization advisory firm. We custom design and deliver universal business optimization solutions with artificial intelligence-infused tech stacks. We follow the “theory of threes.” We offer 3 Key Optimization Solutions utilizing AI: PULSE, MAX, and THRIVE. Our proprietary optimization framework is based on Six-Sigma continuous improvement methods: Discover, Design, Deliver. When training and coaching, we always have clients focus on three key elements: Language, Logic, Logistics.

When conducting our PULSE program, we review a company’s vision, mission, and values and take a deep pulse to baseline and benchmark the operation. Our optimization models typically consist of a Blueprint, a Toolkit, and a Timeframe. Like any worthwhile project, you must start with some kind of a plan (blueprint) and then figure out the best tools and timeframe to get the project implemented and completed.

When it comes to AI and other technologies, we advise on what tools to use as well as when and where to use them in the organization. However, we stay agnostic regarding specific brands. We are independent and our solutions are universal. They can very quickly and easily be plugged into any industry, department, or role within any organization. 

Another RushTree credo is “Crawl, Walk, Run.” With our solutions, results can be accomplished quickly by following a logical order customized to a specific situation. Our universal performance and optimization models involve small incremental changes and are applicable whether you’re on the clinical, technical, or business side. 

New call-to-action

Interested in the DSO Market? 

DSO DataCONNECT tracks more than 2,600 dental organizations with 3 practice locations or more - representing more than 90,000 corporate employees and dentists. Data includes a combination of contact information, PE Support, Procedural Codes, and Org Chart relationships. 

Learn More


DSOPro: Tell us more about the process.

AI optimization is very simple, yet dynamic. We first teach clients to identify where their organization is in the enterprise data maturity model. Next, we explain the six key branches of AI. This helps clients identify where they are currently, where they ideally wish to be, and which AI to apply where and when along the optimization journey. The PULSE program creates a continual focus on what we call the “3 Key Ps” (People, Process, Profit). Think of a Venn diagram—your people are the heart of your solution, in the center of everything. We start there, then work on the practice(s) processes and ultimately identify key profit opportunities. Once the performance framework is established, we reverse the process and work from the outside back into the core of your operation. This method develops excellent continuous-improvement habits, team performance, and creates a culture of harmony.

Organizationally, we create an “open wall” policy within the company. Individuals start by looking at their daily routine, how they communicate, and analyze their key activities. We find the performance gaps and then help figure out how to improve key tasks. 

Then each department goes through the same exercises. Once the departments have their silos cleaned up and organized, we tear down the walls and teach the entire team how to understand each other. They learn what is most important to their own and every other department. 

This process results in clear, organized workflows with everyone “singing” off the same page of music. Everything must be structured so everyone understands their role, what is most important to their own success, their department’s success, and what matters most to others in their roles and departments. This model fosters respect and team harmony.

Our tactical models are based on proven Six-Sigma, TQM principles. Our strategies are based on The Art of War, which is thousands of years old and still taught in many of the best business schools and military institutions today. These are the methods I learned as a student attending the Rochester Institute of Technology and while working at Kodak. They are currently used at Amazon, Apple, Google, IBM, Motorola, Toyota, and many of the Fortune 1000 companies.

The problem is these change models are very complex. They aren’t easy for teams to understand and if not properly coached, can take a long time to apply. There are whole industries devoted to how to implement these methods and, frankly, they seem to constantly disagree over best practices. In their 1993 book, Reengineering the Corporation, Michael Hammer and James Champy state that based on their unscientific research, about 50%-70% of an organization’s reengineering efforts do not achieve the dramatic results they intended. McKinsey & Company and Harvard Business Review have made similar claims. Sadly, I believe that still applies today and this is why I founded RushTree.

How do you make programs quick, easy, and adaptable for smaller businesses? I spent 30 years making these solutions “Paul proof,” if you will. I simplified the language, logic, and logistics of change management and devised methods to allow implementation in manageable bite-size pieces. AI tools and other technology serves as perfect icing on the cake. In today’s busy, over-stressed work environments, we find that people respond really favorably to this approach because it is easy to understand, relatively fast to implement, and brings clarity to all the daily chaos. Our programs can even be used in conjunction with other training and coaching programs clients already have in place. 

We focus on optimization through empowerment and strategically applied AI. Over time, this leads to team and company cultural harmony, as well as desired financial results. Lack of commitment to optimize leads to lackluster performance, toxic culture, and a less-than-ideal patient experience.

Read more

Flossing Reinvented

DSO DataCONNECT tracks more than 2,600 dental organizations with 3 practice locations or more - representing more than 90,000 corporate employees and dentists. Data includes a combination of contact information, PE Support, Procedural Codes, and Org Chart relationships.

Contact Us for Details

DSOPro: Where is the best place to start this process within the organization?

We start clients wherever they are currently in their data maturity cycle. Strategically, we teach teams powerful data management methods that maximize productivity. Tactically, one of the easiest things to automate initially is paper trails, especially forms. This applies to the forms that dental teams and patients fill out daily.

Try to automate paper forms using the technology you already have, whether it’s in a practice management system or a stand-alone solution. This provides easy, quick wins and helps teams get in the habit of thinking about how to improve their routine workflows. Some offices prohibit using cell phones or block access to outside sites. If you don’t already, try letting your team and patients use their smartphones as a tool within the office to complete automated forms and maybe even create a practice-centered social media post or show happy patients how to share a quick Google review.

DSOPro: How do people react to analyzing and revising their workflows?

After spending decades as a change agent, I realized the answer is not change. Everybody hates change. The answer is empowerment. We accomplish this by focusing on incremental optimization and applying the appropriate AI and other technology along the journey. This way, change is non-threatening and lasting. It’s welcoming. It actually helps, rather than hinders teams and production.

We prioritize the essentials. So, in a quarter, you really see a difference. In six months, the habits are there. In less than a year, you’ve literally transformed the company. More importantly, through empowerment, you have elevated the performance and culture of the team. Ultimately, it’s the consistent, desired patient experience and financial results RushTree delivers that sustains the teams’ and organizations’ new performance standards.

More from the Newsletter

About Paul Blocchi 

Paul Blocchi

Paul Blocchi is a dynamic entrepreneur, sales, marketing, and operations executive. He has strong general management, profit/loss, and AI technology skills. Paul increases revenue, profit, and market share by providing strategy and tactics that lead organizations to desired results.  

RushTree Business Optimization

As an AI Business Optimization Advisory Firm, we deliver multi-industry leading results with affordable programs and minimal disruption. We are industry and role agnostic, providing universal performance models powered by AI-enhanced tools to give you a snapshot of your current business health and performance gaps. Our complete program, PULSE, couples this with an actionable strategic plan and coaching to implement the latest AI technology and systems/programs to make your vision a reality.

We also offer MAX, a highly innovative approach to restructure and scale your business, as well as specialty independent sales, marketing, and operations representation and turn-key global operational support solutions. With MAX, you can launch and scale epic brands. For those looking to re-purpose legacy content into usable conversational and generative AI, we offer THRIVE to elevate your client experience. 

Read more

Similar posts