The AAO has awarded the 2024 AAO Ortho Innovator® Award to Dr. Geoff Sudit and Liz Sudit for their company, Bright Referral. Dr. Sudit, an orthodontist, founded Bright Referral with his wife Liz Sudit, a marketing industry veteran. The 2024 Ortho Innovator Award winner developed a technology solution to improve how an orthodontist (or any specialist), receives, tracks and follows up with referred patients.

Now in its sixth year, the AAO Ortho Innovator Award program is part of an ongoing effort to support innovation among orthodontists and partners in the industry.

“Our team is thrilled to receive the Ortho Innovator award,” said Dr. Sudit. “We are loving how effectively our product improves referral tracking and guides prospective patients to orthodontic practices.”

Bright Referral’s primary goal is to add transparency and control to the referral process for all parties involved – GPs, patients and orthodontists. Dentists get a faster, easier way to refer, with a built-in “cool factor.” Patients get the information they want, when and how they want it. Orthodontists get the data for every single referral made. That means they don’t lose out on patients that were intended for them, but never called.

Orthodontists provide their referring dentists with Bright Referral’s NFC-enabled* Bright Cards. When the dentist wants to refer a patient, they tap the Bright Card to the patient’s phone. The patient then sees who they are being referred to and is prompted to share their contact information with the orthodontist for follow-up. The patient can also schedule an appointment, reach out on their own if they wish, and more within the browser-based experience. 

“Even if the patient does not share contact information, the system alerts the orthodontist to each referral,” says Dr. Sudit. “Instead of having no idea when a referral has been attempted by the GP, the orthodontist learns exactly when referrals are made and by whom. This helps the orthodontist acquire a better understanding of their referral network including which practices are referring most often, and which practices make referrals that most often convert to new orthodontic patients.”
The system also enables GPs to share notes with specialists easily, using a HIPAA compliant voice memo feature.

About the Ortho Innovator Selection Process
The AAO Committee on Technology (CTECH) judges the Ortho Innovator Award competition and this year reviewed 27 entries. Businesses considered eligible to enter the competition are companies offering new products or services for orthodontic treatment or orthodontic practice management. CTECH evaluates each entry by its uniqueness, originality, functionality or feasibility, and value for the orthodontic practice.

In addition to Bright Referral’s award, CTECH also announced finalists for the 2024 award, including:

Dr. Robert Lee & Dr. Tera Poole
InBrace Generation 2 (Honorable Mention)
Since its inception in 2016, InBrace has worked to improve past lingual appliance systems while producing predictable and efficient treatment outcomes. Improvements were recently introduced to InBrace Generation 2.0 (first introduced in May 2022), improving ease of use, predictability and efficiency of tooth movement to make it even easier to integrate the InBrace system into a busy practice.

Dr. Brandon Owen
KLOwen Orthodontics (Honorable Mention)
2019 AAO Ortho Innovator, KLOwen Orthodontics, submitted a new, custom metal self-ligating bracket, featuring low friction and non-fatiguing ligation. The solution combines a custom bracket and software, with tighter tolerances in the 19.5 x 26 slot to ensure shorter ligation appointments, faster initial alignment, and improved tooth positioning through a snug fit, optimizing control in all three orders.

Dr. Jeff Biggs
Orthodontic Details (Honorable Mention)
Majority-owned by orthodontists, the Orthodontic Details platform saves practices time and money on supplies. With over 200 offices using the platform, and partnerships with suppliers like 3M Oral Care, G&H Orthodontics, and Reliance, Details is quickly becoming an industry staple.

Learn More at the 2024 Annual Session
The Exhibit Hall Innovation Pavilion at the 2024 Annual Session in New Orleans will be the site of an exhibit featuring the 2024 Ortho Innovator Award winner and the Honorable Mention finalists in the competition. Dr. Sudit will receive the Ortho Innovator award on Saturday, May 4, at 3:30 pm in the Rivergate Room.

* According to Digital Trends NFC (near-field communication), allows “devices like phones and smartwatches to exchange small bits of data with other devices and read NFC-equipped cards over relatively short distances.”