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15 Mar 2011 | Auxiliary

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EXACT gets practise systems humming

When it comes to dental practice management systems, key user priorities are simplicity, ease-of-use and presenting the right information in one place. The new owner of Brisbane practice Bite Dental, Dr Simon Franks, got what he wanted when he switched his software over to EXACT.

Dr Franks and his staff treat patients as friends. Since buying Bite Dental, Dr Franks and his team are breathing new life into an established practice. Nurturing a point of difference, they hope patients will experience a down-to-earth, fresh and relaxed approach. So far it’s working, says Dr Franks, who moved from a practice in central Queensland to pursue the new opportunity. He says dentists are famous for making statements about friendliness, but few actually deliver. Explaining his progress on this dimension, Dr Franks says smooth running systems free staff to concentrate on the quality of patient experiences. “It’s in a large part a practice management system story,” he says. “If the background is humming and behaves like a well-oiled machine, profits follow. A big part of that comes back to the software.”

Look less, see and do more
However, when Dr Franks first walked through the door to his new practice, he didn’t have the system he wanted. His principal bugbear was too much looking and opening and closing different screens to access information, completing the full picture of patient care. He says most critically practice management systems must be simple, easy to use and present everything in one place. “Ideally, you want a window into each module on a single screen - bang, bang, bang. I can sit here with one screen in front of me; look at x-rays, click a tab for invoicing, hit a button at the bottom that says charge and everything is sent to the HICAPS machine,” he says, explaining his experience of EXACT. “Before I was having to close this down, open another programme to view x-rays, close that down, go back to the chart... that’s a lot of fumbling and the patient is sitting there waiting and probably thinking - do you know what you’re doing?”

X-ray vision
EXACT’s seamless integration with EXAMINEPRO helps consolidate patient imaging. EXAMINEPRO consolidates patient imaging, serving up images directly from a patient’s tooth chart. Process automation adds new images, as they’re captured, creating a full history navigated by mouse-clicks. “It’s very nifty,” says Dr Franks. “I can put my mouse on a tooth and instantly scroll through every x-ray of that tooth. I don’t need to close out and search for x-rays - every image of the clinical history of that tooth is there in front of you.”

Minimising cancellations and no-shows
The universal challenge facing service providers is unsold capacity. And for appointment-based services, that mostly occurs with patient no-shows or FTAs, as they’re known in dental management circles. No one can resell a missed appointment and clawing back lost time by boosting downstream yields is extremely tough. A better approach is systemising patient prompting, so they don’t miss appointments - a task often dominating the time of office support staff. These days however, with the strong presence of mobile phones and practice management software that consolidates variously formatted patient communication and workflow, the job can be automated, with SMS messaging providing a timely reminder that doesn’t invite postponement or cancellation. This is a job for EXACT SMS Reminders and Recalls, which automatically sends SMS reminders (much cheaper than phone calls) - in some cases halving FTAs.

Dr Franks says he is poised to activate the module. However, in keeping with his ‘friendly’ point of difference, he first wants to meet all his current patients face-to-face before automating this aspect of patient management. Nevertheless, he’s excited by the possibilities. “Dentistry generates a healthy turnover and the profits are nice, but not huge. Just one FTA can hurt a day. So, you need people confirmed. The beauty of automated SMS and email means you’ve captured the patient and the receptionist can spend more time building rapport with patients”.

Training and support
Most business software requires support of some kind - that’s the nature of technology. On support, Dr Franks says speed is critical. “Support is vital. EXACT’s support is sensational. I cannot fault them. Problems are fixed, often within five minutes. I have literally had a patient at the front desk and the problem was fixed while they’re standing there. Support moves the mouse around onscreen and it’s done. It can be that quick”.

Training is similarly clear-cut and in Dr Franks’ assessment, fast. “Our new receptionist had no prior dental experience. She was trained on her first day and by day-three she was doing it on her own, no problem. She found the telephone support very helpful. All in all our transition to EXACT has been seamless”.

For more info about EXACT, contact Software or Excellence on 1300-889-668 or sales@soeidental.com or in New Zealand, call 0800-930-171. www.soeidental.com.

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