Quay Dental Practice is an independent mixed practice that focuses on providing quality general family dentistry. The team were already using EXACT as their dental practice management system, but when Sarah was introduced to the new features in EXACT V11 she felt it could really help them to improve their overall business, especially through the introduction of online booking and automated recalls.
Our appointment book had become noticeably quieter and on examining our figures we were shocked to find each chair was being under-utilised by as much as 30%. As we are a five-chair practice, this had big implications for the business. The fact that our hygienist was so underutilised indicated that patients were not attending for regular check-ups and consequently not making hygiene appointments either. As a result of this underutilisation our profit margins were being squeezed and we were starting to struggle to meet our UDA targets. I realised that EXACT V11 could help us, so we decided to upgrade and the difference it has made to our business has been amazing.
My first job was to radically improve our recall system. As Practice Manager I was very aware how time-consuming and expensive our old recall system was. We relied on our reception staff to either telephone patients to remind them of appointments, or manually send out hundreds of recall letters each week. Patients were slipping through the net and we had no proper follow up system in place, relying on patients coming back to us, rather than the other way round.
EXACT V11 has completely automated our recall system. Recalls are now sent as texts or emails that link to a new online booking facility on our website, allowing patients to book an appointment when it’s convenient for them. New patients can also use the system to book online for their initial patient consultation. Of course we still cater for those who prefer to telephone the practice, but online booking is proving really popular with our patients, especially the younger ones, and the fact we have to make less phone calls has really freed up our receptionists’ time for other duties, such as caring for the patients whilst they are in the practice.
We send personalised text and email appointment reminders to every patient, 48 hours prior to their appointment. This has resulted in a huge reduction in FTAs, because if patients find they cannot attend we have time to fill the appointment from our short notice cancellation list. Again we’ve had great patient feedback, they really appreciate the reminders and we can really utilise our surgery time effectively, it’s a fantastic system.
I’m also a big fan of EasyPost; which is a brilliant facility. Patients without a mobile or email address now automatically receive a recall letter, as do those who haven’t replied to our text or email recalls. This means we are covering all bases and have a ‘mop up’ system for patients who have failed to respond. It is yet another mundane administrative task that has been taken away from our receptionists, who no longer have to manually generate letters, stuff envelopes, add stamps and post them; everything is now done automatically via EasyPost.
Having patients returning for regular examinations using this automated recall system has been a major advantage for us in many ways. Our bookings have increased significantly and we have patients returning who hadn’t been to see us for 12 months or more, which shows the value of persisting with recalls via different methods. Recalls are vital to the health of our practice, as without a robust system we would be in danger of missing our UDA targets, losing our private patient income stream, and losing the opportunities for booking more advanced treatments and hygiene appointments.
Another advantage of EXACT V11 is that it enables us to schedule appointments in such a way that mixes more complex treatments in amongst regular examinations, which provides a much more even workload and improved cash flow.
Within the first month of upgrading to V11 I found the underutilisation of all five chairs reduced, from a worrying 30% to just 10%. This has been the big ‘WOW’ factor for me and has made a massive difference to our practice.
I believe EXACT V11 has helped us become a far more professional business and we can now offer services that differentiate us from other practices, which is important in a very competitive market. Today’s dentistry is much more about customer service and we need to stand out as a good business to attract new patients, something dentists haven’t really had to do in the past. We must not think of people as just patients who will come back no matter what, because actually they may not! They are customers and we must give them a first-rate service, and V11 is helping us to do this.
EXACT V11 is a really fantastic system. It has made us a busier practice; able to provide excellent customer service. I’m so enthusiastic because it has made such a difference to all our lives, and I think it is such a good product, which makes me want to go out and spread the word!