Poplars Dental Practice is a busy 3-surgery practice with over 5000 NHS patients on our books. We have recently been through a period of building work to expand the practice, including a new decontamination room and extra office space, with the aim of making the practice even more patient-friendly. It was whilst this work was taking place that I decided it would be an opportune moment to upgrade our computer systems and really drive the practice forward.
I learned about THRIVE's business consultancy programme from Software of Excellence at Dental Showcase and was impressed with what I saw. I admit to not being the most computer-literate of people, but I was keen to modernise our systems and was certain that THRIVE could help get the practice running even more efficiently.
We have been using EXACT practice management software from Software of Excellence in the practice for several years, so joining the THRIVE programme was a logical next step for us. We started by analysing our business performance and implementing appropriate procedures to boost our recall performance. This resulted in a marked increase in our recall effectiveness and although the workload did get a little hectic at one point, now all our systems are in place and running smoothly, things are totally manageable.
We have also made important changes to how we interact with patients at reception. The new workflow prompts reception staff to obtain any missing patient details, such as a contact phone number or email address, and ensures the next appointment is booked before the patient leaves the practice. It also indicates to staff any money that may be owing from the patient and payments can be quickly and easily settled there and then, which has really helped to improve our practice cash flow. Importantly, automated reporting allows me to see that the team are getting these tasks completed every time.
We have recently finished the 6-month THRIVE programme and I have to say how much I benefited from the monthly visits from our THRIVE consultant. The meetings, which were held at the practice, helped monitor our progress and showed us how to generate reports that revealed exactly how the business was performing. The most surprising thing that these reports showed was that the practice enjoyed a healthy increase in billable hours in the 6 months during which THRIVE was running. I am impressed by just how much more efficiently the practice is running and how our performance, and consequently our revenue stream, has improved.
Some people assume that a service such as THRIVE is only suitable for the private sector, but I have found it has made us far more efficient as a business, which is essential for a predominately NHS practice such as ours. I am already looking to expand our NHS contract as well as developing my private patients and am committed to making the practice reach its potential in the coming years. I did have some concerns about the initial cost outlay, but in the final analysis THRIVE has helped us to improve our billable hours to such an extent that it has paid for itself, and I would certainly recommend the service.