The implementation of Software of Excellence’s Practice Management Software two months ago has completely transformed operations at Neilson Dental Care, according to principal dentist Alan Neilson.
The Thames, New Zealand, dental professional says he needed a solution to support his move to digital x-ray. However, the SOE solution unlocked a number of other significant operational efficiencies at the same time, including an instant shift to a paperless workflow.
“I initially needed software to support a move to digital x-ray and have all the images connected to patient records,” he says. “However, a number of other fantastic benefits have flowed from this.”
SOE’s EXAMINE PRO Digital Imaging software was the solution that Alan chose to create a seamless digital workflow. It integrates his digital x-ray images into a single database and presents them on the chart screen of SOE’s EXACT Practice Management software.
“We should have done it sooner,” says Alan. “You take a tiny picture in the patient’s mouth and it appears seconds later on a 27-inch monitor. The diagnostic ability is fantastic and it’s so much easier to explain treatment to patients when they can see their teeth at A4 size. Our patients love it.”
He explains that the move to a modern practice management system also gives patients confidence that your practice is up-to-date. “This meets patient expectations that your business is not in the dark ages,” he adds. “We’ve had a very positive patient response.”
Alan explains that the transition from his traditional paper-based system to a modern practice management solution went a lot easier than he expected. “We had two days training and then went live. It was a bit scary, but we went straight to a paperless workflow."
“A week later I was having to do a written quote and realised I didn’t have a pen, because I don’t use one anymore. We made one big jump and it has been absolutely fantastic,” he says. He adds that practices that justify sticking with a paper system by saying “what we’ve got is working” are missing out on significant business benefits.
Another feature of the EXACT system that Alan and his team enjoy is automated recalls, which sends text and email reminders automatically to patients. “It has freed up a lot of staff time,” he says. “We used to ring every patient the night before to confirm their appointment – now we only ring a few who don’t want email or text reminders. Most patients prefer a text, rather than having us ring them.”
EXACT has also increased the accuracy of billing says Alan. “When we were doing everything on cards we would work everything out in our minds before recording it, and we tended to undercharge. Now, the system charges a fee per item and adds it all up at the end. We have actually increased our charge out amount since we started using EXACT,” he adds.
It also helps with quoting, he says. Before, he would explain treatments to patients, but they would often forget by the time they came back in for their follow up appointment. “Now, I enter it all on the system and just click on the icon. By the time they get to the front desk it’s all printed out, ready for them to take away as a reminder of what we discussed.”
Being able to book up to years ahead on EXACT also means that Alan’s patients are committing to their next appointment at the time of leaving, with an automated reminder being sent out just before, to jog their memory. “With the old paperless system you weren’t able to make appointments that far in advance,” says Alan. “You had to wait for the appointment book to be in stock and it would only be for the year ahead.”
Alan uses a perfect example for how user-friendly the EXACT practice management software is. “My mother is 75 and she helps cover on the desk when my wife is away,” he says. “We thought that the introduction of EXACT would be the end of her being able to help.”
“She did the two training days and, while it took her a bit longer to get the hang of it, she loves the new system. Far from retiring, she’s now in at least one day a week and last week she did three days,” he says with a chuckle.
Alan is also very complimentary about the Software of Excellence trainer and support team. “He was fantastic,” says Alan. “He trained us on-site for two days and was with us on the third day when we went live. After that, if we had any problems we just called the Helpdesk, or checked the FAQs and worked through them to find the solution."
“The Helpdesk took over our computers remotely a couple of times and helped us work our way through some small teething problems – the support was excellent.”