Deborah Morris, assistant practice manager from Temple Street Dental Practice, discusses her experience with online booking.
Temple Street Dental Practice is a mixed practice based in Oxford that opened as a squat in June 2012, without a single patient. Assistant practice manager, Deb Morris, tells how, despite a tough economic climate, the practice has flourished, thanks in part to the unprecedented success of Exact’s online booking system.
‘I transferred here from our sister practice – Studental. It was largely due to the positive experience with online booking we had enjoyed at Studental that encouraged us to replicate the system at Temple Street.
‘The practice itself is located on a small side street, off a busy road offering little opportunity to attract walk-in patients. The online booking facility really came into its own when we started moving up the Google search engines.’
Easy for patients
‘Our website permits all new patients to book an initial consultation online, enabling prospective patients to choose their own appointment at a time that suits them. We have a range of services that can be booked online and via Exact we configure how long each appointment will be.
‘Exact has proved so efficient that we have stopped our policy of booking six monthly check-ups in the practice before patients leave, as we found that using this process our failing to attend (FTA) rates were quite high. Now we simply run our recalls electronically with a link to our online booking portal and our FTA rate has dropped significantly.
‘Our recall system is now fully automated through Exact and this has alleviated pressure on reception, giving us the opportunity to become much more customer-focused.
‘The numbers for new patient online bookings are now generally around 200/220 a month, the majority of whom are NHS. When booking online via our website there are two tabs for the patient to choose between NHS and private clinicians – it is a very easy and straightforward system.’
‘In my opinion the success of online booking can be mainly attributed to its convenience. Patients can book at a time that suits them; we have found that 54% of our patients book appointments out of surgery hours.
‘One of the great features of Exact is that it gives us a clear report on how the practice is performing. This enables me to see how many of our new patients are coming via the online booking portal, what time of the day they are making appointments and whether or not this is out of hours. And so far our results are outstanding with patient numbers growing enormously in two years, from zero to approximately 3,000.
Value for money
‘If anyone is asking the question: “Is online booking value for money?” I would say: “Very much so”. All I can do is sing its praises and I really can’t think of a reason why people wouldn’t use it. I would say that online booking is the best investment a practice can make – the results are clear and the figures speak for themselves.’
For more information on online booking contact Software of Excellence on 0845 345 567, email [email protected] or visit www.softwareofexcellence.