Orchard House Dental Practice (OHDP) is a mixed family practice based in Headcorn, Kent. Dental nurse Stacy talks about how Software of Excellence’s (SOE’s) Thrive programme has helped to improve every aspect of how the practice is run, including achieving an increase in practice revenue.
OHDP is a predominantly NHS practice with three surgeries, three dentists, one of whom is in their foundation year, and one hygienist. We have around 4,000 patients on our books, and having already established a very good working relationship with SOE through using Exact, we took the decision to introduce Thrive into the practice at the start of the year, and we haven’t looked back.
Although we knew we were doing fairly well as a business, we soon came to realise that Thrive could offer us the tools to really improve our practice performance. We knew that as a practice management system Exact had an awful lot to offer, we just needed to learn how to utilise it properly.
Our Thrive programme lasted six months and one of SOE’s consultants visited us one day each month to monitor our performance in respect of our KPIs (key performance indicators), and review the previous month’s reports. These reports have proved to be extremely valuable in showing how the practice is performing across all areas and we are continuing to run them on a regular basis since the programme ended.
Increase in revenue
We are delighted to have seen an increase in practice revenue of 15% since we have been using Thrive; it has completely changed our old working processes and given us the push we needed to implement efficient business processes that have significantly impacted our bottom line.
I see this improvement in performance being down to a combination of factors. The automated recall system has been really important because all our recalls are now sent out automatically by email and text message without us having to worry about them, saving a great deal of time for the front desk team.
‘Chairtime utilisation has also increased dramatically because we can now closely monitor our performance and using Thrive we can see where there are gaps in our appointment book.
These gaps are now being filled using the automated short notice and cancellation lists that we had not been utilising effectively in the past. For instance, we now know that at certain times of the day we tend to be a little quiet, usually around the time that schools start and finish. These spaces are great for emergencies and those on the short notice list. We have programmed Exact to automatically send a text message to patients on the list suggesting they can have an appointment on that day. The results are amazing and we are filling spaces quickly.
The automated reminder system has also led to a noticeable reduction in FTAs (failure to attends). We are finding patients respond quickly to text and email reminders, and should they be unable to attend, we are able to again quickly fill those appointments from our short notice list.
Thrive has noticeably improved our practice cash flow and by highlighting our debtors we have been able to greatly reduce the amount of money owing to the practice. Exact has a function that automatically shows reception staff when charges apply, enabling them to ask patients for payments there and then.
An easier working life
The recent recession hit dentistry hard, even those offering NHS treatment. We are starting to see a marked improvement in economic confidence and more patients are coming in for treatments they had previously postponed.
We have also seen an increase in the use of our hygiene services as well as cosmetic treatments. The owner and principal dentist Colette has a special interest in restorative dentistry and Thrive has helped organise her appointment book so she has more time to deal with these kind of cases.
We are delighted with the way that Thrive has improved our practice; it has made everyone’s working life easier.