As you probably know, we’ve been providing dental practices with software since for over 20 years. Over time Pearl has undergone many changes and updates. A few years ago we decided to use our knowledge from PearlPlus to start from scratch. We built Pearl Dental, our new dental software package using programming infrastructure that is resilient and flexible with new technology. We say it’s new -it’s been four years since we began design and two years since our first site was installed but it’s been through a lot.
Below are some of our personal highlights and milestones to the system we thought you might enjoy reading about!
Fingers to Keyboard
Towards the end of 2015 Ben had worked a couple years with Paul (Dad and Pearl Founder), on PearlPlus. They came up with the first outlines of 'new Pearl' (Pearl Dental) together, and upon Paul's well deserved retirement, Ben decided to put fingers to keyboard and get to work.
For those unfamiliar with programming, the process goes a little like this:
Idea -> Code Idea -> Commit Code -> Test Test Test -> Merge Committed Code to Live Version -> Pearl Dental Updates with the New Feature!
A code 'Commit' essentially means you save your code in a centralised area with a description of what it does or the changes you have made to it. Live version refers to the version of the program currently being used by everyone.
Ben's first Commit was on the 27/10/2015 and was labelled 'Initial Commit' (the second was 'Initial Commit Fixes' Ha!). It contained the first bit of logic on data interaction for Pearl Dental.
First Pearl Dental Site and Official Birthday day!
Contrary to what is says in the name, Pearl Dental’s first venture outside our offices wasn’t a dental practice. It was Absolute Health – a health clinic specialising in Osteopathy and Podiatry.
The launch day was a little bumpy – as expected with the first release of a new product. We did four updates that day to fix bugs and unexpected errors. Considering we now average about one a week, it was all hands-on deck.
We were a very lucky to have Richard Baverstock and the team at Absolute Health and not just because of their excellent breathing techniques in times of extreme stress. Richard has previously worked in web design, and became a part-time unofficial software tester for us. He has an excellent knowledge of how to test and record issues within the software, often suggesting the cause of the crash before we’ve had a chance to investigate in code.
Over the first three months Richard wrote up a fifteen-page document covering software crashes, clarifications and feature improvements. Absolute Health helped shape (and stabilise) Pearl into the product it is today!
First Pearl Dental Multi Surgery Site
The Implant Experts
Fast forward six months and Pearl was ready for it’s first multi-surgery private site. Practice owner Ben and practice manager Laura of The Implant Experts booked their upgrade in September of 2017.
The Implant Experts offer a range of treatments including periodontal and facial aesthetics but (as the name suggests) primarily specialise in dental implants. Being a private specialised practice Laura and Ben wanted their software to manage all the usual running of the practice while also showcasing their brand and offering reports that manage their KPIs clearly. The solution? Pearl Dental’s consistent branding across patient facing documents and the Pearl Cockpit for at-a-glance practice statistics.
Ben, Laura and their team at The Implant Experts have had such a positive impact on shaping Pearl Dental into the program you use today. Some of our favourite features they have requested or inspired have been; the implanted tooth imaging on the Perio Charting and the appointment audit trail which is being released this week.
We are very fond of Ben and the team and love seeing them each year at their annual CPD conference in Kent, which is always great presentations, food and lots of CPD hours.
Thanks for choosing Pearl guys!
First Pearl Dental NHS Site
Installing JDRM Westcotes was a huge milestone for Pearl Dental and I think we’re okay to say for Jai and Ruby, owners of JDRM. They’ve used PearlPlus since 2009 at their practice in Coalville and then chose us again 2012 for their second practice. Upon winning an urgent care contract in 2017 they opened five new practices on top of the two they already had.
It goes without saying but expanding to five practices in a relatively short space of time isn’t easy. On top of that Jai and Ruby agreed one of their new sites, Westcotes, to be the first NHS site to use Pearl Dental. Getting Pearl Dental ready for NHS transmission requires a lot of testing to make sure our software talks to the board in the right language to convey the correct message. That being said, you need a real-life practice to truly test your in-house predictions. Practice manager Jess and the team at Westcotes went above and beyond in helping us get it right as quickly as possible. We were able to offer Pearl Dental to all our NHS within two months (see our press release).
Jai and Ruby are very happy with Pearl Dental, having upgraded six of the seven sites (the seventh is due to upgrade in the coming months). “The new cloud-based architecture is a true blessing for us,” says Jai who can remotely manage his sites wherever he is in the world. Plus the system is so much easier to pick up for new staff – which is pretty important when you’ve got a team of 125 people!
First Pearl Ortho Install
We first spoke to Beth, owner of Basingstoke Orthodontics, about upgrading in September of 2018. She was ready to move from PearlPlus to something fresh and new. We could tell she was excited about the new system, but at the time of demo it has one small drawback… No orthodontic features!
‘No problem’ said Beth, ‘we’ll help design it with you!’ For us, a team of programmers and Pearl nerds, having an orthodontist onboard was a dream. Beth and dental nurse Nicola, shaped major features in Pearl Ortho. They also acted as a deadline for completion of the orthodontic features which is such an important motivational tool for the programming team. We managed to meet it too! (Lead programmer Steve deserves a holiday we think).
Besides helping us design the orthodontic side of Pearl, Beth also requested profile pictures for each patient on the patient record to make reception and treatment more personable and we thought this was a great idea! We’ve also added a ‘selfie camera’ for our next tablet upgrade (scheduled for release next month) to make it that much easier for you to get the most out of this feature!
Thank you for your trust and patience Beth, Nicola and the team at Basingstoke Orthodontics. We couldn’t have done it without you!
We’ve had a lot of change over the past two years. Some of you may have noticed new voices on the phone, Charlotte, Troy, Taylor and Jay all joined the team. We knocked down our old office and built a new one to accommodate our growing size. We’ve said goodbye to some amazing long-time clients as they’ve reached their well-deserved retirement but we’ve also met loads of new faces as they’ve taken the leap into practice ownership.
Despite all the change, we’re not quite ready to settle down and plod along quietly. We’re always looking to improve our current service, introduce new features and integrate with new technology as it comes out. In the short term we stick to what we do best, offering great support for our users and preparing Pearl Dental for any government regulation and NHS changes. We won’t say the B word but we’re also bracing ourselves for any unexpected fall out from political decisions made in the coming months.
We’re also working harder than ever to bring new features to you! In the past month we’ve redesigned the filtering so you can now create and save your own filters, introduced searching on clinical notes and improved the interface for tablet users (release in March).
If you’re currently using PearlPlus and want to see what all the fuss about the new Pearl Dental system is, give us a call on 0116 275 9995. We can install a free trial on your computer for you to play around with and talk you through all the benefits of upgrading.
For all our users, we’d like to thank you for all the support you’ve given us over the years! We’re a small independent company so your encouragement and constructive feedback means a lot to every member of the team!