30 Jan Bridgend Dental Surgery
Pearl manages the complete patient journey:
Bridgend Dental Surgery is located in South Wales. The owners (Colin Rees and Zoe Clarke) have a second practice in the nearby town of Blackwood, a few miles to the North East, and were introduced to Pearl dental practice management software (from BHA Software Ltd) when they bought that business in November 2014. Blackwood provides a mix of NHS and private treatments as well as being a referral practice for minor oral surgery and offering NHS domiciliary care. On taking ownership, Zoe and Colin expanded the use of Pearl to improve the practice workflow.
In April 2016 Colin and Zoe expanded their business with a private clinic in Bridgend. The location takes advantage of good links to the M4 motorway, drawing patients from Neath and Port Talbot to the West, and Cardiff to the East. They implemented Pearl as the dental practice management software at their new clinic as well.
While Blackwood continues to use the established PearlPlus software, Bridgend has recently become a Beta tester for the latest version, PearlDental, where its improved patient and appointment management capabilities have been put to full use.
The front line of patient care
“The receptionist is the person a patient meets when they arrive at the practice, and usually the first contact they have when they book an appointment,” says Natalie, Receptionist. “Not only do we need to look attentive and welcoming, we need a system that helps us deal efficiently and effectively with each patient. If we were in a flap or couldn’t find details of their appointment it would hardly put them at their ease, would it? Pearl is brilliant at giving us all the information we need. The screen is clear, and navigating around the system is logical and easy.”
“For me, our dental practice management software has to be good at managing appointments,” says Natalie. “I’m new to dentistry having previously worked in customer facing roles. I’ve been told by various nurses and dentists that this system is great for dentists, or that system is great for nurses, but I think that any system has actually got to be good for the patient. Every aspect has to work seamlessly together. People refer to ‘the patient journey’ and I think Pearl helps make that journey as smooth as possible. Information flows with the patient. From reception to the nurse to the dentist and back again. Every aspect fits together.”
As you would expect, Pearl also delivers all the information that nurses need to set-up their surgery, and provides the support dentists need to recommend and deliver the best course of treatment. This includes interfaces to the latest imaging systems and on-site appliance manufacturing systems. Patient information securely flows from workstation to workstation in a way that every member of staff can access the details they need while ensuring the patient’s privacy.
Information flows include reminders with options to send by text, email, letter or ‘phone. “90% of our patients are happy to receive a reminder by text message,” says Natalie. “But Pearl provides loads of options, and you can automate reminders, send them manually or mix both approaches.”
At Bridgend Dental Surgery, the team try to book appointments after a patient has received their treatment and before they leave the premises. This makes good sense from a planning perspective, as well as patient retention. However, confirmation and reminder options are even more important using this approach, and Pearl’s flexibility helps Natalie deliver very low failure to attend (FTA) rates. And if the patient doesn’t book before leaving, the system produces a recall letter on the appropriate date.
“We’re trying to become paper free,” says Natalie. “But I think about 10% of patients will always want their letter and appointment cards on paper, so we can do that for them too.”
As the dentist or hygienist completes a treatment, Pearl sends billing details to the front desk ensuring that Natalie has the details before she speaks to the patient. “Paying for dental treatment can be the most painful part of the visit,” she recognises. “The last thing a patient wants is for me to be keeping them waiting while I work out what to charge them. However, with Pearl all the information is there for me every time.”
Ease of use and support
“One thing that’s important to us is the system has to be intuitive for everyone. That makes it easy to learn and improves the accuracy of the information people enter into it,” says Natalie. “This is where Pearl shines. Everyone can understand it very quickly. And although you can move around the system easily, it only shows you the information you need for that task.”
When Bridgend Dental Surgery upgraded to PearlDental the team were already familiar with basic concepts from the the earlier version. A half-day on-site training session was all that Natalie and her colleagues needed to make the transition. “Pearl has always been quick and easy to learn and use,” comments Natalie. “We needed to put a bit of effort into learning the new system, but it is even more flexible. That makes it even quicker and easier to use. And if anything goes wrong or we have a situation we haven’t come across before, everyone at BHA Software is happy to help and can usually get us going again in just a few minutes.”
For more information on the latest version of Pearl, including the roadmap for rolling it out to users, please go to the contact us page.
About the business
Colin and Zoe run two practices. A mixed NHS and private practice at Blackwood, and a private only practice in Bridgend.
About the Blackwood practice
- 3 dentists
- 6 oral surgeons
- 4 nurses
- 1 hygienist
- 1 receptionist
171a High St
About the Bridgend practice
- 2 dentists
- 2 nurses
- 1 trainee nurse
- 1 receptionist
- Approximately 700 patients
Bridgend Dental Surgery
Unit 9a Bank Buildings
Bridgend Industrial Estate