21 Sep Church Street Dental Surgery
Church Street Dental Surgery, Sutton-on-Hull
Church Street Dental Surgery serves just over 3,000 National Health Service (NHS) patients in Sutton-on-Hull, a suburb on the eastern edge of the city of Kingston-upon-Hull in Yorkshire’s East Riding. Its principal dentist, Colin Langley, first started practising there as a vocational trainee in 1995. He bought the practice in 2004 when the previous owner retired.
During 2006 Colin started thinking about switching from a paper-based to a computerised system. “I read an article about a practice which really struggled for six months or so when their paper based diary went missing. The dentist and staff described a nightmare situation where they didn’t know who was booked in, and when. This also made future diary bookings difficult since they were not sure if the time slot was already taken” he says. “That made me think. Clearly a computer system would be more secure and would hold a back-up.”
UDA tracking and reporting
The introduction of the NHS Unit of Dental Activity (UDA) system sealed the decision, so he started to consider which system to buy. Colin was introduced to BHA Software, developers of the Pearl series of products, and installed his first computerised practice management system shortly afterwards. He explained that the transition from paper to a computer based system was very smooth – the whole process including software installation and staff training took just one afternoon.
“Pearl is very good at managing UDA reporting, providing instant reports of UDA totals both sent and scheduled,” he says. “They understand that they need to produce a system which is easy to use, reliable and accurate, and this is what they have achieved.”
Genuinely agile development processes
Pearl’s software development process is genuinely agile, not just one that uses trendy development methodologies. Product development cycles are therefore short, and responsive to changing customer needs.
This point was best illustrated during an NHS pilot project that Colin took part in. “I called BHA Software one morning and described the new functionality required for part of the pilot. Incredibly, I had working code on my system later that afternoon,” he explains. “In contrast, someone else I know had to get hold of a developer in New Zealand and was waiting weeks for something that worked. All I had to do was make a call to the BHA guys in Leicester.”
Agility of development is not the only way that the Pearl system is supported. He also cites the single-tier support process that gives direct access to developers and analysts. This means that problems and questions can be dealt with quickly and without fuss. “I can often connect BHA to my PC via the highly secure remote support feature and leave them to get on with it,” he says. “Otherwise they exhibit extreme patience as they talk me through the solution, even if it’s needed because I’ve made a silly mistake.”
Wish List is a win-win
Another impressive idea that customers love is a product development process that makes use of the specialist knowledge of dentists and dental nurses. If a user sees the need for a change or addition to the software they can submit their idea to a ‘wish list’. BHA Software then evaluate the idea and add it to plans for upcoming software releases. “The Pearl team have got fantastic knowledge of dentistry and the requirements it makes of a system, but they always listen to the people using their software every day,” he says. “The wish-list is a real win-win for developer and user.”
When asked for a list of his favourite features in Pearl dental software, Colin struggles to keep it short; ease-of-use, a great diary and a logical and straightforward layout eventually come top.
“It’s easy to learn for new staff and extremely reliable, because there’s nothing in it that doesn’t need to be there,” he explains. But he also returns to the system’s UDA tracking and reporting accuracy. This even includes fail-over processes to manage potential problems should the NHS server be unavailable.
Outstanding, friendly support
Asked to summarise, Colin Langley says; “The best thing about Pearl is the outstanding, friendly support that’s available immediately it’s needed. The team not only sorts out any issues with their software, but every part of the system that impacts our use of it; they never just tell you it’s someone else’s fault. That’s what you need when you’re trying to run a busy practice.”
The practice in brief
Church Street Dental Surgery
104 Church St
Hull HU7 4TD
Tel: 01482 799888
Owner / principal dentist: Colin Langley
Staff : 1 dentist, 5 nurses and receptionists
Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 9:00am-5:00pm
Pearl user since 30th November 2006
For more information, please call 0116 275 9995 or go to our ‘Contact Us’ page.