In 2001 Mark Woodger started at Birchwood Dental Practice undertaking his vocational training. In fact Mark enjoyed it so much that he became a partner and now runs the practice, along with Alison Lambert, striving for the best, patient care he and his team can provide. Birchwood is an exceptionally busy, mainly NHS practice that cares for a diverse community of local residents and commuters who work nearby.
Reporting and access to information is greatly valued at Birchwood Dental as it enables efficient management of the appointment book and tasks such as paying associates and submitting high volumes of UDAs. Mark and the team believe that the best tools, combined with the best people, creates the highest levels of patient care.
The challenge at Birchwood really boiled down to time and flexibility. Common practice management tasks like producing reports, running recalls, backing-up data and updating software required staff to allocate chunks of their schedule that could have been better spent on patient care.
“Because we work with such a large database, it was taking a long time to gather the reports we needed from our data, even with our powerful server. If I wanted to see who was due a recall it could take 25 minutes to get that information, which put pressure on my schedule”
Mark notes that the problem lay with the proprietary database architecture of the software that is traditionally used by practices that performs much more slowly compared to modern systems like Dentally. What Mark wanted was something that allowed him to effectively manage the practice in opportunistic spaces in the session, such as while the nurse was cleaning the surgery, instead of having to stay behind at the end of the day.
With a young family Mark didn’t want to miss out on that precious time in the evening. His existing solution was too inflexible dictating where and when he should manage his practice.
Mark turned to Dentally to help overcome these challenges. After switching to Dentally, Mark was able to utilise small spaces in between patients to run essential tasks like recalls.
“On occasion patients have to cancel long appointments at short notice. On spotting these spaces I can easily send overdue patients a text or email allowing that appointment to be used effectively.”
Dentally’s recall reports run in less than second, quickly giving you a list of patients that you can easily send an SMS reminder to straight from Dentally. This quick job in between patients saved the practice from missing UDAs due to empty chair time.
Dentally makes running your recalls a breeze so you can fill up your appointment book without hassle
“I used to set the recall report going then go make a cup of tea, now with Dentally the report is finished before I can even get to the kitchen!”.
Mark was initially attracted to Dentally due to it’s speed and removal of the need to manage your own server, data backups and upgrades. However as the product continually develops he has come to appreciate the improvements to the user interface and ease of use.
Since using Dentally Mark has been able to take advantage of being able to run his practice from anywhere. Mark can use Dentally from home in the evening after his daughter has gone to bed so he doesn’t miss out on what’s important in life.
Through a combination of lightning fast reporting and streamlined workflows Mark manages to fit the management of his practice in the gaps in his schedule rather than missing out on being with his patients. For those longer tasks that just can’t be completed in the day, the flexibility of having Dentally in the cloud has enabled Mark to work from home fitting work around life, rather than having to plan life around work.
Mark has been using Dentally for some time now. We went back to him for an update to see how he’s been getting on.
Mark has found it has revolutionised his practice. NHS submission is one of the most important things in his practice so he is delighted with how submissions work in Dentally. The form is laid out in an easy-to-understand manner and this saves him valuable time in the surgery. He also likes that if there is an issue with the submission that he receives a notification from the software and is easily able to edit it.
“With other systems you wait for a few weeks and batch submit your cliams. If there is an error you then have to search through the entire batch to find the error. Not so with Dentally, each claim is submitted at the end of the course of treatment and in the rare circumstance where there is an issue with my claim, I am notified by Dentally and am easily able to rectify the issue.”
The user interface means that it is very easy to train new team members. They tell him that it is intuitive and he laughed as he mentions that he was able to train even his most technophobic staff to perform difficult tasks after a short time.
As Mark notes, the Dentally team is very approachable. He sees it as one of the most beneficial things about using the system. Improvements he has suggested have been taken on board and implemented. He is also delighted with how (the very few) bugs he has found are dealt with - he told us of a bug and within a couple of hours the bug was fixed.
“This is one of the great benefits of having a dynamic product on the cloud. Whereas in other dental software companies you would be waiting weeks for them to fix a bug, In Dentally it is often just a few hours.”
Mark can have a hands-off approach to the software. No more waiting around for the in-practice server to rebuild the database. No longer being the de-facto IT technician has helped Mark organise his work life around his personal life instead of the other way around. The support that Dentally gives allows him to get on with his work, his associates no longer need to find him to resolve issues, they’re solving issues on their own or using in-app support so the Dentally support team can help.
Mark loves how often that Dentally improves. The user journey from adding a patient to booking an appointment, treatment and paymnet has improved dramatically since he first came onto the system. There are often multiple improvements a week and all he has to do is refresh his browser for these updates to take effect.
Adding to the quality of care he provides to his patients has been a real benefit - Adding new features such as the postcode finder means that every patient’s address is now correct, making contacting the patient easier and saving reception hours a week. The notifications that Dentally sends out are also really helpful - if there are changes to the NHS or NHS downtime he knows that he doesn’t have to read about it, Dentally will send him in-app notifications about any interruptions.
Overall, Mark feels that Dentally really cares about the practitioners working lives. With his practice, making the NHS easier to navigate has made his entire practice easier to manage.
“The Dentally attitude is ‘We work hard to make practitioners lives easier’”
A custom-built premises built in 1985, Birchwood Dental is an extremely forward thinking practice that puts patient care at the centre of its mission. It is a strong belief at the practice that the right team needs the right tools to enable the team to focus on the patients rather than technology.