Few clinics can boast the same history as Centennial Dental in Kamloops British Columbia. When founded by Dr. Takahashi nearly 40 years ago, it was the only place where a resident of Kamloops could receive dental implants. Otherwise focusing on general dentistry with 2 chairs for hygiene and 2 for production, Centennial Dental has served as a reliable staple for excellent oral care in the community.
Back in 2009, it came time to modernize. The team was tasked with bringing technology into the business. Knowing they were no longer the only implant game in town, they focused on improving their processes, asking tough questions about what was working day-to-day, and what needed help.
Their scheduler was the most obvious first step.
“We were still using the paper appointment book back then […] To be able to move appointments around instantly, it just made it simple.”
While software was already in use around the office to handle billing, it lacked an effective scheduler. Using a paper appointment book made sense back when personal computers were a relatively new concept, but it had become a frustrating, tedious exercise while planning up to a year of appointments in advance. For front desk staff, it was an obvious update that was clearly needed. Seeking advice from another practice that had already ditched their paper scheduler for ClearDent, staff became interested in making the leap. Now, over 10 years from when they made the leap, everyone at the front desk still appreciates how streamlined these tasks have become.
As patient records were moved from clipboards, file folders, and binders to local servers connected to computers in the practice, other time savings became instantly apparent. Organizing and retrieving records became a thing of the past once all patients were added to ClearDent’s secure local server. Now they could instantly update charts, and pull all relevant info without leaving their patient’s side.
“You think about having to go into everyone’s chart physically – You save a good five, ten minutes on each chart.”
This also came in hand with a greater sense of confidence. Medical alerts related to history and tracked medication are prominently displayed, removing any second guessing about the best course of action. Collecting everything that went into a patient’s care in one location meant a single source of information – one that could remind the front office about overdue insurance and automatically connect the dots between a thriving business and excellent patient care.
It’s something patients started noticing, too.
Previous billing software was leaving patients confused about what was going on with their insurance with documents that could be difficult to read. It was the choice to move towards an all-in-one software solution that synced statements with patient records that made such a difference. Gone were the days of cross-referencing between billing software and paper files. Now, clear and concise statements, claims, and even COVID questionnaires are being emailed instantly – something about 70% of patients prefer and even find wonderful, despite a sometimes older demographic.
Bringing those enthusiastic patients back in for a recall has gone from a grind in the clinic to automatic recommendations that help the practice better understand the frequency of their patient’s care.
“It has helped to bring patients that haven’t been in for maybe a year and a half.”
As the team looks forward into the future, they’re ready to embrace more digital solutions, especially ones that continue to streamline the processes of the office.