Getting your practice FIT for 2016 – the power of automation

shutterstock_262707608Rebecca Lyon, Software of Excellence’s UK feature implementation and internal sales manager, discusses how automation is changing a profession.

Our desire to develop an automated solution was driven by our work with practices, from which we had developed a growing understanding of the pain associated with many of the time-consuming administrative tasks undertaken by reception teams. The struggle to send recalls once a month to large numbers of patients, using a multitude of methods, was causing inefficiency, stress and in some cases a poor patient experience. The ‘pain’ was being exacerbated by phone lines ringing non-stop as a result of the deluge of patients wanting to book appointments in answer to their recall.

We resolved to find a solution for our customers and undertook work with several hundred practices. The results we achieved gave us confidence as to just how far the automation of practice systems could improve performance.

Online booking

The introduction of online booking is a positive example of how automation eases the administrative burden on the practice and puts patients themselves in control of the time and place they choose to make their appointment. The growing popularity of this system is illustrated by the fact that almost half (45%) of appointments booked online are now booked out of practice hours.

We quickly recognised the potential of automation and used our research findings as the basis for building automated functions into Exact V11. Now, everyday tasks such as recalls, reminders, management of the practice diary and short notice cancellation lists are managed by an automated process, which is not reliant on personal intervention.


Educating practice teams has played an important part in the success of automation and has encouraged a sense of trust in the system. In-depth training on all aspects of practice management is now readily available and ensures that such systems are being utilised to their full capabilities.

To support this implementation programme we have created FIT (feature implementation team), which comprises SMS specialists; recall specialists, online booking specialists and Easypost specialists, with each specialist responsible for setting up the automated systems and taking practices through the initial learning stage.

The philosophy of automation is core to the success of our customers’ businesses, helping them to run more efficient dental practices and improve the patient experience. The result is that they now appreciate the benefits of automation, not only for what it delivers in itself but also for the impact its use has on revenue and profitability.

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