Kiroku – automating and saving you time with your dental notes

Dentistry speaks to Hannah Burrow, co-founder and CEO of Kiroku, about the automated clinical note taking solution and how it can help save clinicians time.

Can you please introduce yourself and give us your background?

I’m Hannah, one of the founders of Kiroku, alongside Jay, my co-founder. 

My background was in dentistry. I graduated about eight years ago from Bristol Dental School, did my vocation training in central London, my DCT at Barts and London. 

Then I went into practice for a very short period of time. I soon started exploring how technology could be applied to make some of the inefficiencies in dentistry a little bit better. 

I couldn’t really wrap my head around how much of my time was spent staring at a screen doing really repetitive paperwork. That’s what started me on the road to Kiroku. 

What is Kiroku? What do you do and what product do you offer?

We are a software company for dentists which helps automate record keeping. It makes that entire process far more seamless for both the dentist and the patient as well. 

Our product uses AI to recognise patterns in what you’re doing. It then makes intelligent suggestions based on that. 

It’s a huge time saver. We reduce the time spent on record keeping by two-thirds. But interestingly, our dentists actually just described the fact that they can actually concentrate on their patient and what the patient is saying. 

Kiroku actually provides this structure to go through their appointments so they’re not forgetting things. 

It’s outputting these intelligent suggestions and quite often acting as a prompt, a reminder that you’re not forgetting things. Particularly when there’s a lot going on at an appointment. 

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One of the things that people might worry about is how compliant they remain with these notes. What can you say on that?

We can say that actually our dentists report their notes are significantly more thorough when they’re using Kiroku. 

It’s outputting all of this information into their notes based on what they’re historically doing.  

As a dentist, I will quite often give the exact same spiel on what perio is, for example, over and over again. I might make minor adjustments depending on certain things, but largely I’m using the same language. 

I’m using the same language to then type that up into my notes. But quite often, because we’re so rushed, you either have to prioritise giving the information to the patient or writing it up. 

What dentists are doing is they’re prioritising providing really good quality care. 

Are they always capturing that they’ve said all of those things in their notes? Perhaps not because they just don’t have the time. 

What Kiroku is doing is it allows them to focus on actually providing that care. 

It is just populating and cascading information into the parts of the notes that they are doing over and over again. It’s just helping automate their recording. 

Some practices might feel that this is just another expense. It’s another service that they have to offer to their clinicians. Is there a return on investment for Kiroku?

Absolutely. Kiroku costs about £25 per clinician per month, which like you say is an extra expense. 

We don’t shy away from that. But ultimately, it comes down to how much the dentist values their own time. A dentist’s time is extremely valuable. 

If you can save them a proportion of time that’s spent doing really repetitive work, then they can actually either go home on time, they can see more patients. 

The time that we are saving per day is about half an hour per dentist per day. If you calculate what you can do with that additional time, conservatively a dentist can make an additional £25K a year. 

Then £25 a month becomes a very tiny drop in the ocean in terms of a return on investment. 

But it’s also the important thing of peace of mind, which is probably harder to quantify. It’s knowing they don’t have to go home worrying about what they’ve included in notes because everything is there. I would argue that’s even more valuabe. I would pay more to have that peace of mind.

Hannah Burrow, co-founder of Kiroku
Hannah Burrow, co-founder of Kiroku

Automated notes have been a dream for many clinicians. Up to now they haven’t quite worked. What is it about Kiroku that makes it so unique?

Our approach has been quite different. 

Kiroku is about four years old. But the product that people know and love is only two years old. It’s because we were focusing on voice technology for a for a period of time. 

Before that, we could generate the notes listening to conversations. The challenge that we overlooked was actually how difficult it would be to get good quality audio in a dental clinical environment. That has been one approach that that many companies have taken and that’s why it’s been so hard to progress. 

Changing our approach, as we did about two years ago, has helped massively. 

In terms of why we’ve been able to have success so far, there are two main things. 

I would say first is, I can’t tell you how much we prioritise what our customers tell us. We are constantly listening to dentists, and we’re constantly changing our product based on that. 

Then I think the thing is providing further evolution over time with the data and how we can apply that. It’s just learning more and more about what each individual dentist is doing and then optimising their template based on that. 

We’ve had a million appointments go through Kiroku systems. That just gives you an overview of the depth of information we have. 

There are two types of people. Those that embrace new technology, and those that shy away from it. Kiroku is new technology. What kind of support do you offer to people and how easy is it to use?

Including anything new in your work workflow is going to be difficult. You need to adjust to a new process. That’s made even more difficult when you consider how busy dentists actually are. 

They’re extremely time poor people, which is, actually ironically, why Kiroku is so helpful for them. 

That said, I think this is such a big problem for dentists that they are very willing. They are desperate for a solution and therefore able to overcome that challenge of trying something new. 

I wouldn’t say there’s just two types of people. I think they’re the two ends of the spectrum and there’s everyone in between. 

The people who will have picked up Kiroku earlier will have been those early adopters. 

Gradually, as we’re growing, we’re getting to that point where a lot of dentists have now heard of Kiroku through friends. 

There’s more of an impetus, because there’s lots of people that they trust and respect who have had a good experience with it.  

Of course, the more we kind of get along that spectrum to people who don’t like engaging with new technology, they will require more hand holding. This leads me on to the to your next part of the question, which is the support we provide. 

That is something that we really pride ourselves on at Kiroku because our support is always provided by a dentist. There’s always dentists on the team. We’re here all working hours, we actually quite often reply on weekends and in evenings as well. 

But if there’s any queries that our dentists have, they can just message us through an instant messenger and we will be there. 

If they prefer being on a call, they send us their number and we’ll jump on a call with them or jump on a video call with them. 

But we really are here to do what we can. 

Is there anything else that you wanted to highlight about Kiroku?

This doesn’t need to be a practice-wide decision because it runs in Google Chrome. 

It works alongside any dental practice management software. You as an individual dentist can make the decision to give this a go and we try to make that as easy as possible. 

When you sign up for Kiroku you can have a free month trial so you can play around with it and find if this is something that works effectively for you. 

If it is fantastic, great. If it’s not, absolutely nothing lost in giving it a go. 

The other thing I’d say is there’s also no tie in contractually. We don’t tie you in for a year or anything like that. It’s monthly rolling.

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