Case Study - The Full Report
Founded by Dr. Shawn Anderson, Willow Dental is a thriving dental practice with fifteen operatories, four GP’s and several specialists on staff. As his practice grew, Dr. Anderson saw the need to streamline office procedures. In an effort to maintain a high level of office efficiency, he hired a consultant who recommended developing a standard operating procedures manual. The process of writing and implementing this manual was, however, time-consuming and the resulting manual difficult to implement. The three ring binder system was cumbersome to use, resulting in frustration and wasted time. He began to search for a better system.
Common Problems in a Busy Practice
Dentistry is an art. A common challenge in any busy medical practice is the fact that individual doctors have developed their own unique styles and preferences as they work. This variation in practice results in slightly varied expectations for assistants—different set-ups, tools, equipment and procedures. Assistants may find it difficult to anticipate the exact requirements of each doctor, resulting in delays for the dentist and the patient.
In addition, the roles of staff members may not be clearly defined resulting in confusion, overlap of duties, and again, loss of valuable time. Since patients often judge the quality of their experience on efficient customer service, it is extremely important to maintain high levels of efficiency in each procedure.
Training new staff members is another time-consuming challenge in a busy practice. The goal is continuity and clear standards taught in a consistent manner to each and every trainee. Training may be done by different individuals who also have their own style of teaching. When training is haphazard it results in less confident trainees and may lead to errors in management of patient information and set-up for procedures.
The StreamDent Solution
In 2013 Dr. Anderson discovered a program that dramatically changed the way Willow Dental operates. StreamDent is an online service that organizes every procedure, set-up and virtually every patient interaction from start to finish. It is a web-based paperless system that’s easy to use and eliminates dependency on any one employee. Because memorization is not necessary, new staff members are quickly brought up to speed. The program is based on system checklists and scripts using the best practices from across the dental industry. It ensures a consistent standard of care throughout the office. Anderson requested the free online demo, took advantage of the free thirty minute consulting session and went on to fully implement the program.
The entire team at Willow Dental embraced the new program. Staff members found it extremely user-friendly and were able to customize the templates for each procedure to meet the needs of their practice. One staff member reported, “My team uses StreamDent every time, for every procedure. With the StreamDent checklists, we’ve proven they actually save us time.” She likened the program to the protocols used by airline pilots when they carefully go through a checklist to ensure safety.
GP’s successfully used system sheets to reflect their individual requirements for specific instrument set-up resulting in smoother procedures. StreamDent procedure sheets can be as broad or as detailed as the individual GP chooses. The time it took to adapt the templates was minimal and staff members were able to begin using them immediately. Willow Dental teams were able to meet their goal of never leaving the operatory once a procedure had begun.
Another feature of the program is a belief that patients benefit from co-planning their treatment. Using scripts, assistants gather required patient information, lead them through a sequence of questions, and show them images and diagrams of their dental needs to help them better understand necessary care. Patients treated with this level of respect are more satisfied and cooperative in helping to create a treatment plan just right for them.
Dr. Anderson says, “StreamDent provides us the level of consistency needed to maintain the level of patient care we’re all striving for.”
StreamDent’s system teaches dentists and staff to evaluate their daily routines with an eye to upgrading efficiency. They look closely at:
- Instrument management
- New patient processes. They’re able to increase case acceptance numbers with efficient intake methods.
- Room set-up and turnaround
- Delegation of duties. StreamDent teaches ways to make the most of staff member’s abilities.
- Improvement of patient flow. The office is able to care for a larger number of patients per day.
- Increase of productivity and management costs through careful selection of StreamDent’s digital office tools. They’re customized to meet each office’s particular needs.
- New Techniques. StreamDent offers training in new procedures such as sedation dentistry, ozone therapy, as well as botox and dermal fillers.
For those offices wanting to go “paperless,” StreamDent can help them reach that goal. And because the software and systems are stored on the cloud there is no danger of losing data. The office also saves the expense of maintaining the database on a server and the cost of software updates. All these services are included in the StreamDent price. Updates are received instantly throughout the office computer system.
For companies with several dental offices, StreamDent offers discounts based on the number of offices using the program. There is also the “White Label” option in which each office is managed separately. Dental offices may purchase the software to install their own cloud servers then purchase updates as they wish.
Confident Doctors and Staff
Dr. Anderson stated, “Each GP has a little bit different way of doing things. That’s internally built into each StreamDent system sheet so that the team knows when each doctor wants a particular piece of equipment or supplies. When an assistant goes from one doctor to another the process is smooth.”
Another benefit of the program is a marked decrease in stress levels for workers. Every employee has a clear picture of a day’s work. The scripts and protocols are visible and clearly stated. If they are followed exactly and an error occurs, then the office has identified an error in the system, not in the employee’s performance. Even new employees can proceed confidently. The increased efficiency reduces the chances for confusion and errors, creating a more relaxed working environment for all.
The program is beneficial for both large and small offices since it is built on the premise of adaptability. And when changes are made, the system automatically introduces the change to the entire system, once again reducing the chances of error.
The changes translate to all employees including the receptionist. The system offers protocols for all aspects of patient care including taking information over the phone and treating same-day emergency appointments.
Professional Systematic Training
New employees are brought into the StreamDent system quickly and easily. They are able to pull up scripts for various procedures and often learn them before actually receiving any training. Although one never wants employees to read from a script, they can easily be used as a “cheat sheet” as new employees learn the information. They feel more comfortable as they learn and the patients feel comfortable in turn. The program offers the capability of showing photos of trays and tub set-ups, increasing the usability of the program for trainees. Trainees feel supported and develop a high degree of confidence in a shorter training time.
Training “road maps” build consistency into office protocols. The training is reproducible and trainees learn “the right way the first time.” When a new procedure is introduced to the staff, StreamDent makes it possible to add the information and checklists instantly. When employees are asked to pinch hit for another staff member, or when workers are out ill or on vacation, StreamDent ensures that workers step into the new position with ease.
Happy, Well-served Patients
Clients at Willow Dental have given highest praise for the program in their feedback. When waiting times are kept to a minimum, and procedures are designed with the cooperation and thoughtful consent of the client, patients experience top quality care.
In addition, when procedures go off without a hitch—no leaving the operatory to find different pieces of equipment, no errors, but a confident staff caring for them in a timely fashion, the patient feels respected and well-served.
Dr. Anderson recognized the need to streamline office procedures for his growing dental practice. When he found StreamDent and implemented it fully, his office management problems were solved.
Profile of Dr. William J. Moorhead
Dr. William J. Moorhead, DMD, is the founder of StreamDent, a revolutionary program for streamlining dental office practices. Dr. Moorhead has over thirty years of experience in his field and in 2006 developed a completely digital dental practice software using the high-quality procedures and protocols he perfected over the years.
He implemented his new system in his own practice and then fine-tuned it for use in any dental practice wanting to streamline their office procedures. Dr. Moorhead traveled to observe the most talented clinicians in the country as he perfected StreamDent.
Dr. Moorhead offers interactive, leading-edge seminars on clinical efficiency and dental technology. He is an expert in evaluating current procedures and systems. He can guide your team in streamlining daily activities to achieve top clinical efficiency.