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How one practice changed its communication system and increased productivity.
Before Simplifeye, Dr. Anna Ashley, DDS, PA and her office manager Patricia Valadez had a communication system for the team that worked well-until it didn’t. After Simplifeye, the team had a system that communicated well and worked for the team.
With two full-time hygienists, two full-time assistants and only one doctor, Dr. Ashley was in high demand. The team used a paper card system, color-coded in neon colors for each team member, which they held up in the hallway outside the room where Dr. Ashley was working. The card indicated where the doctor was needed next for a patient.
“If it was urgent, then they would have to hold up a card that said, ‘Room 1, ASAP.’ We lived off of cards when I was working,” she says.
At first, their low-tech system was helpful, but as the practice grew, it became impractical. The team began to fall behind schedule on a regular basis. Furthermore, it was inefficient. The team felt the need to wait outside the room or Dr. Ashley’s office to ensure the doctor knew they needed her. Valadez described the scene as a constant flow of team members up and down the hall.
“If Dr. Ashley was in the middle of something, I would have an assistant or hygienist standing in the hall with the card and shaking it. There are times when the doctor is in the middle of a procedure, and she cannot get up. When someone is there hovering, and you are in the middle of something, it’s more frustrating,” Valadez explains.
“When I was in my office they would come stand and hover in my office or knock on the door,” Dr. Ashley says. “If I was on a phone call, it was intrusive and difficult.”
It was also affecting the practice. Dr. Ashley and Valadez knew it was time to get a new system. “We have been in practice for 18 years. We needed a change. The cards weren’t working, and it was a source of contention among the staff,” Dr. Ashley says.
Dr. Ashley met the Simplifeye team at the Texas Dental Association Meeting. Instinctively, she was drawn to how Simplifeye used consumer technology like Apple Watches and iPhones to improve how the team communicated. She also liked the integration they had with Dentrix, her practice management system, so she decided to “give it a shot.”
Valadez liked how her front office staff members could manage the workflow from their computer.
“For us in the front, it keeps us from having to go to the back to let the team know their patient is here. We use the dashboard on the computers. We click the team member’s page when the patient is in the waiting room. They have the watches, so it instantly alerts them who is here and what they are having done. It’s useful in comparison with what we were doing before,” Valadez says.
Dr. Ashley doesn’t like to be interrupted while working, so she appreciates how the system allows her to complete a task or find a stopping point in a procedure to respond to the team’s needs. “They can page me if I am in a room working or if I am in my office on the phone. That’s been nice because I know I can find a stopping point,” she says.
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One of the biggest surprises for Dr. Ashley was that the learning curve was short. “I wasn’t expecting it to be so easy. I thought there would be a significant learning curve. It wasn’t bad at all. They came in and showed us how to use it, and the girls caught on very quickly,” Dr. Ashley says.
Valadez agrees, saying the team jumped in immediately. “It was simple to use but difficult for everyone to get adjusted. Some still wanted to call her, but I would ask them if they paged her. They hadn’t, so they would run back and page her using the system. It took a couple of weeks to get used to it because it was new,” explains Valadez.
The practice has been using Simplifeye for a year, and already the team finds it indispensable. Dr. Ashley can’t imagine running the practice without it-and the thought of not having it is unimaginable. “I like it that much, and we use it that much,” she says.
Without Simplifeye, Dr. Ashley predicted they would see fewer patients, communicate poorly and produce less revenue. With Simplifeye and Dentrix, they streamline the workflow to accommodate their growth. Moreover, she no longer feels uninformed when she enters the exam room. She taps on the watch, and all the patient information is right there.
“Before I felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants. We do have morning huddles, but you can’t remember everything. So, pulling it up on my watch is amazing,” Dr. Ashley says.
Dr. Ashley says patients feel like they are getting personalized service, which they are because she feels prepared for their appointment. She sometimes shows patients what information about them is available on the watch. “They are impressed that it’s all on my watch. It shows that we are a modern practice using modern technology.”
“Being an office manager, I feel it made our flow a lot better and more efficient than before. I don’t have people running down the halls trying to track down the doctor,” Valadez says.
Dr. Ashley feels valued by the individualized and immediate support she receives when troubleshooting or updating the system. “They know your name, your account. You talk to the same person every time. It’s not like you are shuffled to 10 people.”
Simplifeye’s dedication to improving and adding system features is another aspect Dr. Ashley appreciates. They also own the quality control, so should a problem occur with equipment, Simplifeye switches it out-no questions asked.
“The customer service is fantastic, and in this day and age, I don’t think there’s a lot of great customer service out there. But they have it,” she says.
Valadez appreciates how the practice runs on schedule now and has decreased wait times for the patients. Patients have noticed the difference, too. “When we first started using it, patients said they felt special because the doctor was using technology. They saw that she had invested in her practice,” she says.
Dr. Ashley says few things have changed how she practices dentistry, but Simplifeye is one of them. It has reduced stress, streamlined the patient workflow, and improved efficiency and productivity. For those who are reluctant to adopt new technology, she advises them to be open to it. She recommends embracing the system and learning to use it correctly because teams will love it and wonder how they ever got along without it. “It doesn’t matter if you are straight out of school or in your 70s, it’s an easy thing to do and incorporate into your practice. And it’s better for your patients.”