Barnfield Dental Studio

Located in a leafy lane just off Exeter city centre, Barnfield Dental Studio is an award-winning mixed dental practice; co-owned by husband and wife team of dentists. Follow Dalene Theunissen and husband Ruan Kriel's journey as they embark on making the switch to Software of Excellence and begin their journey to greatness


chair-time utilisation

FTA rate


chair-time utilisation

reduction in un-booked time

debt reduction


new patients

workflow compliance

FTA rate


increase in private revenue

FTA rate

debt reduction


FTA rate

new patients

reduction in un-booked time


decrease in SNCs

reduction in un-booked time

increase in utilisation


workflow compliance

All KPIs

increase in billable hours


Google Reviews

chair-time utilisation

un-booked time


increase in private revenue

increase in recall effectiveness


chair-time utilisation

un-booked time

FTA rate


workflow compliance

short notice cancellations

increase in average hourly earnings

Month 11 - The success of our tooth whitening campaign!


A couple of months ago we begun a marketing campaign around tooth whitening. We started off with emails and have had some fantastic results - it was a resounding success!

•    39 tooth whitening appointments booked directly from the email campaign
•    Comparing the costs of the campaign to the additional revenue from patients targeted directly, we made an additional £91 to every £1 spent

…And we didn’t put up any posters in the practice because we wanted to see how effective the campaign would be on its own. In future, we will enhance it further by having posters on display.




Month 11 – Still needing a focus on cancellations


Short notice cancellations are still an issue and the problem seems to coincide with when the diaries are very full. When we have a lot of choice or availability, patients are less keen to use this option. I am trying to motivate my reception staff to use this regardless so will be keeping a very close eye on this with my customer success consultant Andrew.


Month 10 - Hitting 91.4% chair-time utilisation!


We’ve hit 91.4% chair-time utilisation! How did we get there? Short notice cancellation book!!! We love it. It is such a great tool and patients love it too.
Easy for reception because they just click on the open slot in the diary and then send a text block out to all suitable patients for the allocated slot. The first patient to reply to the text by saying ‘book’, will then automatically be booked in and receive a text confirmation…

There was some ambiguity and confusion with the first few texts which went out, and we did have to change the wording on the initial text to remind patients that they have to wait for the confirmation before the appointment is guaranteed, but with a bit of testing we now have it perfected!


Month 10 – Close to the end of our challenge


Well, it is month 10!!! Moving to EXACT has been the single biggest and best change we have made to the practice in the last few years. I would like to focus on further practice management skills in the system and utilising the marketing campaign tools going forward


Month 9 - Our Saturday training session


On Saturday we held a training session as really needed to ensure everyone was using the software correctly. It went really well and the feedback was promising from the reception staff. They were all enthusiastic to increase the productivity with using the system as effectively as possible. We spoke about creating uniformity in our approach (most of my reception staff are part time) and we also gave job specific tasks to each receptionist.



Month 9 – Needing a focus on SNC’s


On this month’s call with Andrew we discussed how cancellations are now the single biggest loss of time in the appointment books and as such a real push is needed to ensure Utilisation Manager is being put into place in a timely manner. Cancellations are an inevitable occurrence in any practice… however, we need to effectively fill those gaps. So we need to try and motivate patients not to cancel at short notice and also utilise the short notice cancellation book going forward. 


Month 9 – The power of automated recalls


Patients are now motivated to book their exams in advance since we have such a good automatic recall system in place… Even though they might not know what they will be doing 6 months ahead, the reminder system sends them an email 4 weeks before the due appointment, a week before again, and then a text message 2 days before. Thus, the patient has plenty of time to reschedule if the appointment no longer suits. The big plus, is that we only pay for the cost of the text. Most patients tend to rearrange their appointment by the time they receive the first email which then gives us plenty of time to fill that slot again.

The main challenge for me was to explain this process to reception to encourage them to keep taking contact details such as emails and up to date mobile numbers from patients. After 9 months in this process, they could start seeing the benefits of their hard work and this motivated them even more to stay on top of this.


Month 9 - Hitting our NHS contract!


We have been using Software of Excellence for 9 months now so the worst of the teething pains have gone! We ended our NHS financial year on the best terms ever. We noticed at the beginning of the month that we were going to go over our target and discussed it with the associates to try and minimise this. In the end, one or two associates decided to have a few days extra holiday (which they were ecstatic about) and we ended our contract within 0.2% of the contracted value.


Meet the team!


A few pictures of the Barnfield Dental Studio team having fun and raising money for some great charity events!

Good 2 Great Barnfield



Month 8 - Introducing patient marketing


We have recently invested in SOE's campaign plus which is their marketing package. The lovely things is, that you can have it completely personalised to your needs and set up to run automatically. We are mostly a family run practice and I believe we will scare our existing clientele if we campaigned too heavily.... So we have decided to set it up so that all our NHS patients will receive a happy birthday email. All our private patients will receive a happy birthday postcard with a free hygiene session for themselves and for an unregistered friend.


Month 8 - Three 5* reviews in two days!


For the 1st time ever we have been able to increase our Google reviews! Previously we had not had any reviews left over the past 6 months even though we asked for reviews in the practice and even personally phoned to request.

Within two days of setting up automatic reviews with Online Reputation Manager we had three 5 star Google reviews!!! How marvellous! And even better, we don't have to do anything. We had it set up by Reputation Manager so that our patients will only receive a request once a year (we do not want to harass our lovely patients) and we also have the ability to manually switch it off in a patient's file if they should wish not to receive email correspondence of that nature!

I can't tell you how thrilled I am....


Month 7 - General catch-up...


Now that we are maintaining the UDA target and delegated more responsibility to the clinicians to maintain their own NHS list, we have freed up a lot of time to work on increasing the private revenue and patient experience.

We have also introduced the automated patient check in service for patients it was a very easy integration into SOE.

The previous 6 months have been challenging to say the least, BUT, and this is a big but, SOE has surpassed my expectations with everything it can do. We are really trying to use the system to it’s fullest capacity and it is a lot to learn in 6 months but so worth it!


Month 7 - Our first marketing campaign!


Very excited about Campaign +… seems to be an extremely easy and cost effective way of personalising our marketing contact and awareness with patients. Really looking forward to seeing what the impact will be. Implementation planned for April time! Everyone really on board now with using workflow but we have decided to have monthly training sessions with reception to make sure we are always on the same page (using the system correctly and trying to learn about all the various short cuts from each other. Session booked for mid March! Will keep you posted.)

campaign example


Month 6 - Online reviews


We have started to notice that we are getting a lot of reviews on kiosk but the patients did not necessarily post the reviews when they were contacted via email afterwards. We spoke to the SOE team about reputation manager (who were very helpful!) and we are in the process of automating the review system (in other words, when a patient has been in for an exam, they will automatically get an email to ask them to post a review without us getting involved in it during surgery/ reception time). However, we are setting this up so that they will only be asked once a year to post a review for us so that it does not seem like we harass them. We are hoping that more reviews will directly be posted online; specifically google to enhance our online profile.


Month 5 - Focussing on short notice lists


We recently started to notice that perhaps we were not using the follow up list effectively. We have been shown how to use it again and it has made a massive difference in how we could best stay on top of contacting patients when they wanted to be contacted. We have also made it job specific; in other words, it will be the responsibility of specific receptionists on specific days to check:  follow up list, appointment list, short notice list, online booking list, cancellation list and make sure that dentist have sent out FTA letters for previous day

We have also had a big uptake of new patients which is great! I do believe the reputation manager and further word of mouth is helping with this aspect.


Month 4 - Team focus on workflow compliance


4 months into the programme and we’re now looking at ‘fine tuning’. Most of the staff have started to get the ‘hang’ of the new system and we can now see our increase in private revenue and also the reduction in debt and FTA’s.

We had a little reception meeting to talk about how individuals use the system and what works for them so that we could all take tips from each other. We discussed the changes we needed to make in bookings and using the work flow so that it will be more of a true reflection of the management of the practice. The reception staff were all enthusiastic because they could see the benefits of the new system starting to work. They especially liked the fact that they can email or text a patient directly from the patient’s file and found it to be a great attribute with a much better ‘paper trail’ of patient communication.

The plan is now to embark on the marketing aspects and we have booked for a discussion in December.


Month 3 - Jumped to page 1 on Google!


An issue which has concerned me was being on page three of google search! We have now set up reputation manager…

This gives us the opportunity to get reviews on our iPads from patients at reception or in surgery and then an email will then be sent to the patient to ask them if they will post it on either Facebook, NHS choices or Google… The system is still a work in progress but I am happy to say that we have jumped to page 1 of google search within a month of using the reputation manager.


Month 3 - Setting FTA target to under 4%


Because of the robust reminder system (email reminder and text message reminder), it means that our FTA rate has started to reduce gradually. Unfortunately, a system is only as good as the DATA you input, so since our patient details were not up to date everywhere, it has meant that the reminders could not work quite as well as it is intended to.

But we have set our target for updating all mobile phone numbers and email addresses to enable more effective (and cheaper) reminders and recalls.


Month 3 - Managing our UDA's


We’re now half way through our financial NHS year and need to make sure that we’re staying on target. We have discovered that there are various great features which can give you an idea of how many UDA’s still need to be performed per clinician for the hours booked according to the diary. It enables us to create extra little slots if required which means that there will be better management of the achieving the UDA’s. I also love the fact that I have made it the clinicians responsibility to check open courses and send off their EDI claims which meant they could take ownership and responsibility for achieving their set goals.


Month 2 - Seeing the benefits!


Well, what can I say!!! All of a sudden, things have improved!! And drastically at that!

The issue was to use the work flow effectively. The biggest learning curve was for the reception staff: most of my reception staff work part time which has meant it has taken longer to learn to use the new system. Our reception staff are not from the ‘millennial’ era which meant that technology is slightly more challenging. However, it is a very intuitive system and they have quickly started to become more confident with more practice and support. The main problem was that patients stood a long time at reception before the ‘workflow notes’ (these are the notes which tell you how long, when to book for and for what; also, how much money to take and to see if emails and phone numbers need to be updated) came through.

Thus, it has been decided that the clinicians will finish ‘checking the patient out’ in the surgery before letting them proceed to the reception area and then make their clinical notes after the patient has left. This seems to work very well and all the clinical staff and reception staff are now on board for this. There is an added feature of instant messaging in case there are extra notes you would like to send to reception.


Month 1 - Combating short notice cancellations


We have now put in a process to fill gaps at 10am each day with short notice cancellations. All of a sudden, we could see how much revenue we were losing with little gaps here and there. A short notice list was placed together which enabled us to book all the small gaps as well as the bigger gaps. This short notice list has a great feature in such that you can hover over the space, it will tell you which patients can fit that slot from your short notice list, and then you can click to send the patient a text to ask if then would like the gap… if the patient replies ‘book’, then the gap automatically gets filled without any further intervention from reception!!! Still amazes me.


Month 1 - Introduction to Mypractice Cloud


This is an absolutely amazing feature giving you a quick once over of all the major issues you want to look at such as hourly rate, predicted takings for the week, FTA’s, patient distribution, chair time utilisation and issues with NHS courses (courses at risk of not being paid because close to two month cut off). This is an absolute must. The MPC dashboard comes with no extra charge but you can choose to upgrade at a nominal fee and you can then click into your data from the dash board which makes it quick and easy to manoeuvre between the dashboard and your SOE data


Month 1 - Configuring the appointment book


The change over from our previous provider to SOE was not a walk in the park but we were told that it would be a steep learning curve. There have been no issues with the transfer of DATA from one system to another, but everything obviously works different. SOE can be very much individualised and it took us a while to figure out exactly what we wanted and how we wanted to do things to set it up appropriately. The clinical staff all took to it swimmingly, but the reception staff are struggling more.

As the manager, I am finding that I need to do a lot of initial ‘hand holding’ and taking a lot of time to ‘tidy up’ the system from the changeover. The DATA we held were incorrect in some formats and most patients did not have a correct recall or dentist allocation…. Thus, it has become a bit of a ‘spring clean’ which took longer than I anticipated.

The system is very much windows based and therefore quite intuitive to use. The online help is brilliant and my monthly phone calls from my appointed ‘saviour-and-know-it-all’ is without a doubt, the essence of what kept me going. Staff ask me how to do something and if I do not know how, I make a list and get Andrew to look at it. He really is very good at what he does!


The start - the need to become paperless


We are a small practice with limited storage and therefore wanted a system which will cope with ‘going paperless’ and was cost effective at the same time.

The rep was great and explained exactly what the system will be able to achieve for us. And one of the great suggestions, was to get keyboard scanners to scan in lab sheets and documentation which could not be captured on the IPad!!! Wonderful feature and my reception staff love the easy integration into the software; takes seconds to scan now!


Starting our journey...


We are hoping for a more automated system which will be able to catch reminders/recalls and be able to highlight issues with NHS courses at an early stage. We wanted to free up reception time to be able to give one to one quality customer service which we are hoping will enhance and grow private revenue.

We also wanted to be able to offer online booking to patients since it seems that in all other industries that clients/patients are able to do more online with managing their appointments; obviously with restrictions so that we can control where and when patients book appointments.




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