Commercial Director Simon Reynolds caught up with Dr Daz Singh to discuss some of the positive and simple changes the Ollie and Darsh team have made to put their practice firmly on the path to success.
Simon: How did you get to where you are professionally, and what’s your practice’s ethos?
Daz: We’re a fully private health clinic, although we opened as a squat almost 10 years ago. Over time, we concluded that we wanted to offer our patients more predictable, aesthetic restoration options, which meant a move away from the NHS. Our ethos encompasses minimally invasive dentistry, where we’re looking to try to help improve people’s confidence and their smile.
Simon: What do you think is the secret to achieving success in dental practice?
Daz: For me, it’s having a great team around you. A lot of the success we’ve achieved must be credited to the fact that the team communicates effectively, understands what we’re trying to work towards and supports us in achieving our goals.
Simon: Why is having the right dental plan so important for both the practice and patients?
Daz: As we were growing the practice, we noticed that while patients were often up for restorative treatment, they weren’t very good at attending for check-ups and hygiene appointments to maintain their new smile. It seemed to us that patients didn’t understand the value of following up with us and so we wanted to implement something that would help them see the attraction of coming back to see us on a regular basis. Bringing a patient plan into the practice has helped us to achieve that.
Simon: Why did you decide to switch provider and what were you looking for from the plan?
Daz: We were looking to make the workflow seamless. I’m a big fan of efficiency and with Patient Plan Direct we can set up the plan we think is right for a patient in the surgery online, there and then, and the computer system takes care of the rest. We also wanted something that made use of our brand – Ollie and Darsh – rather than a plan provider’s. Then there was the issue of value – we were looking to be as cost-effective as possible, and some providers had added frills that we just didn’t want or need to pay for.
Simon: How did you find out about the bulk change process and how did you find it going through it?
Daz: The option of using bulk change – basically allowing for Direct Debits to be transferred automatically ‘in the background’ from one provider to another, without patients having to sign a new Direct Debit instruction – was brought to our attention by your team at Patient Plan Direct. The process was very simple and quick. Patient Plan Direct liaised with our previous provider to manage the transfer of Direct Debits at the appropriate point in time ensuring there was no break in collection. Patient Plan Direct managed the entire mailing fulfilment, putting together a letter to patients on our behalf explaining the details of the new plan arrangements and transfer concisely but thoroughly. We had no queries from patients, there was no workload put on the practice team and retention following the transfer was extremely high.
Simon: What differences has the switch made to the practice?
Daz: It’s made a massive difference by increasing our membership levels, which means that our schedules are busier than they used to be. And we’ve been able to look after our patients a little bit better on a clinical level. That’s because we’ve now got patients who buy in to the whole aspect of care over the longer term, rather than having some restorative work done and then disappearing.
Simon: What advice would you offer anyone considering a switch from one provider to another?
Daz: There is naturally some trepidation in considering moving from one provider to another. You need to do it for the right reasons, so it is important to think about what you want to achieve. We didn’t want a branded plan from one of the big providers, but rather to use our own branding, which Patient Plan Direct supports. And we wanted control over the plans we provide to patients, so in some ways you could think of it as us outsourcing the administrative aspect. There’s also an economic aspect to our choice, as we were looking to add value for patients. All those prerequisites were met by Patient Plan Direct and anyone looking to switch provider needs to find the company that fits with their needs and future goals.