Dr. Sherry Toh in Chilliwack, British Columbia

The Situation

Switching to ABELDent from another clinical and practice management system is easy if you plan properly and have a highly trained support team, says Sherry Toh, D.D.S., principal owner of the Alpine Dental Centre in Chilliwack, British Columbia.

That’s exactly what her office experienced in 2010, after she decided to abandon a nine-year-old system and convert more than 2,000 patient records to ABELDent. Dr. Toh says that the switch to ABEL was one of the best decisions she’s made for her practice and her patients.

Given that she sees many patients each day, like most dentists do, Dr. Toh says that ABELDent can help her to attend to one patient at a time or run from case to case if needed. With the software’s robust features managing both the clinical and administrative aspects of the practice, the dentist can take a less rushed, more focused, and yet more efficient approach to her patients’ oral health and overall well-being.

The Challenge

After Dr. Toh and her team had used their former practice management system for many years, they knew it was time to switch to ABELDent. The previous software was not helping them achieve two critical goals: an efficiency goal of a paperless office and the clinical goal of the best patient care possible.

"Provision of excellent health care is our top priority, so anything that can help us reach that objective is a great choice," says Dr. Toh. "Excellent dentistry today depends on a lot of chart data; patients’ medical histories, their likes and dislikes, sensitivities to certain drugs, financial considerations, insurance-claim tracking and much more. That’s a huge amount of information to manage. ABELDent helps us to automate and collect our patient’s clinical and administrative information all in one place. With just a couple of clicks, the system gives us access to the patient’s complete information on one screen."

The Solution

"ABELDent became the foundation for modernizing our practice," adds Dr. Toh. "When we have clinical and practice management software in place, it helps us do our work so much better. It takes a lot of focus away from administration and puts the emphasis on the patient, where it really counts. We are not always taking time away from an oral exam to search through the file cabinet looking for patient information."

Office Manager Felix Yong says there’s no way practitioners could run a successful dental clinic today without a solid practice management system such as ABELDent. However, before deciding on ABELDent, the practice reviewed several other systems on the market.

"Several things made ABELDent the clear choice for us," says Yong. "ABELDent’s long history, stability and reliability were determining factors. But most importantly, it was their people that made the difference."

Yong explains that they had the opportunity to work with several groups of people from various companies over the course of making the decision to switch vendors. "I think we just connected so well with the ABEL team," Yong explains.

"We asked for several demos before we narrowed our decision to a couple of systems," he continues. "The ABEL demonstration team was exceptional and very patient with us. I have a technology background, so I had lots of challenging and specific questions. In every case they gave us excellent and accurate answers."

The other key factor that impressed Yong was ABEL’s willingness to build a software bridge between ABELDent and the clinic’s third-party digital radiography software. "Dr. Toh uses a lot of imaging in her practice," says Yong. "The ABEL programmers made it possible to switch to ABELDent because they created a bridge for us from scratch. Interoperability between the two systems was a key consideration."

The final piece that cemented the choice of ABEL was its data conversion team, Yong adds. "Accurately converting legacy data to a new system is an absolute necessity when switching software. Even before winning our business, ABEL was willing to put its time and energy into working with us to complete a few trial conversions. We thought that if a company was that eager to work with us then, they would be a great future partner in terms of software vision, upgrades and changes in the industry. I was very confident at that point about ABEL’s capabilities, so it became our final choice."

The Relationship

The staff at the Alpine Dental Centre had excellent training on the system from the start. Says Yong, "As part of our agreement, we purchased both onsite and online training time. As it turned out, we used more of the remote online modules. That was totally effective and the same as if a trainer was in the office teaching us. The only drawback was that we could not take the instructor out to lunch."

Overall, Yong says learning was easy because the team had already been working with ABEL throughout the demonstration period. To enhance ongoing knowledge, the team now takes advantage of the company’s MyABEL, a web-based portal that offers the team a variety of resources to enhance its ABELDent system.

"We have used MyABEL many times," adds Yong. "Our clinical and administrative teams can access a library of tutorials for self-paced learning, download the latest ABEL software updates, search for knowledge-base articles, and download user guides and other product documentation. It’s a super way of obtaining information and new enhancements – much better than waiting for CDs to come in the mail."

The Results

Dr. Toh says the entire practice is very happy with the benefits that ABELDent offers, especially on the features side. "I really like the quick notes," she says. It has capabilities to act like an examination checklist and helps me attend to every detail so I don’t miss anything during a patient visit. I also use the notes feature to customize clinical treatment plans for many of my patients." For administration, ABELDent’s integrated appointment scheduling, billing and reporting functions keeps the busy clinic running smoothly.

The dentist says the efficiencies that ABELDent provides have increased the practice’s operations for the better. "We met our goal of being completely paperless, so we are spending less time on managing the mountains of paper and more time on patient care."

Overall, Dr. Toh and her staff receive positive feedback from their patients. "It seems that they are more satisfied with the dentist and the whole office in general," says Felix Yong. "There has been clearly more focus on the patients and their needs."

Concludes Dr. Toh, "We always have to remember that we are not just treating a tooth -- it’s a whole person that we are caring for. To uphold this philosophy, we require a modern system that can handle today’s practice realities. We have certainly found it in ABELDent!"

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