The dental specialists that have taken a big bite of Microsoft technology – and left patients smiling

Patients at one of the leading dental practices in the South West have seen waiting times, travel expenses and anxiety levels fall thanks to Microsoft technology.

Bristol Dental Specialists is using Microsoft Teams to hold video calls with patients before they visit the clinic. This is reducing patient stress, because people know what to expect during surgery, as well as bills, because a lot of the preparation work is completed via Teams and the preparation time is reduced.

It’s part of a digital-first approach by Bristol Dental Specialists, which has rolled out a range of cloud-based services, many of which have been implemented without additional IT support.

The practice is now seeing more than 100 new patients a month referred from dental surgeries across the UK, or self-referred despite only opening its doors in November 2019.

The company’s popularity is partly due to the fact that its clinicians represent eight of the 13 speciality areas listed by the General Dental Council, which is a high number for a single practice. Using collaborative M365 tools such as Teams and Sway has also proved very popular with patients and staff, allowing them to securely view and share information and images on upcoming procedures via mobile phones and tablets.

Ben Cross, a Founding Partner at Bristol Dental Specialists

Ben Cross, a Founding Partner at Bristol Dental Specialists

One patient had a consultation via Teams from her home in Australia before travelling to the UK and arranging treatment.

“It’s about improving communication and building trust with patients,” said Ben Cross, a Founding Partner at Bristol Dental Specialists. “We can have a Teams call with a patient and relieve a lot of the anxiety they may feel about an upcoming procedure. They can chat to the person who will be conducting the surgery, ask any questions they may have, and we can share any documents that need to be signed or videos of their procedure, if they wish. When they come in to have their procedure, it’s a more efficient process, as we have gathered as much information as possible before the patient arrives in person from the Teams call.

“Teams is helping us to give our patients peace of mind.”

Bristol Dental Specialists covers south-west England and South Wales and its team specialise in orthodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics, oral surgery, restorative dentistry, endodontics, paediatric dentistry and radiology. The company also offers dental implant treatment, but the whole ethos of the practice is to carry out all treatment from a multi-disciplinary perspective.

Patients can refer themselves directly from the Bristol Dental Specialists website via a Microsoft Forms document. This triggers Microsoft Power Automate to simultaneously record their details in an Excel spreadsheet and notify the specialist team that a new referral has just been submitted. Receptionists can then phone the patient the same day. This process used to be done via mail and often took weeks, which was inefficient for a patient who may be in pain and needed to urgently see a dentist.

Bristol Dental Specialists

Staff at Bristol Dental Specialists are now looking at using more Microsoft cloud tools to help patients.

Nick Hedderman, Director of the Modern Work and Security Business Group at Microsoft UK, said: “Businesses have been using remote working technology to improve how they work and interact with their customers for many years but this has proved indispensable for staff in 2020. The Coronavirus pandemic has shown that there are few sectors where seamless working is more important than healthcare. It’s critical that healthcare professionals in their offices can speak openly and honestly to patients at home, while maintaining confidentiality and information security. Microsoft Teams is allowing them to do that.”