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Working hours today - how does it effect the appointment system?

Working hours today - how does it effect the appointment system

In the UK, there a number of people who are contracted to do unsociable hours with estimations from the Labour Force Survey in 2005 showing 3.6 million in shift work employment.1 Indeed, with many working in healthcare, manufacturing, transport, communications and hospitality professions, nine to five is no longer considered to be the norm.


With reports showing a decline in nightshifts and the three-day working pattern, it appears that emergence of ‘other types of shift work’ is on the rise highlighting the constant change that workers face.2


Finding the time

Because of the erratic and unpredictable patterns that shift work brings, it can therefore be difficult for people to arrange and attend much needed or emergency appointments.


In comparison to fixed contracts, which specify pre-arranged working days, shift work rotas are subject to change and can often not be distributed to staff until the last minute. As you would expect, booking an appointment in advance can become a seemingly impossible task.


What’s more, because employers are not required by law to allow workers to attend medical and dental appointments in work time,3 booking an appointment without a definite rota is out of the question, unless annual leave is approved for that specific time.


The toll on oral health

Not only does working unsociable hours and shift work have an effect on the convenience of booking an appointment, it could also create or contribute to medical and oral health problems.


Although there is insufficient research specifically on the topic of oral health in patients who work these hours, there is some evidence to suggest that it can be damaging to a person’s general health and wellbeing. As well as affecting sleep, weight and increasing the chance of diabetes, studies have shown a link between shift work and increased cardiovascular morbidity.4


The solution

Making appointments more accessible and offering online booking will encourage the general and oral health of shift workers. The current system has many flaws including busy phone lines, lack of out-of-hours options and limited choice of appointment times.


In comparison, online booking is flexible and transparent, offering 24/7 access to available appointments. A quick, easy-to-use and stress free alternative, online platforms such as Zesty offer a solution to those who work unsociable hours.


If you want to streamline your practice, optimise your surgery time and allow patients who do shift work to access services, contact Zesty today.


Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. visit or call 02037717799 for more details today



1 Unite guide to shift work and night work – a health and safety issue for unite members. Revised October 2013. Accessed online 24th July 2015.

2 Changes in shift work patterns over the last ten years (1999 – 2009). Prepared by Office for National Statistics for the Health and Safety Executive 2011. Accessed online 6th August 2015

3 Advice Guide. Citizens advice bureau. Accessed online 24th July 2015

4 Europe Published Central. Shift work and health – a critical review of the literature on working hours. J.M Harrington. Accessed online 24th July 2015


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Redefining Digital Expertise | Carestream Dental

Redefining Digital Expertise  |  Carestream Dental

The digital workflow is growing ever more powerful in the dental profession. In fact, we found that 95% of dentists who employ digital technologies enjoy a smoother workflow, 88% suggest any staff training expenses are perfectly acceptable, and more than 50% experience an increase in earnings. Perhaps most importantly, the majority of users also agree that the patient experience is enhanced.


At Carestream Dental, we understand the pressures on modern professionals and have invested heavily in research and product development to create effective solutions to the challenges you face every day. All our technologies are available on their own but work together seamlessly for a flexible and totally integrated workflow.

From the very beginning, our new CS Digitalizer enables you to quickly and easily evaluate your practice to establish your individual needs and discover the most suitable innovations for you. The Needs Assessment Survey will enable you to enter basic information about your practice and future goals, and then produce a full report with suggestions of relevant areas to consider in order to optimise and grow your business. Available on the website or from the App Store, this quick and convenient tool will show you exactly how your practice stands, offering the opportunity to see how others compare in your area.

Whether you are looking to increase your digital capabilities, or take your first steps towards a digital workflow, we provide a range of solutions backed up by expert advice and support. From the handheld CS 3500 intraoral scanner to the CS 7200 imaging plate system, our user-friendly technologies deliver outstanding image clarity for accurate diagnostics, with the flexibility to work in the way you prefer. The innovative CS 8100 3D imaging system even harnesses the power of 3D and brings it within every general practice’s reach, all the while limiting radiation dosage for a safer examination process for both patient and professional.  

Offering further benefits to you and your team the CS R4+ practice management software, featuring Springboard, operates in real-time data, giving you an up-to-the-minute analysis of your practice performance whenever required. Focusing on chair occupancy, treatment plan uptake, appointment confirmation and recare protocols, the programme highlights strengths and weaknesses in an instant so you can manage your business as efficiently as possible.

When utilised effectively, the digital workflow offers copious advantages for the modern dental practice. Every day systems are simplified and streamlined, with enhanced diagnostics, treatment planning and patient communications contributing to an overall superior patient service. At Carestream Dental, we will continue our commitment to you through our leading innovations and first-rate customer service, and we are always on hand should you need more information, advice or technical support. A move towards digital is often much easier and less costly than you would think – and the rewards can be mind-blowing.


For more information, contact Carestream Dental on 0800 169 9692 or visit

For all the latest news and updates, follow us on Twitter @CarestreamDentl and Facebook


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Improve your waiting times to streamline customer service |

Improve your waiting times to streamline customer service |

The issue of waiting times is a common problem for dental practices. Although we may not be able to be give all of our patients what they want, all of the time, we can strive to ensure that waiting times are not at an unacceptable level.


Having to wait for an appointment is often the reason behind a patient choosing to go private, rather than have treatment through the NHS. A recent report in The Telegraph looked at claims that NHS doctors may be driving up waiting times in order to attract more private patients.[1] Controversial and unethical, definitely, and – just like in dentistry – paying to jump the queue does not guarantee a better standard of care.

However, the fact remains that when a dental patient is choosing where to have their treatment, waiting time could be a big part of that decision. Patients not only have high expectations, but they are savvy and organised. They may call you directly, or use online forums to find out the information they need. Loyalty to one’s dentist is an alien concept to many, particularly with a more itinerant population, and convenience is often King.

Being in control of your waiting times is the key to providing consistently excellent customer service. To be a successful, thriving practice in this competitive environment, customer service needs to be impeccable from the minute a patient makes contact. If a patient does not feel valued, they may not return even if the treatment was successful:  if you go to a restaurant and are served fantastic food by a bad waiter, the poor service is what will stay with you. Also, people have busy lives. If you schedule a follow-up months into the future, something more urgent may come up at a later date. Many are reluctant to book an appointment too far in advance, because they are unsure about their upcoming commitments and do not want the hassle of having to change it.

Having ‘acceptable’ or ‘reasonable’ waiting times means treatment plans have more chance of being completed. It also gives you the chance to develop a dialogue with patients and build on positive communication. You can give people oral healthcare tips and discuss how they have been working at home when you see them often enough; this also encourages trust, particularly if they want to discuss an issue that has been troubling them. If you are able to give an accurate timescale for their treatment, this is great for compliance.

A streamlined approach to waiting times will reduce stress for everyone who works at your practice; there will be less unhappy patients to deal with for one! To set reasonable waiting times as standard, you have to be ruthlessly efficient about how you organise appointments. Online booking platforms are fantastic tools for achieving this: for example, Zesty lets you upload only the appointments you want to fill, for your patients to browse and book. This allows you to keep your daily and weekly workload at manageable levels and gives you space for emergencies and routine follow-ups. Online booking will take some pressure off your reception staff too, so they can deal with people who come into the practice to arrange their care. Your elderly patients may prefer to discuss their needs in person, for example. As part of your ongoing commitment to excellent customer service and treating every patient with respect, you should give them this option. Online booking is a not quite a virtual reception area, more it is a conduit that will enhance what you already offer.

So many people still approach a visit to the dentist with negativity; they are worried about painful and/or lengthy treatment, are unsure about what they are entitled to on the NHS or how to get a good deal from a private practitioner. On top of all this, there is frustration about having to wait for an appointment and then being offered one that is inconvenient. Reducing wait times will help you work towards a more streamlined approach to your customer service. When this is improved, this will certainly go part of the way towards allaying your patients’ common fears and strengthening the relationship that you have with them. Look for tools that can help you set reasonable waiting times: they allow people to get actively involved in making decisions about their care and get the most out of their dentist, which, ultimately is what we should all be aiming for.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. visit or call 0203 287 5416.


[1] Unethical NHS doctors drive up waiting times to attract private patients. The Telegraph, 7 May 2015. Found at: (accessed 7 May 2015)


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Driving practice growth - Carestream CS R4+ Practice Management Software

Driving practice growth - Carestream CS R4+ Practice Management Software

Real-time data can have a huge impact on the efficacy of your practice management systems. Giving you an accurate analysis of how your practice is performing at any given time, it is the perfect tool to facility change and drive your business growth.


b2ap3_thumbnail_R4-Carestream.jpgThe latest CS R4+ practice management software from Carestream Dental now features the exciting Springboard as standard, which enables you to do just this. It has been designed to focus on key areas within your practice that demonstrate your performance with regards to chair occupancy, treatment plan uptake, appointment confirmations and efficiency of recare processes, highlighting the need for improvement wherever appropriate.

All data is displayed in easy-to-read visuals, enabling any member of the team to access the results and implement changes straight away.

The practice management software also integrates seamlessly with additional programmes to further streamline your daily processes and free up precious time for staff. These include the innovative Appointmentor Online Booking System, eSignatures module, AutoPost and Text Messaging Service.

So, to make the most of real-time data and really drive your practice growth, discover the CS R4+ practice management software with Springboard from Carestream Dental.


For more information, contact Carestream Dental on 0800 169 9692 or visit

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Boost your conversion rates | Carestream Dental

Boost your conversion rates

Converting treatment plans into booked appointments is an area where many dental professionals struggle. This can often be to do with the concept of selling to a patient but there are a few ways to help with that.


If you don't feel comfortable discussing finances and costs with patients, you may be able to utilise the role of the treatment coordinator within your practice. If you have someone who is exceptionally good at talking to patients in a calm and friendly manner, you can provide the clinical information about the proposed treatment while they work alongside you to answer patient queries. They can discuss fees, explain the extra benefits like enhanced quality of life, and help to convert the treatment plan into a booked appointment.


Follow it up

In many cases, the patient will want to go home with their treatment plan and discuss it with a spouse or other family member and/or friends. In this respect, you need to ensure that the information you have provided is full and clear, perhaps with advice for extra research from reliable online sources if they feel it is required.


If a patient leaves the practice without booking their treatment, follow-ups are key. It is important not to see this as 'hassling', and more of a gentle prompt instead. This could be a great job for a friendly member of the team to take on board, spending one morning each week contacting patients who haven't taken up their treatment plans, just to touch base and see if they have any questions that need answering to help them to make a decision.


Helping hand

For this to be effective, it is essential that you and your team are aware of what treatment plans are still outstanding. In a dental environment it can be difficult to keep on top of open treatment plans when you have patients arriving, phone calls to attend to, and everything else that comes with the day-to-day running of the practice.


In this respect, some practice management systems have built-in functionality that can help you and your staff see the plans that need following up. The CS R4+ practice management software from Carestream Dental can help you do all of this and more with its built-in features that use real time data to benefit your practice in numerous ways. This will allow you and your team to get a list of the patients without appointments, enabling you to contact them and discuss further questions they may have and try to book them in.


Turning treatment plans into booked appointments is not a concept that all dental professionals find easy or natural, but employing these tools and techniques can help boost your conversion rates and, importantly, your profits.


For more information on CS Solutions or any other products or services available from Carestream Dental,

please call 0800 169 9692 or visit


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2685 Hits

Book them in - Carestream Dental

Book them in - Carestream Dental

Converting treatment plans into booked appointments is an area where many dental professionals struggle, but this needn't be the case anymore.

Some practice management systems have built-in functionality that can help you and your staff see the plans that need following up. The CS 


R4+ practice management software from Carestream Dental can help you do all of this and more with its built-in features that use real time data to benefit your practice in numerous ways.

This will allow you and your team to get a list of the patients without appointments enabling you to contact them and discuss further questions they may have and try to book them in.

For more information speak to the friendly team at Carestream Dental today.


For more information on CS Solutions or any other products or services available from Carestream Dental,

please call 0800 169 9692 or visit


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2809 Hits

The world is going mobile!

Things are changing in the website world, mobile websites are becoming increasingly important with Google placing an emphasis on websites having a mobile version. Users of mobile phones now expect a mobile version or an app for the business that makes their lives easier.

Over the last few years, there has been a huge growth in mobile apps, with large businesses having their own mobile app but things are now changing and evolving with smaller businesses now getting in on the act. It is now possible to have one for your dental practice. This seems a strange concept to some but there are a number of benefits that could really help your dental practice.

As we all know, everyone seems to be using their mobiles for the majority of tasks, with the average person in Britain, using their mobile for over 2 hours a day. Your patients will be no different.

The GDPUK Services team can now offer you the ability to have your own app custom built for your dental practice. Once it is built (usually takes approx 4 weeks) it will be made available on the Apple and Google Play Stores for download by your patients.

Below are five reasons an app could benefit your practice.

  1. Loyalty Scheme

With the loyalty scheme built into the app, all you have to do with an app is scan a code in the practice and the patient's loyalty card is automatically marked, they can then redeem a voucher when they reach a certain number. All this is done automatically. This will be a reason your patient will keep the app on their phone, they will feel like they are getting extra value / service from visiting their dentist.

  1. Presence

Having your own app is a great way of doing something different and innovative in your local area and will impress your patients. Having an app gives your patients a constant reminder of your presence in the community and that your practice can be seen as innovators.

  1. Engage with patients

Patients can message your practice directly from the app, they can request an appointment for specific items of treatment. They can also gain direct access from the app to your Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as your blog or any other social media etc.


  1. Push Messaging

You can push messages directly to everyone who has it. Push messaging is free and has close to a 95% read rate which when you compare to an average open rate of just 20% for an email that practices send to patients.

  1. Referrals

With a mobile app your patients can refer you directly to their friends and family via Facebook, Twitter, email or text. As we are all aware there is nothing more powerful than a personal referral for any business, for dentists personal recommendations / referrals often work brilliantly because they provide confidence to the potential new patient and also prove to your team and yourself that you are doing the right things. A number of referrals a month from the app will make the small investment in the app totally worth it.



For further information on the app and the costs involved please have a look at our new services website and specific page on the app. Links below. If you have any further questions please email us - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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