By Ross Martin, Accountancy Director at Hive Business
We caught up with Kelly Neill at Aerona the day after she got back from the BDIA expo. She’d done a lot of talking and was exhausted. “A huge percentage of the people we stopped were not aware of our product and service we offered.”
If you’re in that category then you might find this Hive Five useful. In fact, quite a few readers messaged us after Hayley’s blog Let go, and let your people take a punt to say they weren’t sure what a CRM was.
Kelly, what is Aerona and who is it for?
AeronaClinic is a cloud-based practice management software. It is one centralised system to run your practice including: appointment making, patient record keeping, treatment planning, and medical notes, as well as having a whole business suite of comprehensive reporting and analytics including KPIs.
It’s for anyone with a dental practice but especially people interested in growing their business, using lead generation, using your website to track where new patients are coming from and for understanding the data such as practice growth, average daily yield and patient value.
A lot of practices are already familiar with and maybe even using a CRM system — this could be as basic as a spreadsheet or maybe something like Trello. Using AeronaClinic for lead management takes away the necessity for a third party system as you can track everything from a patient’s initial enquiry through to making their first appointment.
Our task manager helps to remind you if they are due a follow-up call and our reports can show you which of these tasks are still outstanding. By setting up patient categories, this also can help identify your patients more easily. For instance, you can mark patients as pending and track the full treatment flow; maybe they’ve had a treatment plan but haven’t followed through with the second appointment. This is all commercially valuable information and now you can use it to help grow your business.
What’s different about Aerona?
Because it’s cloud-based you see the health of your business in real time. The cloud means less hardware is required (you don’t need a server), there is less IT maintenance, we take care of your data backups in real time, and you always have the most recent version of the software (you’re not sent discs and no one needs to visit your practice).
Our upgrades take on average around 15 minutes and happen in the middle of the night, so there’s less downtime. We take a lot of IT responsibility away from you, saving you time, money and stress.
How much does it cost to have Aerona in a practice?
The pricing structure is much different to our competitors. Established players like SOE charge you a licence fee up front per user or per device. We have taken this away and charge based upon number of treatment rooms (per chair / surgery). If you’ve got a third room that’s only used once a week, we won’t charge you a full fee.
You can have as many appointment books open as you want, for instance, it might be covering three rooms and five clinicians. You could be logged into three devices (eg the computer at reception, an iPad consent form and your phone). It doesn’t matter where you’re logged in. You can easily add treatment rooms if you’re growing, it’s just an additional £45 per room per month. You can have unlimited users and devices — you only ever pay for the number of treatment rooms you have.
You could easily be saving £10k annually by moving to Aerona. Practice owners are paying that for support on average, whereas ours starts at £75 per month including full support (we’ve just brought out base level subscriptions).
On the other hand, we get a lot of enquiries from dental technicians or smaller practices who are only open one day a week. Our pricing structure allows for part time practices to only pay for what they need. We’re not tying clients into lengthy contracts.
I spoke to a dental group owner at the DBIA who owns multiple practices. He has little understanding of how his business is doing until he receives the monthly report from his area managers. Whereas with Aerona, he would have real time data at any time he wanted. For larger group practices, our multi-site capability allows easier access to all locations meaning you can move away from using tools such as Team Viewer, which requires a PC that’s turned on and can be difficult in the middle of the night or if you’re travelling.
With Aerona you can use any device with an internet browser and data connection. Our customers are used to cloud service providers such as Xero now, and using their online banking, so to implement a cloud provider for your practice management is the next logical step.
Are dentists changing how they use practice software?
Dentists are so busy, they are under pressure and stressed. They need access to real-time information at any time, from anywhere. One of biggest advantages Aerona offers is logging in any time. It creates more flexibility for dentists — they can leave the practice and create their notes later from home. They can also see at a glance what appointments they have booked in for that day or the following week, add emergency appointments quickly and reschedule if needed.
If someone calls in sick and you bring in a locum, you can transfer all their appointments into the new diary with one click. Dentists are becoming more business savvy — the younger dentists coming through are much more interested in the business side. If they’re using software right, all the data is there, such as chair utilisation and surgery/clinician profitability.
Even more established dentists are feeling jaded by SOE and R4. People are disappointed by the lack of support from their suppliers. Whereas our rule is that every phone call is answered. It’s interesting when you speak to the dentists who have been with SOE for 20 plus years. It’s a massive decision to move but there are loads of reasons why. Those bigger companies have such a large market share, they’ve become complacent. People are turning away more often now, realising there are alternatives.
Do you have any predictions for the next five years?
When we launched our cloud product four years ago, we were the only cloud provider. We have a lot more experience than any other practice management software company on the market about how to deliver the right product, at the right price with the right level of support. Our market share is only going to grow. We are already in four countries and our plans are to expand our offerings. Lots of our customers already used cloud accountancy software too, so it makes sense to put all of their business related activities in the cloud.
Our software will be developed continuously. We really listen to what our customers want and this helps to develop our product so that it constantly stays the leader in the market. We also have the benefit of working with some of the biggest thought leaders in the industry so all of these elements help us to make sure our offering can be future proof.
Please get in touch on 01872 300232 or email [email protected].