Meet Irene Iancu, RDH – YAPI Advocate and Savvy Startup Practice Owner in Toronto, Canada
Reporting LIVE from a startup practice at the height of a global pandemic – a business owner who has never run an office before and is terrified every day.
Hi, I’m Irene, otherwise known as @Toothlife.Irene on Instagram. On August 1, 2020, I made the most important career decision of my life. I was tired of working for someone else, bringing in the MAD production, and decided it was time to open my practice in the upper beaches of Toronto, Canada.
I don’t blame you if you immediately rolled your eyes and wondered how long it took me to get my reality check.
It’s true – I was naive, shiny and new, optimistic, and thought that rainbows and sunshine would warm my frostbitten face. When I opened my doors, I believed that my previous problems would be solved, like asking for new equipment or a raise, but getting turned down, time after time.
I feel like Cyndi Lauper said it best.
“If you’re lost, you can look, and you will find me. Time after time.”
I Went Digital From The Start
My reality check came three months after opening my practice when my assistant decided to return to hygiene school, and my receptionist decided to move to Costa Rica with her family to escape the uncertainty the world was facing. Luckily, I had incorporated YAPI into my practice from day one. My heart felt at ease knowing some of the aspects I desperately needed a human to execute were taken care of by the robot that conveniently wakes up at 9 p.m. every night to go to work while I’m out of the office (well, likely still at work, but just from a different IP address).
Deciding to open a startup practice during the height of the pandemic was a massive undertaking. I dealt with limited resources, advanced PPE protocols, rapid hiring and firing, and trying to find a digital resource to ensure my team members and my patients benefited from a seamless experience. I researched different software and integrations, seeing that some areas worked well but ultimately lacked in other departments. Some software solutions offered fancy interfaces but lacked customer service. Enter YAPI, a comprehensive dental software system created to help practices like mine operate more efficiently and streamline workflows.
“It felt like YAPI was one of dentistry’s best-kept secrets.”
In search of guidance, I spoke with friends who operate successful practices. They all mentioned YAPI in long-winded sentences, explaining the benefits of its functionality and how it helped gain control of automation. I was coping with the most uncertainty I’ve ever experienced from leaving my comfort zone. I was used to asking patients to show up at the office 15 minutes before their appointment to fill out the necessary forms. Still, I quickly realized I had to jump in headfirst and take advantage of the software to make the first line of communication digital.
Innovation is at the forefront of operating a highly efficient dental practice in our rapidly evolving industry.
“True innovation is developing a product that the customer didn’t even know they needed.”
I can say firsthand that YAPI is the most efficient method for my dental practice to keep all of my patients, better known as my peeps, on the same page — literally.
YAPI has helped me do more with less as a startup. Collectively, the industry is still navigating challenges due to staffing shortages, and the software has provided user-friendly solutions that eliminate the need for time-consuming daily tasks. It has also reduced the challenge of hiring new team members in such uncertain times. I need to be clear about one thing – I’m not using YAPI in my dental practice as a replacement for hiring, as I’ve heard others are. I’m simply utilizing its features to evolve my efficiencies with fewer resources than we typically have.
Next, I’ll take you through some key features YAPI provides and how a digital transformation has enhanced my dental practice. Our implemented system is simple – using Open Dental, we gather all of the baseline information from a patient when they contact the office by phone or email, including date of birth, address, phone number, and email. Alongside the phone number, we insert a script for our team members to read to the patient, advising them of our digital office, including digital impressions, X-rays, text messages, and emails. We explain that by gathering their phone number and email addresses, they can receive text messages as reminders for dental visits and a two-way text opportunity. This feature allows patients to text back to confirm an appointment or make any changes. How convenient is that?
My Patients Also Appreciate the Convenience of Our Technology
Additionally, we can now send all required intake forms by collecting patient emails ahead of the appointment. To ensure our patients clearly understand our digital process, we provide them with another helpful script that explains the process of filling out the required forms online. Here’s a snippet of the script:
“You’re probably used to having to go in early on your first visit to fill out your medical or dental history forms. Here, we do things a little differently. At 9 p.m. every evening, our software works the night shift. It will send you confirmations and emails with relevant and important information regarding your appointments that need to be looked at before you come in. We strongly encourage you to complete these forms before arriving to ensure our team has your important documents when preparing for your appointment, which sometimes happens two to three days before. Are you okay with that?”
And our patients have been okay with it! The most significant added value we have seen in the short term of using YAPI is the seamless integration with our dental software and how open our patients have been about the experience when filling out forms in advance. We have prepared more effectively for new patient examinations and have had breathing room to review patient contracts on our own time versus 60 seconds before entering the room. Paperless forms have eliminated manual entry prone to human error and offered more valuable time in the dental chair alongside Dr. Lou — our office therapy poodle companion and doppelgänger to the YAPI mascot!
If you’re interested in learning more about how we’ve incorporated the software into our dental practice, reach out to my peeps at YAPI and ask for a part two of this blog. I’d love to share more with you about how we’ve gained engagement in our morning huddles and how using the intra-office communication feature has elevated our communication game. But for now, be sure to browse the YAPI website and see how the software could be the automated solution you’ve been looking for to enhance your practice!