Kojonup Dental Clinic, three hours south east of Perth on the drive to Albany, is only open for business one day a week. Dr Asheen Behari, looking for a distraction from his role as one of the principal dentists of a large, busy, now corporate-owned practice in suburban Perth, took over the tiny clinic 7 years ago from the retiring incumbent of 33 years.
"I just saw the practice advertised for sale, came down here to check it out and thought this is pretty nice," Dr Behari said. "It's very different to the city practice. It's on a property, so there's plenty of space and you have a bit of an experience of being in the country. I like coming here as it gets me out of the city."
Dr Behari said that the practice was operating three days a week when he took over, with a strong following amongst local residents.
"I thought I can only give up one day a week and maybe not every week, so I came at it from that angle," he said. "I didn't need to do it because I wanted to work harder; I was doing it to enjoy the experience and I approached it from that perspective."
Dr Behari knew that finding the right practice management software would be key to running a part-time practice remotely.
"I went looking for a cloud-based solution and I looked at all the contemporary practice management software available offering this," he said. "A further criteria was where the cloud servers are located, as I didn't want to have speed issues when uploading digital x-rays.
"In the end, Core Practice ticked all the boxes. It's an Australian product, developed and hosted in Australia and has all the features I need.
"For me, the best part of having Core Practice is that I have access to my appointment book from any device at any time. The second greatest benefit is the two-way SMS feature for confirming appointments and finally, it's really simple to use."
Dr Behari said that automation of patient reminders using SMS was particularly invaluable.
"The SMS reminder feature is brilliant. It's a two-way text, so it updates their appointment in Core Practice when they reply to confirm. If a patient sends you a message, you see an exclamation mark in the system alerting you to the message. There's also an SMS chat function, which is really good as it allows you to chat via SMS with your patients, all managed and recorded within Core Practice, rather than on your private mobile phone.
"The banking, invoicing, reporting, patient records and all the usual features of practice management software are easy to use too. It has everything I need to run the practice in a simple manner."
Kojonup Dental Clinic opens on Fridays and is staffed by two receptionist/nurses. "One of the team is a Kojonup local who also works at the visitors centre and the other works for the local Dental Health service," Dr Behari said. "We also had a dental therapist working for a while, but she went home to New Zealand. So we're looking to fill that role now.
"Core Practice is very intuitive and very straightforward to use and it has been easy for everyone to learn. If you have a reasonable understanding of how computer software works, it's easy to master. We only needed a few hours of training to be up and running. After that, you can figure most things out on your own. We've also called the support line a few times and they've always been very helpful at pointing us in the right direction."
Dr Behari said there is no advertising necessary for the practice, with the patients being exclusively from the local area.
"Being in the country, all the patients know the practice is staffed on a Friday, so people call on a Friday. But if a patient does happen to ring during the week, then anyone can still book in an appointment even though the physical practice is closed as Core Practice is cloud based.
"Core Practice has made owning a part-time country practice the pleasure that I wanted it to be. It caters perfectly to my needs and the needs of my patients and team."