Tauranga Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (TOMS) and Tidy, are collaborating to solve stock, patient, and practice management inefficiencies through a single, elegant software solution.
TOMS is a specialist oral surgical clinic that supports local dental and medical practices by providing patient care outside the scope of general practitioners.
Surgeons Dr Abi Estelle, Dr John Bridgman and Dr David Chrisp are often found removing impacted wisdom teeth, providing surgery for dental implants, and managing difficult dental extractions.
In the medical industry, reliable, secure, and risk-free administration is mandatory and legally required, which has traditionally led to many processes remaining analogue.
Nurses and support staff at TOMS once spent hours flicking through spreadsheets, stickers, and paper folders to monitor inventory activity. However, Dr John Bridgman had ambitions for more.
“Twelve years ago, we decided that we wanted to try to become paper-free,” he says.
Given the unique demands of medical practices and the desire to preserve a personal connection between patient and doctor, the process was trickier than anticipated.
“There were a couple of things that were really hard to do. It turns out that paper is actually really difficult to replace. [With] desktop computers, we found that we lost the intimacy with the patient contact.”
Today, TOMS has fully embraced digitalisation. They have been using iPads in their practice for over a decade and have integrated multiple software systems from reception to consultation clinic to surgery room. So, how have they achieved this?
The answer is Tidy, a software development company headquartered just 10 kilometres from TOMS.
Tidy has been an official and trusted Xero Connected App Partner since 2012, providing inventory and project management software to help businesses keep operations tidy. The founder-led company was born from the need to create order from disorder for businesses.
“A tidy workplace is a safer and more efficient workplace,” explains Kevin Mann, founder and CEO of Tidy.
“That’s where the name of the business comes from. It’s not just tidy in a physical sense. It’s tidy in a metaphoric sense.
If you know where things are, if you’ve got a system that works, you can serve your customers more efficiently and build a better business.”
TidyStock, Tidy’s inventory management solution, proved to be the perfect fit for TOMS when they began using it in 2020.
In many clinical environments, surgeons operate like barristers. They operate independently with their own accounting ledger, but provide their services in a collective physical environment such as TOMS. It would be uneconomical for one surgeon to run one “multi-service” clinic alone.
However, this can complicate the accounting side of things.
Fortunately, Tidy’s seamless integration with Xero made it easy for TOMS to maintain robust financial control while managing multiple surgeons and addressing an important issue in the clinic: inventory management.
“Stock control is a complex matter for us because we’ve got a considerable amount of implant stock,” says John.
“They all have an expiry date so you’re always conscious of not only replacing what you need, but also making sure you don’t end up with obsolete stock.
Being able to handle that was a really exciting frontier about Tidy - that’s how we got into it. But through that, we realised there’s a whole lot more capability that a company like Tidy could offer.”
Tidy’s flexibility and willingness to help TOMS integrate their existing iPad system with TidyStock made the transition even smoother.
The effectiveness and popularity of TidyStock at TOMS spurred a new idea for John.
“We saw an opportunity to have a patient management system integrated with strong stock management which would be extremely desirable.”
At the same time, Tidy was searching for a clinical partner to participate in the development of their new generation of software.
It was on the eve of New Zealand’s first COVID-19 lockdown that John came to Tidy’s office to discuss this idea with Kevin.
“We were keen to speak into the development and have our needs incorporated into the design of the system,” says John.
Kevin adds, “We’d already had success in the healthcare sector, but our relationship with TOMS put a vertical focus on bringing about a leap in capability and flexibility from Tidy’s first generation of product to its second.”
The lockdown period allowed Kevin and Tidy’s engineers to work intensely on the TidyClinic project and collaborate with John online. From its inception, it was paramount that TidyClinic was constructed with clinical input and designed with the healthcare sector’s needs at its heart.
TOMS is one of many clinics who contributed to the development of TidyClinic. In the research and development process, Tidy consulted with various organisations, including private hospitals and optometrists.
In these discussions, Kevin discovered a common thread: clinics essentially provide a “remanufacturing” service for patients.
“That’s an area we have extensive experience in. Many of our customers are manufacturers and engineers, but we found that clinics have a lot of the same demands despite working with patients and different equipment.”
With Tidy’s experience and software expertise at the helm, supplemented by valuable input from local clinicians, a beta version of TidyClinic was released for user testing in 2023.
Into the Trials
TidyClinic is now undergoing trials in TOMS’ live clinical environment, side-by-side with their old software.
John remarks about the trials, “We’ve been impressed at the speed at which the engineers can adapt the software when we give feedback. Now that the structure has been built, they’re able to fine tune and modify it rapidly. It’s quite exciting.”
Days into the trial, TOMS received news that it was mere months until their current patient management system would crash permanently. With the enigmatic time bomb of the old software ticking away, it became more vital than ever to get TidyClinic up and running in the clinic.
The Future with TidyClinic
John is enthusiastic about how TidyClinic will transform not only TOMS but also all clinicians ready to embrace a revolutionary digital future.
“TidyClinic is well designed, it’s helpful to clinicians, and it presents information in a succinct and clear way. The user interface is clear, efficient, and saves time while financial control will be quicker, easier, and better.”
By simplifying and streamlining operations, TidyClinic reduces non-earning time and shifts the weight of complex administrative tasks to computers, allowing staff to focus on more productive areas. This aligns with TOMS’s aim of making incremental gains, which ultimately translates into increased productivity and revenue.
“TidyClinic will enable shortened waiting lists and increase patient throughput, leading to more clinical revenue at the same time, so everyone from the patient to the clinicians win,” says Kevin.
Tidy plans to launch TidyClinic to a broader market in early 2024. This presents an exciting opportunity for accountants seeking to enhance financial management and clinic efficiency for their healthcare sector clients.