Saving Time and Filling Schedules with OperaDDS

After trying several different patient engagement solutions, West Lakes Family Dentistry turned to OperaDDS software to meet its needs. And Patient Care Coordinator Sheri Veraldi couldn’t be happier with the choice.

The practice in West Des Moines, Iowa, originally adopted software to meet patient demand for text communications, says Veraldi, a 16-year employee. Then when Dr. Jared Sass bought the practice about three years ago, the team embarked on its last software search, she says. “His biggest focus was, how can I make life easier for my team, so you’re not duplicating efforts?”

In the end, they landed on OperaDDS, which increases efficiencies and makes patient communications much easier, according to Veraldi. “And the price of Opera was substantially less than what we were previously paying.”

“Our hygienists and dental assistants have been extremely receptive to the ease of Opera chairside.”

Enhancing work at a busy practice

Veraldi appreciates the many ways that using OperaDDS enhances work at the busy, patient-focused practice, which has two dentists, two hygienists and often sees 30-40 patients a day.

For example, when patients came for a visit prior to COVID-19, Veraldi simply handed them an iPad to review and update their medical histories. Any changes would automatically sync to Eaglesoft practice management software, eliminating data entry for staff and ensuring new information was logged before a patient even made it to the dental chair, she says. “It’s phenomenal.”

“Our hygienists and dental assistants have been extremely receptive to the ease of Opera chairside and the ability to go over a patient’s health history and add notes, whether a patient has a new artificial joint or a new medication,” says Veraldi, a qualified dental assistant.

Veraldi also likes how easy OperaDDS makes it to compose authorization forms for procedures. Patients can review and sign the forms, all electronically and immediately synced to the patient’s record.

In addition, OperaDDS supports a streamlined process for new patients. “I send a welcome email with a link for Opera that goes right to all of our new patient forms. The next morning, I can see that the forms are filled out, click on a patient’s record, and automatically populate their records,” she says. “If they don’t get the email, I just go into OperaDDS and text them the forms.”

Saving time and filling schedules

Veraldi sees OperaDDS as a significant timesaver. “I’m old school because I used to make appointments in a book with about 10 columns. Now, just having the capability of two-way electronic communications for confirmations so that we don’t have to chase down every patient by phone helps,” she says. “I would say Opera easily saves me at least an hour to an hour and a half each day.”

Two-way texting also supports a fuller schedule for West Lakes Family Dentistry. Patients can text the practice when they know they can’t make an appointment. Then Veraldi can quickly text other patients who may be able to take those spots, she says. “We can get spots filled sooner.”

Patients like it, too, she says. “It improves their experience because they have so much more control over their communications with us.”

A “life saver” during the pandemic

The advantages of OperaDDS were amplified during the clinic’s closure and reopening due to COVID-19. “It was a life saver,” Veraldi says.

“In March, we had the governor telling us we had to close. I can’t make thousands of phone calls, but we used our Opera. We just typed up our message to anyone who was able to receive text messages, and that was our main way to communicate,” said Veraldi, adding she can communicate with all but about one percent of patients that way. “The ease of transmission was seamless. I cannot imagine trying to do that without Opera.”

When Iowa dental clinics were told they could open in May, OperaDDS came to the rescue again, Veraldi says. “We sent everyone a reminder for their appointments and communicated our new COVID protocols. We can tailor whatever instructions we have based on our needs because Opera is so easy to utilize.”

Sticking with OperaDDS

Now when Veraldi gets sales calls from other patient engagement software vendors, she asks a series of questions about whether or not they offer her favorite OperaDDS features, she says. “I say I don’t want to waste your time because Opera is such a good fit.”

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