Case study: Norlane Dental

Prioritising investment in clinical technology, dedication to continuous improvement, and a sharp focus on personalised patient care affords Norlane Dental a positive outlook, says Dr Rashi Gupta. 

Dr Rashi Gupta, owner of Norlane Dental, is no stranger to conquering a challenge. Transforming an ageing dental clinic purchased in 2011 from a paper-based operation to a digital one and then navigating two Covid lockdowns merely hints at her determination.

More recently, Norlane Dental moved from its original three-chair practice in the backstreets of Geelong to an eight-chair clinic on the main road. It is located in a service hub with a preschool, day surgery, and medical centre. After just four months, the benefits of expansion are more than “exceeding expectations.”

However, the key to this success runs deeper than a high-spec, modern fit-out and convenient location. According to Rashi, it stems from an unwavering focus on delivering a better patient experience, given that “patient expectations are rising, they want more convenience, more transparency, and they push us for better customer service.”

From here, Rashi is evaluating the best pathway to scale up the practice further by attracting more patients and practitioners, using reproducible systems for service consistency and efficiency, and investing in cutting-edge clinical technology.

Multi-channel marketing activates patient demand

Norlane Dental’s recently appointed in-house marketing team seeks to bring the positive patient experience to life in multiple channels to support patient demand. A strong digital focus includes a website with online bookings and extensive social media use, showing team videos, and ‘before and after’ patient transformations so patients see “friendly faces” and “peer achievements” before arriving.

Newsletters, editorials, radio interviews, as well as patient reviews and recalls are all aimed at engaging what Rashi describes as “four generations of patients coming through the doors.” And it’s making an impact, especially amid increased competition from corporate dental practices.

The foundations of personalised care

Rashi says that easy-to-follow, repeatable systems are crucial to delivering consistent service quality and personalised patient care. Rashi believes that “culture is so important to attracting patients, but it all begins with staff. How we approach support, efficiency, and positivity contributes to the patient experience.”

For Norlane Dental, offering a personal touch relies on shared commitment and responsibility with “everybody knowing their job and doing it to a T.” Rashi says it can be as simple as reception staff ensuring each patient walks out with a treatment plan and next appointment, to “every patient being followed up by the nurse who was with them through the treatment”.

“A practice management system can send automated messages, but this is personalised; it’s about humans, being in touch with the patient and providing quality care.”

Innovation meets changing patient expectations

Norlane Dental is at the forefront of emerging technologies. Rashi is an early adopter of clinical equipment and digital tools that increase efficiencies, shorten patient wait times and drive better patient results.

Rashi says that an on-site 3D printer and X-ray technologies are just some of the technologies speeding up patient procedures. The prospect of same-day crowns and implants or bridge and denture repairs is very well received by patients, as opposed to waiting multiple days.

In addition, the upcoming launch of a General Anaesthetic service will take its well-used Sedation Dentistry offering one step further; fully sedating patients will be highly attractive to those struggling with dental anxiety.

Adopting a continuous improvement mindset

Rashi explains that professional development is vital to the continuous improvement mindset of the practice. Retraining or upskilling staff helps the practice adapt to changing dental practices and patient demand. “We sponsor courses to upskill staff,” Rashi says. “For example, we recently sponsored one of our long-term nurses for a two-year dental technician course, enabling her to help set up and work in the new in-house lab. We consistently invest in trainees within our organisation to develop their skills over time.”

Individual training is supported by whole-of-practice development. Rashi explains that she “mentors dentists in complicated cases, but we do professional courses all the time so that we are always aligned to global best practices”.

Steady navigation of sector challenges

Of course, Norlane Dental is not immune to typical sector challenges. Rashi says that the upward pressure on operational costs is a constant, but the clinic’s strategic responses make a difference.

For instance, using digital tools and social media marketing to drive demand and diversify its services into high-growth areas of dentistry. To help patients navigate cost of living pressures, Rashi also offers tailored payment plans to give patients clarity, flexibility, and comfort. These are just some strategies working together to address persistent challenges.


About CommBank & ADA Dental Insights

The 2024 Dental Insights Report is based on a quantitative survey of 414 decision-makers and influencers at dental practices across Australia. The survey examined practices’ operational and financial performance, strategic priorities and outlook to inform benchmarking and planning activities among practice decision-makers.

Fifth Quadrant conducted online practice surveys on behalf of CommBank Heath and the Australian Dental Association (ADA). The ADA supplied Fifth Quadrant with contact details that enabled it to conduct the research. The study of dental practices was conducted between 27 October 2023 and 17 November 2023. All references to practices in this report refer to those who participated in the survey, unless stated otherwise.

Things you should know

The case study is part of our Dental Insights report which has been published for general information purposes only. As this information has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs, you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances, if necessary, seek professional advice. The Bank believes that the information in the report is correct, and any opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held or made, based on the information available at the time of its compilation, but no representation or warranty, either expressed or implied, is made or provided as to accuracy, reliability or completeness of any statement made in the report. Any projections and forecasts are based on a number of assumptions and estimates and are subject to contingencies and uncertainties. Different assumptions and estimates could result in materially different results.

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