Who are we?

We are made by NHS dentists for NHS dentistry.

Founded by NHS dentists, OpenOdonto CIC is a not for profit company. We think that NHS dentistry is something to be proud of. We are here to make better digital tools that help NHS dentists deliver better care.

OpenOdonto are clinicians who foster relationships with other clinicians across the NHS. We only work with professional technology partners who share our vision. We partner with universities to generate transferable knowledge and support the design and development of digital services. We talk to national policy-makers to advocate for better digital tools for NHS dentistry.

OpenOdonto is a collaborative, open source project developed with contributions from a range of hospitals, institutions, academic departments, companies and individuals. As an open source application, OpenOdonto provides a cost effective option for NHS dentistry. It cannot be sold to 3rd parties and is protected by the OpenOdonto CIC for the benefit of its users.

While it will be possible to download OpenOdonto and use it free of charge, we obviously recommend that clinical installation is handled professionally through a commercial technology partner. This commercial partner will ensure that clinical data integrates with hospital workflows and PAS systems, and that the connections to devices such as radiology and photography are robust.

Why are we doing this?

Technology is changing the world and our expectations. Corporate IT NHS dental systems are lagging behind. They often prevent us from providing the care we know is important to our patients. We want all NHS dentists to see what is possible and stop just accepting what they’re given regarding NHS IT.

Done badly, NHS IT costs a lot and causes problems for clinicians providing care (see this article in the guardian). We think that by having better tools NHS dentists will provide better patient care.

Don’t let digital be done to you.

OpenOdonto understands healthcare system needs and we know how to enable users to gain knowledge that they - and we - don’t have. We’re familiar with the Information governance landscape, and we follow relevant standards and best practices - the more open the better.

Openness and Digital NHS Dental Care.

We believe in solving NHS problems once and sharing solutions with the NHS.
Our ethos is to work openly.

Taking a simple view; being open – open governance and open source – allows effective collaboration and gives a competitive advantage in terms of the potential for lower costs and higher quality. Openness is now standard in the technology industry and in some parts of government, for example the Cabinet Office. Openness within technology stands alongside the openness found in academic culture of sharing openly what we have found through our research.

Take a look at the Government Digital Services Presentation (pdf)

How are we doing this?

Part of a national ecosystem of communities

OpenOdonto is a visible exemplar of national NHS digital strategy. We are a recognised NHS Code4Health community. We know that making better digital tools for the NHS involves understanding people’s needs and ensuring everyone can participate in their creation.

We are one of a range of Code 4Health communities who bring together anyone with a shared interest across all aspects of digital care. Communities start small and continuously improve using real experiences to inform decisions, building upon its membership, adding like-minded people who understand and can help make informed technology decisions.

OpenOdonto provides the Clinical leadership that understands technology and is bold enough to modernise the delivery of digital services by embracing openness. We build up from a deep understanding of the un-met needs of patients and clinicians. We then support the growth of responsive dental services with the digital tools that allow them to flourish. We advocate for and help build the tools that help to meet those needs.

Our approach reflects the recommendations contained in the 2016 Depart of Health report into “Using information technology to improve the NHS” by Robert Wachter.

Build, Test, Iterate

The prototyping of digital tools is part of an agile development process which starts by developing a tool for a limited, defined, user need – starting small – which the users try out and respond to, and which can then be iterated to better solve the real unmet needs.

This process reduces risk, and makes sure we end up with services that meet the real user needs.

Here are some things that we have done.

Community building and Discovery Research

OpenOdonto has allowed clinicians and admin staff from Special Care Dental services in four northern Healthcare Trusts to work with researchers from Newcastle University and health technology professionals. We have developed a deep understanding of who, why and how users care for patients in these dental services using robust research methods to identify and describe un-met needs. We co-designed prototype solutions. This gave a deep understanding of patient, administration and clinician needs, and how these relate to the wider commissioning landscape.

This involved a process of trying, testing, and iteration through paper prototypes, passive and active wireframes of digital tools to support administrators and clinicians in Special Care Dental Services, and the filming of a video prototype.

Prototyping Odonto Electronic Patient Record

Odonto EPR is intuitive and fast. It is made to run in a web browser to ensure that it can be accessed wherever needed. It includes a graphical user interface organised around the dental chart, which allow input of clinical data through a series of icons that relate to dental disease.

We know that safe patient care is provided by dentists who have the information they need.

Therefore, Odonto EPR give you a summary view of each patient. This allows dentists to get an overview of the systemic and dental condition of the patient and ensures allergies and risks are clearly flagged.

Odonto EPR provides a dashboard view of your clinic. This allow you to see patients in your clinic work list and track their progress. The dashboard will also give a messaging feature whereby patient records can be tagged with notes advising on clinical state or future actions. These messages are embedded in the patient record and support clinicians to clinician communication to ensure that patients requiring urgent attention can be flagged.

Prototype Odonto Referral Management System

The point of entry to Special Care Dental Services is by referrals. Our discovery research clearly showed that referrals were source of significant friction and frustration for everyone in this system, including referring dentists, administrators, triaging dentists and patients. We saw considerable (unwarranted variation with the referral systems currently used. We aimed to make a digital tool that actively targeted this unwarranted variation and so ensured the right patient gets to the right place for the right care.

Our supporters

Apperta Logo Northumbria Uni Pennine Trust County Durham and Darlington NHS FT Northumbria NHS Trust Newcastle Uni Newcastle Hospital