We are helping NHS dental practices in England to implement the Friends and Family Test (FFT) requirement.

Time before February 2018 results must be submitted

(Date of Submission to NHS: 16 Mar 2018)

To get started, please provide details below:

Practice Name

Your Name

Contact Number

Your Email

Select Your Practice Management System


What is the PatientConnections NHS Friends and Family Test (FFT) Solution?

Friends and Family Test is a regulatory requirement for NHS practices in England, applicable from 1st April 2015.

Welltime has created PatientConnections FFT, a powerful solution that provides:

  • Help with the NHS Friends and Family Test compliance;   ✓
  • Fully automated, works with main Practice Management Systems;   ✓
  • Easy, simple, hassle-free set up;   ✓
  • Nearly 150 practices are already using it;   ✓

Please fill in the form on right to get started.

What is the Friends and Family Test?

The Friends and Family Test is a feedback tool that offers patients the chance to feedback on the treatment and care they have received. The FFT consists of a single question survey, “We would like you to think about your recent experience of our service. How likely are you to recommend our service to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?” At least one follow-up question that gives patients a chance to provide free text feedback should be included in the survey.

Why PatientConnections' FFT Solution?

Dental practitioners are free to use a collection method that suits their patients and the resources available to them. However, there are issues such as cost, technical capability, the ability for text submission and anonymity to be considered. PatientConnections is providing automated and user friendly online feedback system that provides an efficient and effective Friends and Family Test implementation solution.

The NHS website provides more details and guidance about Friends and Family Test. For further information please click the links NHS guidance for Dental Services, Guidance on implementing the Friends and Family Test and NHS Guidance on FFT Score Calculation.

9 Key Benefits of using PatientConnections FFT Solution

  1. Welltime is offering a Friends and Family Test solution (PatientConnections FFT). It will be available for all practices of all sizes.
  2. PatientConnection FFT is based on an already tested, mature and solid technology platform with a rapidly expanding customer base (last year we processed over 38,000 feedbacks).
  3. It is already integrated with a number of popular Dental Practice Management Systems, which means automation and ease of use, resulting in no (or very little) work required by the practice team. It makes life hugely easier for staff which achieving effective compliance.
  4. We are making iOS and Android Apps available for the practices to use with tablets / smart phones in the practice (tablets/phones would need to be procured by the practices).
  5. There is also a QR code based digital mobile FFT form included in the offer, allowing people to scan and fill FFT form on their smart phones.
  6. Welltime would provide a PDF document template that the practices can use for paper based FFT collection (allowing multiple channels of accessibility for different patients)- accompanied by a secure Web Form to input the result of paper surveys (probably would take about 5-10 minutes each month); The results from all of these different channels would be aggregated to get the main FFT recommendations results.
  7. Results are automatically compiled, graphs created, and the system would provide one click submission to NHS- as well as automatically preparing an FFT Score certificate for printing and displaying inside the practice and displaying FFT Score on the practice website.
  8. We have a free FFT calculator on the site available for anyone to use to get their FFT results.
  9. One big pain for mix practices (with the NHS and Private patients) is to make sure Friends and Family Test information being  submitted to the NHS only contains NHS patients’ responses. This is a manual and labour intensive task. PatientConnections FFT can automatically aggregate the NHS patients information for submission to the NHS, resulting in saving of time and stress for the dental practice teams.

Friends and Family Test Score Calculator

The Friends and Family Test is a simple, comparable test which, when combined with follow-up questions, provides a mechanism to identify both good and bad performance and encourage staff to make improvements where services do not live up to expectations. We have created a FFT score calculator for the healthcare providers to understand how the scores are calculated.

Check out FFT Calculator

Want to learn more? Enjoy the encounter of the Tough Dentist and the Wise Wizard of Waverley….

 As I was going through the Edinburgh Waverley station, I saw a notice that Waverley station is the only station in the world named after a novel, also there were some philosophical quotes by Sir Walter Scott. In my mind it somehow transported me to a strange mystical place with wizards and witches and fire breathing dragons, and of course, the fiery dentists. Below is the conversation from my head, but, if it all looks a bit surreal, I blame it fully on the Waverley station :)              wizard 

The wizard: The NHS is bringing out a patient feedback mechanism it calls Friends And Family Test, or FFT for short. The FFT is a feedback tool that supports the fundamental principle that people who use NHS funded services should have the opportunity to provide feedback on their experience that can be used to improve services. It is a continuous feedback loop between patients and practices. It consists of a specific single question; with the wording:
“We would like you to think about your recent experiences of our service. How likely are you to recommend our dental practice to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?”.
Patients provide answer on a six point scale (choice of one from six options):
Extremely likely, Likely Neither Likely nor unlikely, Unlikely, Extremely unlikely and Don’t know.

This question is then followed up by a free text question (i.e. patients are asked something for which they can input their opinion in a text box, rather than needing to choose from a selection of responses). A practice can ask anything like Why have you given the above response? Or, What can the practice improve? Or, What do you like about the practice? etc.  Then provide a free text space underneath for patients to provide their responses…

The practice then needs to compile all the results and submit it to the NHS every month, as well as publish or display the results locally (e.g. by putting results on the practice website, displaying on the noticeboard in the practice   waiting room etc.)

The submission to the NHS is only required for the NHS treatments FFT recommendations scores, i.e. number of responses of Extremely Likely, Likely, Neither likely or Unlikely, Unlikely, Extremely Unlikely and Don’t Know responses provided by the NHS patients; you would need to submit the number of responses in each category as well as the break down of responses collected by each channel, e.g. email, paper based forms, tablet or iPads, SMS etc.); the free text answers do not need to be submitted to the NHS, the practice should make sure this feedback is taken into account.

The opportunity to provide this feedback needs to be available to all patients.

The patients should be provided with the option to remain anonymous

The Wizard: If you are not based in England, or if you do not treat any NHS patients, you don’t need to be bothered at all. This requirement is applicable to the NHS Dental Contracts in England (it has been in operation for Hospitals and GP surgeries already). If you do have NHS patients, you need to be compliant as this is a legal requirement from 1st April 2015 for all NHS dental practices in England.

The Wizard: Right, perhaps the quickest way would be to put paper forms or cards in the reception area with these questions on it. You could also consider posting them to patients after their appointments. Unfortunately this wouldn’t be the cheapest or the easiest, because

  • NHS wants all NHS patients to be given the opportunity to be asked the FFT question and respond,
  • It is a process run on a continuous basis; which means you can’t do a survey annually, it has to be ongoing.
  • NHS is encouraging practices to provide as wide a patient population as possible the chance to provide their feedback. Given that most patients are in a hurry to get back to their work or home, many of them might not stop and respond.
  • The practice team would have to input all the results from different collection mechanisms (email, SMS, phone, paper forms) into computer and compile the FFT Recommendation scores, which then needs to be submitted to the NHS on monthly basis. You would also need to display it locally, e.g. print out monthly results to display in the practice waiting room, and / or put them on your website (a bit of a challenge if you are not a techie yourself). Plus, if you are running a mix practice, you have to filter out the responses private patients provide (NHS submission must be based on NHS patient responses only).

Normally, patients coming out of the surgery are in a hurry to get back to work or home, the ones who tend to stop and fill up feedbacks may sometimes have good things to say, but quite often they have a gripe…. Over time your practice may accumulate a lot more negative feedbacks, it starts to skew the results negatively because the positive feedback majority’s voice isn’t included, – it is certainly not a fair reflection of the hard work of the practice team- a bit demoralizing if you ask me.

You could also put a little IT form on your website, however, that means patients would need to go to your website and fill it up (assuming they know your web address and remember to do it. Mind you, you would be filtering out some people who don’t have internet access (that’s a big No No with the NHS who wants access for all).

For these reasons, paper based forms or just the web form are not the easiest or most hassle-free way, so I won’t recommend them.

The Wizard: Well, If you must put it that way- I prefer to call it educating , awareness raising and helping out. Anyway, I am suggesting a solution that facilitates the dental practices in compliance with the Friends and Family Test, in an easy, quick and hassle-free way. I call it “Solve your FFT requirement with one click”.

  • Basically, you (the dentist) click a link, a software automatically installs on your computer. In the evening, it checks all the patients that came to the practice from your Practice Management System, it then automatically sends them an email with a request to provide FFT feedback. The computer system automatically compiles all the results, which means you or your staff don’t have to battle with Excel formulas.
  • It creates monthly reports ready to submit to the NHS with a click of a button. It also creates the recommendation scores in the form of a monthly achievement certificate that you can print and display in your practice.
  • Because PatientConnections solution works with your practice management system (being integrated with most of the UK dental systems), it can automatically filter out the Private patient responses to make sure only NHS treatment responses are submitted.
  • You also get pretty charts and graphs in the reports to see how many patients have responded, and with the advance reporting package you can display the responses split by demographic segments (eg. Male/Female, age brackets etc.).

The Wizard: In that case your receptionist should be asking and collecting patient email addresses.

It is a good business practice, as it would benefit the practice by enabling you to send additional messages and promotional offers to the patients (huge savings in postage costs).

In addition, you can install a separate plug-in we provide that alerts the receptionist if the incoming patient does not have email address on practice record, or if their Post code or Date of Birth is missing- or if practice needs to get their consent for marketing communications. I call this plug-in Rapport (did you get it, from the French Rapporter meaning relation, connection, to bring back) it comes at a small monthly subscription cost, you should definitely check it out (Rapport link)

The Wizard: I am glad you asked, it would indeed work with the major practice management solutions in the UK. It works with Carestream Dental (CSD) R4 and R4 Plus, Software of Excellence (SoE) Exact, iSmile, Pearl, and a few others I can’t remember the names of, I will ask my apprentice to send you the list by a pigeon, I do know the list is ever expanding and the service can be provided to over 90% of UK dental practices.

The Wizard: Well, first of all, any change takes time, it’s never wise to leave things till the last moment. However, there is a hidden opportunity in here. If you start now, you would have a month to get your internal house in order, to streamline your operations and procedures to make sure majority of patients are selecting ‘Extremely Likely’ for you.

This is very important, the way NHS scoring works, ‘Extremely Likely’ and ‘Likely’ options are  counted as recommendations, the scoring process ignores ‘Neither Likely Nor unlikely’ and ‘Don’t Know’; and rest of the options are counted as Not Recommended (sum of ‘Unlikely’ and ‘Extremely Unlikely’). The effect of this method is that it increases the extent to which scores will be adversely affected by respondent choosing options other than the top two choices “Extremely Likely” and “Likely”(check out the FFT Calculator to understand the calculations process better).

It is therefore important to organize yourself, your team and streamline your operations in order to get maximum number of ‘Extremely Likely’ and ‘Likely’ recommendations on the NHS FFT.

Comes April 2015, by that time, if 99% or 100% of your patients are recommending your practice on the NHS Friends and Family Test, imagine what would happen when the NHS publishes these results on its websites like NHS Choices; this would act like a huge big advertising slogan with national exposure, your practice would be among the very few with very high ratings (like 99% or 100%) of recommendation rate from the patients, that would help generate new leads and instill confidence in patients (NHS sites have a lot of credibility and weight in influencing future patients to become your customers). You can simply convert this legal requirement- a chore- into a massive advertisement and marketing opportunity for your business growth.

The Wizard: Ah… Good, so you were paying attention. Yes, no system can cover 100% population (although with increasing trend of smart mobile phones ownership and over 95% of UK households connected to the broadband, the email communications through mobile and the Internet is increasing significantly). It has to be a mix of different options.

With our system you get a free app for iPad (working with iOS, which means it can also run from an iPhone) as well as an Android app (allowing it to run from android phones or numerous tablets running Android)…. btw, the android tablets are a bit cheaper than iPads as there is more choice and variety available, so well worth considering (check out these links).

When patients are coming out of the surgery, they can provide their feedback through the tablets. We also have a mobile form that can be accessed by scanning a QR code, I think this method would be more popular with youngsters (in my time we used to play with our wands, now kids play with these mobiles and console thingamajigs).

Some of my apprentices are working on additional mediums such as the audio system alternative for the visually impaired, a multi lingual mechanism for people whose first language is not English, a very visual Icon and Video based mechanism for people with learning difficulties, so hopefully we would have all the bases covered.

Finally, we can put paper based forms, for the few people who only want to use pen and paper. In this case (and hopefully these would be very few), these results can be quickly input by a practice team member into an especially provided web form. Results from all of these different streams would be aggregated and compiled in one central score and reports are submitted to the NHS and published locally.

The Wizard: Not really, it is a done through a bunch of formulas, however, it is a chore and needs to be done every time (it is boring). Have a look, the NHS has provided the formulas to calculate the Friends and Family Test score here. Plus, you can use my handy magical web based Friends and Family Score calculator, simply input your own values, it does the math for you. You should also note that NHS is moving away from the ‘FFT score’ and adopting the ‘Recommended’ vs. ‘Not Recommended’ information approach. 

The Wizard: I am indeed glad to hear that. In essence this fully automated service means peace of mind for dentists and compliance with the regulations, trust me, you would have happier and relaxed practice team when they don’t have to do this stuff manually.

Getting started with this solution is easy, simply fill up the form on the right panel and submit, we will help you with the process and send you the information, just follow the instructions, it is as easy as taking a tooth out, or making a magic concoction to straighten all your teeth. If you do get in trouble, note the phone number and give me a call, I will get one of my able apprentices to help you out.

OK. Adios my friend, So long, see you later…. Abracadabra…. Swish…..KabooOOOm!

What are you waiting for? SIGN UP today and enjoy the benefits of our FFT solution!

Sign Up Today