Your choice of Practice Management Software is absolutely critical to the success and growth of your business. You and your team will be spending most of the day logged into the system and using it to run and monitor many of the core tasks that your practice performs all day, every day - so it needs to be a real friend to all of you!
You need a system that starts by doing the basic things very well and then layering features and functionality from there. A strong foundation in Appointment, Patient and Financial management is the bedrock of a successful product, and additional layers of Analytics, Business Growth and Communication tools are the extras that turn a useful tool into an essential one that will pay for itself many times over, and add value throughout your practice.
So let’s take a look at what you need to know when selecting or reviewing your Practice Management Software.
Cloud or Desktop?
This is one of the easier decisions that you will have to make. The Clinical sector still has a long legacy of desktop based systems on the market. These systems are often built on a platform that is over twenty years old; require you to physically store and manage your data on a server that you pay for, maintain and is located within your practice; need a significant up front licence cost; and are not fully accessible to you or your team from outside the practice.
Cloud based systems take all of the responsibility for secure data storage away from you; are based around a low cost monthly subscription which requires no new hardware or licence investment; are continually upgraded as part of your ongoing subscription; and are accessible from any time and any device - from a smartphone right up to your desktop machines.
Some of the legacy software systems have developed cloud-based elements to allow remote access, but so far these are limited in their functionality and effectively add-ons to the old system rather than being natively integrated tools.
Cloud really is the only way to go for any practice. It is cheaper, more efficient and grows with your business, keeping you fully up to date and secure at all times.
Once you have made this decision, there are some key features that you should expect to find in any good quality software.
- An easy-to-use Online Appointment Management system.
Your day book is the engine of your business and a solution that is flexible, scaleable and easy to use is essential. Plans change and events happen, so your appointment system needs to be able to react and ensure that your daily plans can adapt to these changing needs.
It also needs to be accessible online, not just allowing patients to book appointments from their phone or laptop, but also for your team to be able respond with ease & flexibility to cancellations, sickness and issues as they arise.
- Seamless, Online Patient Management through a Patient Portal.
If you are not engaging your patients online then you are really going to struggle to engage them at all. You need your practice management system to offer online appointments and payments as a matter of course, but also to allow for online treatment plan approval, submission of medical histories and secure signing of forms by patients. With a digital relationship built through these tools, managing your patients comes at the touch of a button, and direct marketing can be targeted with real precision and impact.
These online functions must be integrated seamlessly into your system and deliver a frictionless, unobtrusive patient experience that you can manage from any device, 24/7 wherever you are.
- Treatment and Clinical Planning that is efficient, shareable and secure
Integrated Charting and Treatment Planning supports compliance, improves patient safety and is a must for any practice management solution. Digital charting that is intuitive, uncluttered and clear for both practitioner and patient to read is also essential for confidence, clarity and communication.
The real game-changer for the best systems out there is the ability to share and sign treatment plans digitally with your patients. Discussing a treatment plan in clinic; working up a range of different clinical and financial options; and securely sending them to a patient for consideration, digital signing and return from the comfort of their own home and in consultation with their families, makes for better decisions and improved opportunities for enhanced treatments to be delivered.
- Powerful Financial Management tools
The ability to integrate with your accountancy software and deliver accurate financial information across your practice, segmented by clinician/treatment room, treatment type etc, is a must have for any Practice Management Software.
A system that keeps track of all monies owed, paid, refunded, deferred and pre-paid, and that provides you with detailed reports on all of this is essential for any practice manager or business owner to keep ahead of the key metrics. Add this functionality to online payment solutions and you are fully equipped for cashless and paperless transactions across your practice.
- Detailed Business Performance Analytics - using your data to fuel growth
The best Practice Management Solutions don’t just make your life easier day to day, they also work hard to help you to grow your business.
As a practice owner you need to keep at least one step ahead in understanding how your business is performing and identifying areas for growth and development. Knowing your ADY is one thing, but the ability to know which treatments, which clinicians and which appointment-slots are performing best for you, gives you the knowledge you need to plan promotions, manage resources and maximise your revenues and results.
Your Practice Management Solution should deliver this rich information to you in an easy to read and understand format, and be available to you when and wherever you need it.
And of course, all of these features must be delivered in an integrated package which is secure, very easy and intuitive to use, and accessible from anywhere.
Communication and task management tools that run right across all of the system’s functions are a must - including the online management of all recall and reminder functions, and added features such as online video consultation, dedicated insurance claim processing tools, and lead management are the extras that really set the very best solutions apart from the rest.
Practice Management Software is a critical decision for your business and you need to be fully informed before you make your decision. Our team at Aerona are here to help and advise with the whole process. Contact us today to find out more.