Comparing Practice Management Software

Are you the owner of a clinic?

Do mountains of paper surround you?

If so, you are not only amid a potential fire hazard; you could also be losing business.  

You need to go online and find the best Practice Management software for your clinic. 

But wait. Have you sat down as the clinic owner and thought about what matters to you regarding the software features you want. 

Is your choice going to be based purely on price? 

Does the software and its ability to integrate with external platforms matter to you? (e.g. External payment parties, private/public health providers like Medicare or ACC etc.)  

Do you want a clinic management system that offers online bookings? 

Does the software you are looking at come with responsive support? 

Is the software secure? Who can access it? 

There are a lot of areas that you need to consider before jumping online, finding some practice management software and signing on the dotted line. 

First up, and most important, is that you must do your research. No one else is the owner of your clinic. Any number of people can advise you about which software might be the best but keep in mind while that particular software fits their clinic, it might not fit into yours. 

As a suggestion, you could create a list or a spreadsheet. You could divide this into, say, three sections like, for instance, what you must have, what you want to have, and the dream features you would love to have. 

That way, when you start making your comparisons, you can put the features from each software product into your list, and you will soon get an idea of which private management software you may want to end up using. 

As you begin your research, it pays to have an understanding of encryption and 2-factor authentication. As the clinic owner, if these concepts are not your area of expertise, it may pay to find someone in your business or elsewhere who is an expert to assist you with that. 

It should help if you had an understanding of security and backups as well. How secure is the software? Is it cloud-based or hardware-based? How often do backups occur, and how will these impact the availability of the software and its uptime.

 When you understand encryption, backups and security, see if you can do a free trial of a UK Practice Management Software you have found. 

A reason for trying the software out before purchasing is that it is often not until you do it yourself that you understand how it works. 

For example, does it take half an hour to book an appointment through the software you are trying to check out? Do you have to click through page after page? Do you have to answer twenty questions from your mothers maiden name to your favourite colour before you can even book a date/time? 

If so, that particular software might not be the best for you. 

Aside from the software being relatively straightforward to use, you need to also go through the following aspects. 

First up, but in no particular order, there are a few things you should consider. 

What kind of service and support does the practice management software offer. What are the costs involved? Who is providing the tech support? It pays to consider what would happen if the support was not available. It is, for instance, hardly worthwhile choosing a company that will only offer three days week support when you need five days or even twenty-four seven days a week support. 

You next need to look at how the software allows you to carry out patient management. Does it let you quickly add new patients? Does it enable you to collect their data easily, and finally, does it promote patient retention. Giving your patients are the reason your clinic exists; these matters do need your attention. 

Now, what about third party management. Do you need to have a straightforward system that allows easy integration between your clinic and insurers, Medicare/ACC etc.? If the software makes this difficult and is one of your must needs, you may need to look elsewhere. 

Your clinic also no doubt needs to focus on the financial side of things. It would be best to think about how you reconcile at the end of the day and what you need data-wise for the end of the financial year. Like encryption, etc., mentioned above, if this is not your area of expertise, it may pay to talk about it with your accountant and or finance team.  

As a clinic owner as well, you no doubt have staff. Does the software need to provide multiple tools for you so that you can track your team, pay their wages and keep on top of their KPI’s. If so, keep these in mind when you are making your comparisons. 

Marketing is another aspect to prioritise. First of all, you may have a spectacular website for your clinic, but if the software you choose does not have a variety of straightforward ways to communicate with patients or methods to speed up the process through automation, perhaps it may not be for you. 

Is the software full of jargon using over-complicated terminology? If so, then perhaps it may pay to reconsider. One of the last things you want is for a patient to find your website then discover it is all glitter and no substance. If a patient cannot go online and book an appointment in a matter of a few clicks, then they won’t. They will look elsewhere. 

Lastly but certainly of no less importance is practice management. Keep in mind your clinic’s biggest challenges. Can the software you are currently researching help resolve some or all of these challenges? 

Can the software enable you to manage growth in your team, or if required, allow you to open in new locations easily? Does it give you access to your operation metrics? 

The topics above are a guide to help you choose the right practice management software for your clinic. These questions are not exhaustive, and you could well have more to add. As the owner of your clinic, the crucial part is that you have the final say in which one you purchase and therefore use.