When selecting practice management software (PMS), it’s very easy to get carried away by all the bells and whistles that are on offer. However, choosing the right system is much like learning how to practice medicine in a number of ways. Most particularly, it’s vital that you study the fundamentals and make sure you can get the basics right before you progress to greater things. Medesk represents a rare combination of mastery of the fundamentals and regular addition of newer, more specialised tools.
In our experience, even when practice managers and other decision-makers are acutely aware of the challenges they are facing in their work, it can often be difficult to understand what the exact solution to a given problem might be. This is true to the extent that we see the same errors occurring time and time again. Make sure you don’t join the ranks of those who’ve chosen the wrong system for what they think are the right reasons.
Failing to Focus on Fundamentals
This one is so crucial to selecting a medical practice management software solution that most of the introductory paragraph of this entire article has already been dedicated to it. While it’s all well and good having some cool features that enable you to complete a very niche task, searching for such a holy grail often means that you do so at the expense of far more valuable features.
Here's what you need to make sure your new practice management software includes so it doesn't push your practice to the brink:
Automated booking confirmations and reminders by SMS/email to boost patient retention
Colour-coded tagging to track and report clinical and business data
Templated consultation notes for rapid data entry
Automatically generated referral letters and prescriptions
What Is the Best Practice Management Software for Your Clinic?
Since you won’t be the only one using the practice management system you end up choosing, you shouldn’t really expect to be the only person involved in the decision-making process. This rings true whether you are a practice manager or, indeed, the owner of the whole business. While your opinion should certainly carry weight, yours must not be the only voice in the room if you are to achieve the success you are aiming for.
Given the multiple roles of staff involved in running a clinic, you should try to involve at least the following people:
- Practice manager
- The clinical director or another senior clinician
Problems that new users of the wrong PMS can potentially face include:
- Not everyone learns at the same speed
- Training sessions are not individualised
- The software company outsources your training
- Customer support is slow and costly
Overall, make sure the right staff member is in charge of choosing a PMS. They will need to be sufficiently IT literate as well as understanding the clinic's workflow intimately. Ideally, it will be the practice manager and/or clinical director, who will best understand the potential for a PMS in your clinic.
Forgetting about Ongoing Tech Support
You need a good relationship with the team responsible for the PMS. When choosing, make sure that all of your questions are answered directly and with supporting evidence. You do not want to make the mistake of choosing a PMS that turns out not to support your needs.
To guarantee that your PMS does what you expect, leverage these tech support options:
- Use Live Chat with a rapid response time of 5 minutes or less
- Check that tech support includes annotated screenshots and step-by-step advice
- Ensure that you benefit from screen sharing for direct support
Not Taking the System for a Trial Run
Every practice management system is unique in its own way. You may find that some systems fit your management style perfectly whereas others do not. The trick is to find out in advance exactly which PMS you need for your clinic. If you’re able to take a few software packages for a trial run, you’ll have a much better understanding of which ones suit you best.
When you trial practice management systems in healthcare, examine the following crucial points:
- Ensure that you choose a platform that can run on mobile devices
- Ascertain that the system works on your clinic's computers
- Check your data is encrypted and stored securely
- See whether your PMS stores all their data in the UK
- Always ask your PMS provider if you are unsure
Not Matching up Your Workflow to the Platform
You most likely have a specific workflow that you follow for each task, whether clinical or admin-related. To ensure that you get the most out of your workflow, it’s worth making sure that your chosen software can replicate or improve your colleagues’ work as you go digital.
There’s plenty that can go wrong if you don’t pick the right PMS. Here’s what to do in order to avoid some of the most typical mistakes when choosing medical software:
- Produce a clear roadmap of your objectives
- Make your needs clear to the PMS provider
- Be open to dialogue with your colleagues
- Expect your workflows to be optimised for the digital world
- Make sure your colleagues get specialised training for their role
A “To Not Do” List When Selecting a PMS
1. Do not forget to focus on the fundamental needs of your clinic
2. Do not fail to engage your colleagues in the decision-making process
3. Do not underestimate the amount of technical support you may need at the start
4. Do not purchase a PMS without thoroughly examining a trial version
5. Do not hesitate to ask all the questions that come to mind, no matter how seemingly trivial
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