Practice Management Software
By Liz Pridham
Whether you are setting up a brand new clinic or enhancing an established practice location, there are many priorities competing for your available budget dollars.
By Liz Pridham
Whether you are setting up a brand new clinic or enhancing an established practice location, there are many priorities competing for your available budget dollars. One of the best investments you can make for your practice is a good Practice Management Software (PMS) program. There are many different systems available: some basic, some with an assortment of bells and whistles. The following tips and ideas will provide you with information so you know how you can profit from a practice management program and what to look for in your software. Making an informed choice is key to ensure your program will give you the information you need to help you make better business decisions, and also to help you provide high-quality service to your clients.
|It will take some time to investigate practice management software options, but the benefits, to you and your clients, of having a system that is right for your practice will be worth it. |
FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT
As a health-care professional, you want your clinic’s first impression on clients to be professional. Your clients want to be in an environment that is professional and caters to them. By introducing practice management software into your clinic, you will be adding one of the components of a positive client experience. Whether it means you are able to schedule appointments more quickly, give your clients statements for extended health care or provide reminders and recalls, PMS is a tool to help you enhance that client experience.
EFFICIENCY, EASE AND SUPPORT
One of the advantages of having a PMS is the time that can be saved compared to maintaining paper records. You work hard, so whether that time saved means you can treat more clients, devote more energy to building your practice or have more time for yourself, it is a benefit that you should realize.
Your chosen profession is massage therapy not information technology. Is the PMS you are considering intuitive, user-friendly and easy to learn? Are there training options if you don’t want to learn by reading a manual? Does your software provider offer you support when you need it? How easy is it to access that support and what are the costs involved? These are all important considerations in choosing a PMS, if you want to spend your time working with your clients rather than your computer.
General Elements – Practice management software should be able to record and manage all your client demographic information. Once your client has completed intake information, your software should allow you to access and update that information quickly and easily. The software should be able to use this demographic information to create a mailing list of your clients or a list of your new clients. Also, it should give you referral information so that you can adjust your marketing plan based on what is working well or not working so well. Client privacy is always important and the software you use should have security features that keep your client records secure.
Your time is valuable and so is your clients’. The software solution you choose should effectively manage appointment schedules – yours and your client’s. It must allow you to provide excellent customer service to your clients with an appointment book that is flexible and easy to use so you can book appointments quickly. It should be simple when you need to add new, and change existing, appointments. You must have quick access when you want to view your schedule or confirm a client’s next appointment. There must be tools available to help you manage your client’s treatment plan by keeping them on schedule.
Accident Claims – Some of the clients you will see in your practice will have injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents or workplace accidents. In many provinces there are extensive paperwork requirements when you treat accident victims. Electronic form submission and billing requirements exist in some places and your software should be able to help you meet these requirements. Many of your clients will need to submit expenses to extended health-care providers. Does the software you are considering have functionality in place to help your clients get what they need for reimbursement?
Reporting Options – A software solution is only a solution if you are able to use it effectively to produce the results you want and the reports you need. When investigating and comparing PMS, check the available reporting options. There should be a range of reports to give you valuable practice information. When you need to create accurate financial reports for your bookkeeper or accountant, it should be straightforward.
Consider the ease of tracking revenue and cash flow. Consider the management of your accounts receivable. A PMS should make producing client receipts and statements effortless, reduce time required for billing and be able to give you numbers that make sense.
As Your Practice Grows – As your practice grows, does your software grow with it? Will it expand to accommodate multiple practitioners? If you are joining an existing practice, is there software in place that will provide for your needs? If your expansion plans include introducing different disciplines will the practice management software support everyone?
It will take some time to investigate practice management software options that are available to you but it is worth the effort. You and your clients will benefit from a software solution that provides features designed for your practice.
After many years working with DCs as a chiropractic assistant, office manager and bookkeeper, Liz Pridham joined the Ontario Chiropractic Association in 2004. As part of the software department she is involved in testing and offers support and training to PMP users. Liz’s clinical experience in multidisciplinary offices along with her background in accounting give her the ability to offer practical examples and suggestions to apply PMP in your office for maximum results.