Practice management software is one of the most integral parts of your entire clinical operation, but far too often providers and office managers—who have a lot on their plates already—don’t put in enough time evaluating software to find the one that truly meets your needs. There are a lot of choices out there, and sometimes it’s hard to know which one is going to be best for your clinic. While the software evaluation phase can be stressful, here are a few places where you definitely don’t want to cut corners in the process.
Cost vs Benefit
Medical practice management system price tags can vary quite a bit, with everything from extremely budget-friendly systems that lack some of the key features you might need to systems with all the bells and whistles (at a much higher price) that you may or may not ever use. There are also systems designed specifically for large, multi-site hospital systems with hundreds of providers; while these systems often come with slick sales pitches, they may not meet the unique needs of a small clinic with just a solo provider or a few partners.
The sheer volume of choices may feel overwhelming, so narrow it down to just software designed for small, medium, and independent practices. Next, document key challenges you encounter to determine what features will be most important as you get started. Consider a “modular” system that allows you to start with the basics that you need today at a lower up-front cost, then add more functionality later as your needs change or as you get more comfortable with the software.
Another area where you definitely don’t want to cut corners is with integration. Many practice management systems were built for a very narrow and specific purpose. While they may advertise “integration”, check to see what that integration looks like and whether it’s a series of patches and workarounds to try and integrate systems that were not previously connected. If so, you may run into frustrating delays later. Look for a full suite of programs designed to integrated seamlessly.
Since most office managers and providers aren’t data analysts, it’s important to have a software program that helps you build the reports you need to make good business and clinical decisions and doesn’t require a data analytics advanced degree. Look for pre-built templates and easy-to-use customization for specific reports you want or need. Don’t gloss over this during software evaluation; get detailed information and sample reports from the software provider and ask about a hands-on demo where you can create your own reports to make sure it’s easy and intuitive.
Finally, don’t cut corners on the tech support, especially if you don’t have an in-house IT team. Most medical practice software today is cloud-based, so you won’t need servers to house the data, but you may still encounter issues from time to time. Make sure the company offers full technical support that is easy and accessible.
AdvancedMD offers an integrated suite of software solutions that you can build to suit your specific clinic needs. Talk to us today to learn more.