What to look for in Good Practice Management Software?
Just put together a few simple requirements to look for in good practice management software, without getting too technical.
A. The ‘must-have’ requirements:
1. On a daily basis, time it saves should be more than time it takes (after it’s set up and existing data is imported)
2. Should be easy to use, not only for you but for your staff as well, with minimum training
3. Should protect your data from viruses and any hardware/software issues
4. Should keep your data confidential, from staff too where necessary
5. Should allow access to data anytime/anywhere and from tablets/mobile – so you don’t get married to one machine
6. Should help you go paperless within a couple of months
7. Support should be available in reasonable time and without having to chase
B. The ‘should-have’ requirements:
1. Should cover all your needs – you don’t want to handle separate software for inventory and accounting, for example.
2. Software should help in your lab work management , material purchases, equipment maintenance
3. Software should help standardize your operational procedures and record-keeping for instance Restorative charting, Dental charting, Perio charting.
4.Software should offer ‘table-service’ – bring the needed info to you rather than you having to dig through hidden paths
5.Software should support multi-clinic management if you have any plans of adding more clinics. It should give you integrated view of all clinics.
C. The ‘I-wish’ requirements:
1. Should help strengthen YOUR relationship with patients
2. Should help promote YOUR brand as a dentist/doctor
3. Should help strengthen YOUR relationship with patients
4. Should bring to your notice the areas in your practice that need your attention
5. Should bring to your notice where/how you can increase your revenues
6. bring to your notice the patients you might be losing to your competition
7. help you gain new patients
The list looks longish. But if these needs are met, imagine how much time & attention you could devote to the actual work! Yes, don’t forget you are a doctor, not a data entry operator or marketer or accountant or programmer!
Add, subtract, modify the list as your highness deems fit. Now, armed with this list and the ‘customer is king’ prerogative, call up the vendors and ask them if they have everything in your A list. Do not compromise on A list.
For next level of scrutiny make a small list behind a paper towel, listing name of product requirements it meets, requirements it doesn’t meet, and cost. Complete the list and go through it all over once. Most likely, the software of your dreams will emerge right away. If it doesn’t, keep this paper towel below your pillow and actually sleep over it for minimum 8 hours. By the time you wake up, the towel would have done its job and you would have an answer!
(PS: There’s a lot of confusion over pros and cons of online v/s desktop software. I will submit my humble opinions in the next blog. It’s entirely your responsibility to ensure it only subtracts from your confusion)