The Practice Management Software (PMS) that you select for your practice will significantly influence the clinical and commercial operating efficiency, for both your practice and practitioners.
When it comes to the time of choosing your PMS, think carefully about what you want to gain from your software and analyse your options in great detail. Once you open your practice with one PMS, it is very difficult to then move to another if you change your mind.
Here are some things to consider when it comes to choosing the right PMS for your practice:
1) Does it include clinical and management functionality?
Your PMS should be an end to end tool across your whole practice, from booking appointments, patient records, to financial reporting and management. There are many PMS solutions that exist that are one or the other, which has the potential to cause you a plethora of headaches.
One system across your whole clinic is beneficial in more ways than one, including saving you a lot of time and money in the long run.
2) Does it include comprehensive reporting?
Reporting on your practice finances, payroll, patient statistics, and the wellbeing of your practice should be easy and not too time consuming. When you look into PMS solutions, think about what you need to be going over each week or month to asses whether your practice is on target, and view demonstrations of those reports. The data should be comprehensive, easy to read, and customisable.
3) Does it offer 24/7 support?
If one day your PMS stopped working, it would be very difficult for your staff to do their jobs, and could even affect the bottom line of your business. Make sure your PMS provider offers full system support and has the resources to give you and your practice their full attention if something goes wrong.
A good support plan should also include detailed staff training for the PMS, as well as regular updates that keep your PMS system running like a health and well-oiled machine.
4) Is it flexible?
A flexible PMS system is a tool that moves and grows with your practice, just as your business will grow the longer you operate. Look into extra upgrades, support, plans, capabilities, and training that you might look to as your patient base grows.
A flexible PMS system also means that they are able to scale their services as you need them, and will integrate with many other tools that you might use at your clinic, such as; online booking integration (HealthEngine), recalls, and SMS reminders.
5) Does it work with your budget?
It seems like an obvious question, however when you consider this ensure that you take into account the software’s ease of use. An easy to use product will end up saving you time, and keeping your staff members happy, aditionally it will mean less training and support time.
Also take into account subscription costs as well as any other extra ongoing costs – will you get charged for training and support? How much will installation and setup be? Will an expensive all bells and whistles PMS affect your bottom line too much for the size of your practice? Can you afford to not get a slightly more expensive PMS?
Hot tip: When negotiating prices with PMS vendors, remember that the number of new practices setting up, as well as the small percentage of practices changing vendors, mean limited opportunities for them. This may give you a little bit of wiggle room for negotiation and the vendors should be happy to work for your contract.
Therefore challenge them to prove the long-term value of their product and their ability to offer you the required support in staff and clinician training, product upgrades and handling of technical issues.
6) Do they integrate with Online Booking Systems?
Naturally, we believe this is an important detail. From our statistics, new practices opening with HealthEngine build up approximately 20% of their new patient base by being found via an online booking service, the majority of which will come back again.
If you integrate with an online booking system, over 70% of your patients are most likely to use online booking for their future appointments after the first time they have booked.
There’s a lot to be gained by integrating with an online booking system.
To summarise, the PMS you choose should be ready to support you, your practice, and your team with whatever needs you require. You should be able to get the PMS setup and your staff trained with a budget that works for you, and we do strongly suggest that you look into whether online booking integrations are offered.
Now that you’re equipped to make an informed decision on your PMS vendor, it’s time to think about your marketing plan. How will you find your patients, and how will they find you?