Good practice management software is vital to the success of your private practice. Second only to an excellent Medical PA, your chosen practice management system contributes to the smooth running of daily operations of your practice. It ensures everything stays organised, safe, and efficient for you, your PA, and your patients.
For both you as the clinician and your Medical PA on the admin side, your practice management software will become an indispensable tool and something your Medical PA will use daily. Getting the right system that works for both of you is essential.
If you’re just getting started in your private practice, the range of options available might feel overwhelming. If you’re not sure what your practice will need as it evolves, how do you decide on the right choice for you?
Our MD Annabel and our team of Medical PAs have a lot of experience with many different PMS solutions. If you’re unsure where to start, we can help you develop your requirements and make recommendations that are right for you. Consider booking a discovery call with Annabel for a free, no-obligation discussion about your needs.
We’ve put together this post to help you better understand what a practice management system is and why you need one, as well as learn how to evaluate the options available so you can make the right choice for you.
What is practice management software?
Practice management systems are software programmes that carry out a range of essential tasks for your practice. They allow you to store patient records securely, documents and communication, create an efficient diary system, schedule your clinics and appointments, help you keep on top of billing and even carry out video consultations and offer online appointment booking in some newer, cloud-based systems.
All systems worth considering will include the core functionality you’d expect. Still, each system will have a different user interface, integrations, and setup configurations that will make a difference in your unique situation. Those details can dramatically affect how efficiently you run your practice.
As standard, practice management software should allow you to:
- Set up and manage your diary
- Create and manage patient appointments
- Create and manage patient records
- Store important patient information securely
- Create and send invoices
- Send letters and emails to patients
- Be GDPR and data protection compliant
Additional features might include:
- Email and SMS templates for appointment reminders
- Video consultations built directly into the system
- Integrations with pharmacy services, Healthcode and payment gateways such as Stripe for online payments
Why do I need a practice management system?
Storing your patient folders, clinic letters and reports and other data across different platforms like cloud storage, word documents and spreadsheets might initially seem efficient. However it just isn’t airtight. Excellent data protection and privacy is vital, so storing all your information in one database ought to be a priority.
A practice management system is a time-saving tool too. With one system, your PA doesn’t have to spend time going between different disjointed systems exporting and importing data. It’s all in one place. Emailing out your clinic letters encrypted with attachments becomes streamlined and more secure. Importantly, there’s a trail to confirm the time and date the document was sent.
Another important point to mention is that if your PA is saving time by using a purpose-built practice management system, you’ll end up saving money too. At MPM you only pay for the hours you need from your Medical PA. When your PA uses a more efficient system, they can achieve the same results in a lot less time.
How do you choose a practice management system?
There are a lot of options available to you. Making the right choice will come down to evaluating your requirements and ensuring that potential providers can meet them. Here’s how to go about making the decision.
Start with a list of features
We think the best way to begin evaluating your requirements is to start with a feature requirements list. You can then take that requirements list to providers and have them confirm what is and isn’t included in their solution.
Make a list of things you expect your private practice software to be able to do. Be detailed and don’t assume anything. Your list should contain as many features as possible to ensure you don’t miss anything when choosing a provider. An oversight here might mean problems in the future if you commit to a provider and realise you missed a key feature before you went forward.
Get input from your Medical PA
Getting input from Annabel in your discovery call or if you’re already a client of MPM, your Medical PA would be a great idea. They will be using the system day in and day out, so their input will be valuable. The MPM team has lots of experience with different systems, so we can advise you on the pros and cons and point you in the right direction to some of our recommended systems that have proven tried and true.
Arrange demos with providers
All providers should offer you a comprehensive free consultation and demonstration of their software so that you can make an informed decision. Make a shortlist of companies that seem to meet the basic needs of your requirement list.
Most providers will be happy to offer a demonstration of their software and a free consultation to discuss your practice and specific needs. A number also then provide a remote training session once you agree to sign up for both yourself and your Medical PA.
During your discussions with the providers, you’ll want to tick off the core requirements, but be sure to check some of the additional elements about working with them:
- Is the solution a cloud-based one, or does it need to be installed onto each computer?
- Are there any licencing fees for additional users?
- What is the customer support service like? This really does range from fantastic to poor!
- Which integrations does it offer? E.g. Pharmacy, billing and payments for online booking?
- Does the provider offer an online booking system?
- Does the provider offer video consultations built-in?
- Does the provider offer data migration (if you already have a system in place and are looking to move)?
Need help making your decision?
Making the final decision will be up to you, and whilst no system is perfect, you’ll be able to get close to meeting all of your needs by following the comprehensive process we describe above.
If you would like to get help going through this process, please contact us to arrange a free discovery call to talk about your practice.