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Automating Practice Management

Automating Practice Management Could Benefit Both Practitioners and Patients

When it is time to call for your first patient, will you be holding thumbs that, between answering innumerable phone calls and making entries in the appointment diary, your overworked receptionist has found the time to locate that lady’s medical file, and that it relates to the right Mrs Smith? Perhaps, instead, you are one of a more enlightened breed of medical professionals who have chosen to simplify their lives by employing a less labour-intensive approach to practice management.

If so, you probably require only a couple of keystrokes in order to display whatever file you may wish to view, in a flash, and with no fear that you may have inadvertently retrieved the wrong one. When it comes to updating those notes, there is no chance that you may later need to decipher some near-illegible scrawl, but presented instead with clearly-typed digital entries in a pre-set, standard format.

This is just one of the ways in which the use of specialised software systems is now simplifying the routine administrative activities, and subsequently transforming the lives of busy doctors, dentists, audiologists, radiographers, and other private healthcare professionals, on a daily basis. The move to a smart practice management solution offers many more benefits than that of simplifying the storage, retrieval and update of patient records, however. Furthermore, one of the main beneficiaries of such a transition is likely to be the patients.

Every minute that is spent on a non-core task, such as preparing the appointment schedule or the payment of staff salaries is a minute less that will then be available for the primary function of all healthcare professionals – caring for his or her patients. Over the course of an average working day, admin tasks can easily occupy the same amount of time as two consultations or perhaps even more. In turn, this means that the time devoted to the many, albeit necessary, practice management tasks that could easily be automated, may quite possibly be serving to impose an unnecessary limit on a practitioner’s earning potential.

Hiring an additional staff member to tackle these tasks is, of course, one way to ease the burden on the medical personnel, but the chosen candidate will require an appropriate qualification, and ideally, some previous experience of the tasks he or she will be required to perform. In return, the potential new incumbent is certain to expect to receive a salary that is commensurate with his or her qualifications and experience. Hiring a dedicated manager could be an effective means to alleviate time pressures. However, it is also quite likely that the cost of this form of practice management solution will cancel out much of the extra income gained by the opportunity to see more patients.

The 21st-century is the digital age, and there is now a computer software programme or a mobile phone app with which to tackle almost any task. While the latter may have little to contribute to the administration of a doctor’s surgery, there is certainly some highly-sophisticated PC software that could prove to be invaluable for this purpose. While the prospect of allocating the responsibility for practice management to a software programme is one that has a widespread appeal, it remains an option that some are still reluctant to adopt. More often than not, that reluctance stems from a number of objections.

Because specialised bespoke software packages, for which there is no mass market, tend to be quite expensive, cost is often seen as an obstacle. In addition, it is often concerns regarding the need for specialised IT knowledge in order to maintain the system and keep it up to date, as well as any special hardware purchases that might prove to be necessary for the efficient operation of the already-costly practice management software.

For those, who may find that some or all of the above concerns are sufficient to dissuade them from further action, there is some encouraging news. Not only is it unnecessary to purchase the software in order to gain access to its many benefits, but it also requires nothing more elaborate than a standard web browser and a reasonable internet connection to get it up and running.

Furthermore, after some basic introductory training, access to all of the required functions is via a uniform, intuitive thin-client interface, and all responsibility for maintaining the server-side software falls to the service provider. To begin benefitting from this innovative practice management solution, contact V Professional Services without delay.

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