Practice Management Blog

Why We Keep Changing Things

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
George Bernard Shaw

Here at Power Diary, there’s nothing more important to us than our clients happiness. Underpinning everything we do is our vision to make Power Diary the ultimate Practice Management Software that makes running a health practice easier, simpler and more rewarding.

So our clients sometimes ask us why we keep changing things when they already like the way things are? It’s true, it would certainly be a lot easier (and more profitable) to leave things as they are and not make any updates to Power Diary.

In the long run, we know that progress and innovation is important and in the best interests of our clients, so we wanted to take a moment to explain why we keep making changes, even when they’re sometimes initially unpopular.

Everyone Likes Progress but No-one Likes Change

The crux of the matter is that no-one likes change. Even those of us that say we like change, really don’t when it’s something that affects us and requires us to change too. Of course, we all want progress, but not this kind of progress!

When we make an update to Power Diary, you’ll log in and sometimes find something has moved or is different from what you’re used to. Even if the new way is objectively better, it seems worse as it’s different and it’s not second-nature. We understand, and we’re trying to get better at communicating the changes and making transitions slowly. But we also wanted to explain why it’s necessary for us to keep making changes…

We Change to Keep Pace with Technology Changes

If you think back 20 years, it’s obvious that technology has changed. But what you might not have thought about is that this change is continual and is still happening now. Technology is constantly evolving and we need Power Diary to keep pace and ensure it is suitable for new systems.

Devices Change

Chances are that 10 or even just 5 years ago, you were using technology which was far less powerful than what you use today. We now have much more power available in increasingly smaller devices, which is driving consumers to change their technology choices. For instance, we have many clients who use their smartphones or tablets as a key part of their work.

Consumers naturally expect that the applications and websites they use will work well on their new gadgets – but this actually requires effort and changes to make designs responsive and suitable for each type of device. To prepare for these changes so that we can continue to meet users’ expectations when new technologies become mainstream, we need to predict and prepare our software well in advance.

Browsers Change

You’ve probably noticed that your browser software* regularly updates (hopefully automatically but if not, you should update it!). This is because their developers are constantly responding to newly identified bugs, operating system changes recently identified security vulnerabilities, and also implementing new features.

Over the years, browsers have become much more powerful which enables more processing and cool things to be done at the browser level rather than on back-end servers. This means that apps like Power Diary can run faster and provide more features – like being able to sort reports and export data, etc. Of course, none of that is possible unless we constantly adapt our system to work with these browser changes though.

We Change to Reflect Changes in Usage Patterns

Over time, certain functions within our app become more or less important. Sometimes this is because they’re superseded by other things, or other times it could be more structural. For instance, there are sometimes legal requirements that drive necessary change for both health professionals and technology providers.

Other usage changes can be more subtle like preferences in the user interface or the way to interact with a site. Sometimes there are new developments in these areas that we realise would be beneficial for our clients.

We Prefer Small Step Changes Rather than Big Leaps

We are constantly assessing the technology changes going on around us, considering clients’ requests for new features, and our ideas for providing an ever-improving practice management system. With a clear idea of the direction we’re heading, we will usually then break this into small updates that gradually move us in the desired direction.

While regular and frequent release cycles are generally agreed to be best practice, sometimes this can mean making changes to how a page works, with no perceivable benefit now, but which might be necessary as the groundwork for future developments.

These types of changes can be often be misinterpreted as “change for change’s sake”. However, it’s part of a bigger plan which will keep Power Diary compatible with browsers, new technology, and usage trends.

Ongoing Development Provides Many Benefits

Because Power Diary is a cloud-based software system that prescribes to the philosophy of regular updates (using an Agile approach), it means that clients benefit in several ways.

  • In general, everything just works. Systems are not dependent on hardware or other factors which can be hard to control.
  • You’re always using the latest version. This helps you get the most benefit from the technology as you get updates straight away. You just keep your browser and computer updated, and you’ll be using the latest technology, and security available
  • There are no software compatibility issues. You can use your app on any current browser or device.
  • There is no software to install or upgrade.
  • You don’t need multiple licenses to use the software across all of your devices.
  • Keeping up with the latest technology not only provides better functionality and usability for our clients, but it also helps us attract and retain the best developers. Systems that use old technology or resist changing find it much more difficult to attract developers with a passion for technology and making clinicians’ lives easier.

We firmly believe that regular small, incremental changes are better than less frequent but larger and more disruptive changes.

Of Course, Sometimes We Get It Wrong

Yes, mistakes happen and sometimes a certain scenario isn’t handled well when we release an update. With tens of thousands of clients using Power Diary in a myriad of different ways, unfortunately, it’s difficult to test and consider every possible scenario.

We really appreciate the clients that take a moment to notify us of any errors and we are truly sorry for any inconvenience caused. Unfortunately, we can’t promise this won’t happen, but we can assure you that if this does happen, our team will be onto it right away and working hard to make a quick update to minimise any negative impact. Usually, we are able to resolve any new bugs issues within a few hours.

While we are certainly not always perfect, the long-term improvements from the changes we’ve implemented are hard to argue. Power Diary has never been more powerful or easy to use than it’s current iteration, and we plan to keep improving on that.

Change is Ultimately Best for Our Clients

Still not convinced? Here’s what would happen if we decided to stop making changes to Power Diary…

  • In the short-term, this would be an easy way for us to be more profitable due to lower costs associated with development and support.
  • But slowly, Power Diary would become out-of-date. Of course, this change would be initially imperceptible, but become very noticeable over months or years.
  • Eventually, clients would notice a significant performance drop off.
  • We would be incompatible with newer browsers.
  • In fact, browser updates would break things – and these would not be easily fixed as our technology would already be too far behind.
  • We’d be exposed to security vulnerabilities discovered in other software that we depend on, and be unable to quickly update to the latest version.
  • We would not be able to implement feature requests from clients.
  • The gap between our system and newer technology would become evident, but it would be a massive project to fix this and would involve major, disruptive and riskier upgrades.
  • Inevitably, our user base would decline due to system inadequacies. This would obviously mean reduced revenues, which would mean a reduced capacity to improve technology. Eventually, our client base would shrink to a small group of change-resistant users on a decaying and unviable system.

Unfortunately, the IT landscape is littered with examples of technology systems that neglected to innovate and were not kept up-to-date. We do not intend to join this group!

The Most Important Reason We Change?

Hopefully, we’ve convinced you that regular updates are a necessary part of running any important software business, but our motivations actually run deeper than that. We will continue to innovate and make changes to Power Diary because…

  • We believe in the power of technology to make measurable improvements in the lives of health practitioners and their patients.
  • We believe that health management systems are vital and should be proactively maintained and developed. We take a “prevention is better than cure” approach.
  • We’re excited and motivated to bring the best possible technology and approaches to our customers.
  • Every update we implement is made because we think it will deliver a benefit to our users: whether it be in the short-term or long-term. Our future success is dependent on our clients.

“Change brings about insecurity and uncertainty. But it also enables development and progress.”
Dr. T. P. Chia

*Browsers refer to the software you use to view web pages. They include Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and others.

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