What Is Practice Management Software?
Practice management software (PMS) is a program used to operate healthcare practices. The software adds value by streamlining appointment booking, simplifying invoicing and billing, and managing client medical records.
Most systems will include appointment calendars, a client database, clinical notes, client correspondence, appointment reminders and financial reporting.
Other features that may be included are telehealth functionality, online forms, payment processing, online bookings, client communication templates, appointment confirmations, client waiting lists, clinical note templates, integrations to other vital systems and detailed practice reports.
EHR & Practice Management Software
When deciding on the best practice management software for your practice, it’s important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Many health practices run two separate systems: one to manage electronic health records (EHRs) and another to manage client information. Unfortunately, these systems overlap in scope and usually don’t work together.
An infinitely more powerful and robust solution combines both practice management software and EHR capability. Power Diary is one such solution with over 100 features, including calendar management, SMS and email communication, telehealth video calls, online forms, client management, clinical notes, online bookings, payments and invoices, reports and analytics, and robust integrations (for online payment processing, accounting, marketing and more).
What Is the Purpose of Practice Management Software?
Your clients should be your focus, and everything in your practice should be geared toward giving them the best experience. Practice management software is an integral cog in this process as it introduces efficiencies that you and your team would otherwise have to absorb, which would then take them away from other value-adding activities.
Practice Management Software Benefits
The best practice management systems will give you benefits, including:
Streamlined Administrative Workflow
When your team isn’t spending their time chasing payments, following up on appointments and preparing notes, they have more time to see clients and engage in marketing activities.
Using the benefits of good practice management software means access to SMS and email appointment reminders on autopilot, which significantly over reduces cancellations and no-shows.
Stronger Client and Partner Relationships
The right software makes communicating and building strong relationships with clients and third parties easy. Setting up and using templates makes sending a referral feedback letter or new appointment SMS a breeze, and your clients and partners will appreciate it, too.
You are primed for growth with a proper practice management system in place. All team members have access to the information they need to do their jobs, and new team members can be onboarded quickly. When you want to add a new location, your practice management system can also handle that, managing your appointments between locations seamlessly.
Online practice management software means you can run your practice from anywhere in the world if you have a secure internet connection. Whether you want to work from home or on a tropical island, your data is securely stored in the cloud, and you have the flexibility to run your business as you choose.
Always Up to Date
Unless you’re a tech guru, and most practice owners aren’t, keeping your systems updated is a headache. Using cloud-based practice management software means that responsibility becomes someone else’s: you get an up-to-the-minute software solution that’s updated weekly, and you don’t even have to say thank you.
Safe, Secure Data Storage
One of the most significant risks for a healthcare practice is data theft. You need a solution where you retain ownership of the data while enjoying the protection of a secure server that runs regular backups and has a multi-faceted data protection approach.
How to Choose the Best Practice Management Software
1. Compare Features
Before deciding on the right solution for your practice, it’s important to look at the features of top practice management software solutions. Not all options offer the same set of features, and some may only be available for an additional fee.
- Calendar management: Whether you’re a solo practitioner or managing multiple practice locations, you need a universal calendar (with waitlist functionality) that allows you to manage multiple calendars in one place without needing to click around to get to where you need to be.
- Client communication options: Meet your clients where they’re at with SMS and email communication at the click of a button. Automating appointment reminders, sending SMS or email promotions, and keeping in touch has never been easier.
- Online Booking & forms: Improve the accuracy of your information collection and eliminate paperwork when you take client forms online. It’s the perfect solution for new client intake forms, telehealth consent forms, and any other client forms you’re currently using.
- Telehealth functionality: Post-COVID telehealth consultations have become the norm for many healthcare practitioners, but many practices use unsecured technology that was not designed as a long-term solution. Telehealth functionality that meets your needs and the requirements of your regulatory boards is a useful feature to consider.
- Client management system (CMS): Worried about outdated contact information? Not sure where you saved information about your client’s last visit? That’s all solved with a CRM that manages all your clients’ data in one place, including basic details, contacts, insurance, referrals, appointments, invoicing, classifications and preferences (and you should be able to communicate with them without leaving your account).
- Secure payment options: Outstanding account management is a thing of the past with seamless invoicing integrated into your practice management software. Make sure your software can handle payer allocation, listing single or multiple services, including insurance details and recording full or partial payments.
- Comprehensive reporting: Take a bird’s eye view of your practice at the click of a button with detailed client, financial, and system reports, so you know exactly how your business is doing at any time.
- Robust integrations: You need a system that talks to other software your practice needs, like an online payment processor, accounting system, or marketing automation platform so that processes can be automated and errors don’t creep in.
2. Consider Industry Fit
Once you have an idea of the features that will be most helpful for your practice, you can narrow down the options by looking at whether the practice management software you’re leading towards is designed to meet the needs of your practice.
- Health & wellness industry: Personal trainers, nutritionists, dietitians, massage therapists, and acupuncturists enjoy features like customised templates for notetaking, appointment reminders to reduce no-shows and a “Book Now” feature so clients can make their own appointments.
- Healing & recovery industry: Physical therapists, chiropractors, and occupational therapists benefit from features such as treatment notes (with the ability to mark up diagrams), a Physitrack integration, and an easy way to manage busy schedules.
- Specialty healthcare industry: Podiatrists, speech therapists, osteopaths, homoeopaths, and naturopaths enjoy access to reporting for growth and improvement insights, as well as being able to refer back to previous appointments and a complete client history record.
- Mental healthcare industry: Mental health professionals such as psychologists, therapists, counsellors, and social workers need the security of knowing that sensitive client information is securely stored as well as session notes and a library of templates.
3. Calculate Cost
The best software solution, if you are looking to grow your practice, is one that scales with you both in terms of cost and functionality. That way, whether you add practitioners or another location, your system can expand with you without needing to switch to another solution or upgrade to a higher subscription tier with a correspondingly higher price point.
Additionally, when trying to work out the cost of practice management software, consider that some software options offer a limited feature set at lower tiers, which means additional charges should you need to add those features further down the line.
Power Diary has a simple pricing structure, charging per practitioner using the software, and the price per user decreases as more users are added (administrative staff are not charged). With a subscription, you get access to all Power Diary features. It’s easy to see why Power Diary is the most cost-effective solution when compared to similar software.
4. Check Reviews
This is an invitation to look under the hood. Start with online reviews. Most software options will have a page with testimonials and reviews, while Facebook, G2 and Trustpilot (among others) can offer additional insights.
Healthcare practice owners are often willing to share what has (and hasn’t) worked for them. If you know people in your specific industry who would have similar needs to yours, why not pick up the phone and find out what they have to say? Also, consider that the solution they’ve chosen might not be ideal, but they don’t know any better, so be prepared to ask them follow-up questions that get to the heart of what you’re looking for.
5. Take a Trial
Many of the top practice management software options offer a free trial. This allows you to take the software for a test drive, get an idea of the features, and decide whether it’s a good fit for what your practice needs. It should be easy to navigate, with the features you need and a responsive support team to make onboarding stress-free.
Get the Best Practice Management Software with Power Diary
Power Diary combines the benefits of a feature-rich practice management software with the power of EHR software functionality for a solution that allows practice owners to manage their clients in one place, safely and securely, from anywhere in the world.
The software also has an affordable pricing structure that scales with the practice’s needs. There’s no need to pay for capacity that you’re not using, but if your practice is growing quickly, you have a solution that can handle everything you throw at it (and more!).