— Review —
A Review of Coreplus vs Power Diary
Review and Comparison of Coreplus vs Power Diary Practice Management Software
If you’re an allied health professional or practice owner, we know that evaluating practice management software is no walk in the park. Figuring out which practice management system will best suit your current and future needs is not a simple task and there are many requirements that need to be considered.
A question we frequently get asked is “What is the difference between Coreplus and Power Diary?”
To help better answer this question, we thought it would be helpful to do our own deep dive and post the findings here, to make the answer to this question more readily available for businesses who are evaluating a new practice management system.
Our goal is to remove bias and to be as objective as possible. We have used our existing knowledge of the ins and outs of Power Diary, and have extensively researched Coreplus and the feedback we have received from users transitioning to Power Diary from Coreplus to create this article to outline the similarities, key differences and critically, how they compare on price and value.
We hope that this helps to identify what is important to you in a practice management system so that you can make the right choice for your needs.
Power Diary and Coreplus are prominent Australian cloud-based practice management systems. Both were early pioneers in online practice management, departing from traditional software that you would typically install on your computer or server, and then have to manually update and backup.
Making Sense of Plans
Coreplus offers four plans, each with a different component of features included or restricted. Each plan sets a different level of access to their features and functionality and also sets the price you’ll be paying per diary. For example, lower level plans do not offer features such as data backups or the capacity to generate invoices. The closest match to what Power Diary offers is the Coreplus “eHealth” plan. This is noted as their most popular and full-featured plan, so we’ve used this for comparison purposes.
Whilst you can change how many diaries you have, and you can upgrade your plan, they don’t allow you to downgrade. So if you chose their eHealth plan but then find that you don’t need all the features you wouldn’t have the option to downgrade to the Basic or Standard plan.
Power Diary offers four plan sizes based solely on how many diaries you will have (one clinician would use one diary for their bookings). All plans give access to all features, so whether you are a single practitioner or a multi-disciplinary practice you will have access to the same features in the system. You are able to add or remove diaries at any time and your plan size will be updated accordingly in either direction.
Both offer fully-functional free trials that don’t require a credit card. Power Diary offers a 14 day trial with unlimited use and free SMS. The Coreplus trials are limited to 20 clients, 20 appointments and 20 invoices during the trial period, and after that, you’ll need to upgrade to the paid version for continued use.
Another point of difference is that you are able to import your data into Power Diary during the trial period, whereas importing data into Coreplus would trigger converting the account.
What are the Similarities between Coreplus and Power Diary?
When comparing the basic feature set, both systems offer the following:
- Calendar management
- Colour-coded appointments
- Group booking options
- SMS & Email Reminders
- Invoice creation*
- Xero integration*
- Electronic Session Notes / Electronic Health Records
- Letter writing tools*
- Medicare & DVA online claim submissions*
- Online Client Portal to allow clients to self-book
- Data imports (Power Diary will provide this even for trial accounts whereas importing clients would trigger the end of Coreplus’ trial)
*Not offered in all of Coreplus’ plans
** Not all reports available in all of Coreplus’ plans
Based on the feedback we’ve received, and on our existing knowledge and experience with what features are important for users, we have reviewed some key differences between Coreplus and Power Diary and compiled these for you below.
You and your team will be using your practice management system day in and day out to access, view and create the information required to run your business. Being able to easily navigate the system, either as a new or existing user is vitally important. This makes it easier for new staff members to learn the system, and also improves efficiency. Many of the points we touch on below are all involved in the overall user experience and how these small actions and processes can make a big difference when they form part of your daily (or multiple times a day) actions. An intuitive, easy to use system is vital for ensuring that new and existing members of the business can navigate the system with ease and access information in a timely manner.
1. Ease of Communicating with your clients
There are several noteworthy differences in the communication capacities when comparing Power Diary to Coreplus.
- SMS Reminder Reply Handling.
Both systems offer SMS appointment reminders, but the way they handle responses to reminders is very different. Within Coreplus, when a client responds back to an SMS appointment reminder, these responses are grouped and viewable in a single Notifications feed which is found under the Communications menu. Therefore, to view SMS reminder replies, you need to have this window open and be looking at Coreplus to view SMS reminder replies.
Power Diary uses inbuilt logic to interpret every SMS reminder response and will automatically update the corresponding appointment status as either confirmed or cancelled – and if required will immediately alert the respective Clinician directly via SMS or email. This immediacy enables timely action whether it be filling a cancellation.
- Getting the message across
In Power Diary, emails and SMS messages can easily be sent from the client’s profile, and from the Messaging panel which allows quick back and forth SMS communications with your clients either using pre-written templates or ad-hoc messages. In Coreplus you need to access a page specifically for sending communications and then select the type of reminder (email or SMS), and then enter the client’s name or contact details, and then write your message. They also don’t have templates for non-appointment related messages, so you need to write out the content for each individual message.
- Limitations to SMS Content Size
Power Diary does not impose a limit on the number of characters permitted in an SMS message. In a review of Coreplus, it seems that they limit an SMS to 160 characters including spaces. This means that you’ll be struggling to squeeze in the necessary information to form a professional reminder with the required information to ensure that the reminder is beneficial to the client including the date, time, location/address, practitioner and details of the cancellation policy.
- Email and SMS Templates.
Within Power Diary you can create an unlimited number of SMS and email templates and easily send them to clients whenever you wish. However, to send an ad-hoc SMS message in Coreplus, there is no option to use a template. Every message needs to be written from scratch.
- Inability to send SMS to multiple recipients for the same patient.
Coreplus only allows you to send a text message appointment reminder to the patient themselves. In Power Diary, when you send a text reminder to reminder to the patient, and also to any number of your patient’s contacts e.g. their parents, partners etc.
- Merging information into communication.
Merge fields (or placeholders) are used to merge information into communication templates such as the treating practitioner, the date and time or the appointment, clients name and so on. Power Diary offers 71 merge fields which can be used in templates for appointment reminders or any other manually sent communication. Coreplus have 8 for SMS reminder and 10 for Email reminders, however as non-appointment related communication do not have templates to choose from these do not include any merge fields.
2. Accessing the Calendar
In Coreplus the calendar is accessed in the main menu, and it opens the calendar in a new tab in your browser. This means that you will have two tabs open, one for searching clients, invoices or accessing information, and the other tab will have the calendar with the appointments. This might seem like a minor detail but when you want to go back to the main menu or view a client’s details, you need to click on the original tab which would get tedious very quickly. This is especially the case if you have other websites open in your browser. With Power Diary, everything is always kept in the same window.
3. Automatic Refreshing in the Calendar
Power Diary constantly updates the status of appointments in real-time, so there is no need to refresh your page to be able to see when the client has confirmed their attendance, or when they have arrived based on the appointment status. Coreplus does not have this and therefore to see any appointment updates you have to remember to manually refresh the page. This puts practitioners at risk of missing last minute updates if they don’t remember to constantly manually refresh the page.
4. Rescheduling Appointments
Coreplus does not have a way to move an appointment by simply clicking on the appointment and dragging it into the new appointment space (we call this drag-and-drop). This makes the process of rescheduling appointments time-consuming as you have to select the appointment and then from another window use a date and time picker to select the new time and then save. Power Diary allows you to not only drag and drop appointments on the calendar but also to change the appointment start and end times as well by simply dragging the start or end time of the appointment.
5. Usability on mobile devices
One of the key benefits of a cloud-based system is portability. The ability to work across all devices such as desktop, laptops, tablets and smartphones without any reduced functionality. Power Diary has been designed and tested to work well across all devices. Coreplus, however, acknowledge difficulties with functionality on mobile devices with Coreplus users also reporting problems with simple functions like making, updating or rescheduling appointments from mobile devices. Again, the calendar opens in a new tab so you’ll be switching between tabs on your smartphone to go between making a booking and viewing client details or other information in the system.
Power Diary further supports mobile users with the ability to view the address and contact details of your appointments from the calendar. Power Diary makes this easy by showing the clients address when viewing the calendar in Day view, and clicking on the address will launch it in your Maps app. You can also see the clients mobile phone and click on the number to easily call the client from your mobile.
6. Requires more steps to do the same basic things
Invoicing is integral to getting paid and something you want to be doing a lot of! Power Diary makes invoicing super simple. Right-click the appointment, select “Email Invoice”, review and hit Send.
Coreplus invoicing requires many more steps and increases the possibility of mistakes. This is how it works: Right-click the appointment, fill out services, save the invoice, go back to the Main Menu in a different browser tab, select Communication, select My Inbox or Send Email, choose the client you want to send to, write a short note, then hit Choose file to select the right invoice to attach and finally hit send.
7. Getting Paid Faster
Another important area to highlight is the online Client Portal. Both Coreplus and Power Diary have a client portal and it allows clients to go online and check clinician availability and book appointments themselves. This reduces workload as it eliminates the need to take calls or return missed calls.
That being said, Power Diary takes it further by integrating with Stripe – an established and well regarded online credit card processing facility. This feature is loved by users as they can get paid when clients book appointments, resulting in:
- Better cash flow, no waiting to get paid;
- Almost guaranteeing clients will show up;
- No manual payment processing reducing administration;
- Removal of any associated money-related awkwardness;
- Your practice operates more efficiently as the patient flow is smoother.
Finally, all payments made online are automatically matched with the corresponding invoice which is then automatically marked as ‘Paid’, saving you the trouble of manually reconciling payments with invoices.
8. A Unique 100% Money Back Guarantee
It is common for all kinds of online software to have a limited-time free trial period and this has been covered above. But after this period users must pay and of course, this applies to both Coreplus and Power Diary. So what happens if you convert your account, but then soon find that your business needs have changed, or that the system isn’t meeting your needs after a week or a month or even a few months? With Coreplus, there is no recourse.
Since around 2012, Power Diary has offered a unique 100% money back guarantee. If at any time during the first 12-months of using Power Diary you decide it is not right for you, you have the right to cancel your account and get a full refund of anything you’ve paid for to date. This includes all SMS charges. There are no strings attached. You won’t be coerced into staying. The funds are usually refunded within 24-hours and only then will you be sent a short survey for Power Diary to learn how they could have improved. With this guarantee in place, rather than having to rush to meet a trial deadline, you are able to relax and take your time to learn the system and see if it is right for your needs.
How Does Coreplus and Power Diary Compare on Price?
Both systems have similar pricing models consisting of a monthly fee based on the number of active diaries/calendars an account has plus charges based on how many text messages (such as appointment reminders) are used. Both systems offer free email appointment reminders as an alternative to SMS. Both systems allow for an unlimited number of users – people who you grant login access to your
Whilst the basic pricing concepts of both systems are similar (i.e. monthly subscription fee plus text message use) the actual costs are significantly different, especially if a clinic has more than one clinician.
In the Pricing section below is a detailed breakdown outlining the various costs of Coreplus and Power Diary. It’s definitely worth a read, but in short Coreplus’ pricing progression is linear. e.g. If you start with one diary and later find you need another, you will pay twice the price, or three times the price if you need three diaries etc.
Power Diary’s Australian pricing progression is non-linear. .e.g. The more diaries you have, the less it costs per diary. As the pricing tables below show, this makes Power Diary significantly more affordable especially as clinics expand.
Below are screenshots from the pricing pages from each company’s websites:
As at the time of writing, when comparing Coreplus pricing to Power Diary’s pricing, Power Diary comes in at a lower price for all plan levels, with the exception of the Just Me (1 Diary) Plan where Power Diary is marginally higher by $4.83/month.
As the Power Diary pricing page shows cost per week, below is a comparison based on monthly rates to make it easier to compare. To derive the monthly fee, we just calculated as follows:
Power Diary Weekly Price x 52 weeks / 12 months = Monthly Price
In our experience, even for sole practitioners, it is very common to add one or two more diaries. For example, if the sole practitioner gets too busy and needs to hire another person even for just a short period of time, or have several part-timers; or when the practitioner goes on holiday and needs someone to cover them; they may take on a partner or merge with another business.
So below is an analysis of what it would cost per month to go from 1 Diary to 3 Diaries:
Table 1.1 Standard Monthly Base Fees (AUD ex GST)
Variable SMS Costs
*Estimate based on per user/month pricing. Coreplus does not state pricing for 20+ Diaries on its website but says P.O.A. (Price On Application).
Coreplus Charges for Data Storage
Power Diary does not impose any data storage limits and does not have plans to do so.
Coreplus users have a data storage limit of 500MB. When an account exceeds this, users need to add data storage which is charged at an additional monthly fee.
To give you a sense of how much data you might use, a typical two-page PDF document is roughly 200KB. Let’s say each client file even only had five of these that would still be 1MB per client. So having 5,000 client files could potentially use around 5000MB and cost about $20p/m with Coreplus in addition to your subscription fee.
Additionally, because of record-keeping requirements, you cannot simply delete files when storage gets too high. Storage requirements vary around the world, but needing to keep files for 7 years since, or until a child client reaches the age of 25 is not uncommon.
The findings of this comparison came as a bit of a surprise for our team. We were aware that Power Diary was more affordable compared with Coreplus and assumed this was one of the main reason that users were switching to Power Diary. However, by conducting this review we discovered that there are significant limitations to Coreplus’ functionality and usability that are also driving this move.
Power Diary was built to empower allied health practices; to help you and your team become the most efficient, productive and profitable possible. We hope this analysis helps you understand how Coreplus compares to Power Diary. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us by phone, email us via email@example.com or Instant Chat.
Already Using Coreplus and Thinking of Transferring to Power Diary?
We've been in business over 10 years but only discovered Power Diary in the last few years. It has made such a huge difference - making everything run smoother, more efficiently and looks so professional - leaving us more time to focus on our clients.Dr Kristine Kafer
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