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June, 2010

Prepare for Your Future With the Best Software

By DCPI Staff

You may well think that you don't need to invest in a new office software package. Up until now, you've managed just fine with your old system and good old pen-and-paper notes for charting. The truth, however, is that it may be time for you to bring your office into the 21st century. With that in mind, we asked our panel of vendor experts what you should look for when selecting a new software package. Many of these packages have integrated modules and cover both office management (patient scheduling, billing, coding), as well as providing electronic health records for patients.

(Editor's Note: In preparing this story, Dynamic Chiropractic PracticeINSIGHTS asked a panel of industry experts how they would go about investigating software programs if they were in the market to buy one themselves. Obviously, an expert allied with a particular company will tend to be biased to that company's products. Therefore, in this series, we report the comments that reflect a consensus on the general characteristics that make for a good product in order that you may make an informed decision as you do your research into a particular product or service.)

Who Really Needs A Software Program Anyway?

Tonio Cutrera, marketing director for E-Z Bis, based in Lafayette, La., explained that current modern health care practices now demand the use of a software program that can keep up: "Software is an essential element in the chiropractic office of today. No longer is it possible to have a manual, pen-and-paper system for practice management. The complexities of insurance plans and the intrusion of government regulations have made computerization a necessity. Choosing the right software has become one of the most important decisions to be made in a chiropractic practice."

However, there may be other reasons you need to consider before updating your software. Derek Greenwood, founder and CEO of EON Systems Inc., located in Clearwater, Fla., explained some of the misunderstandings chiropractors may have about whether or not they need to consider a new software program. He stated, "In this day and age, it is all too easy to get the mistaken idea that there is no such thing as the right software for your practice. Many people are in apathy about software and have a 'who cares' kind of attitude. Still more believe that all billing software and noting software are basically the same, so they figure they might as well just buy the cheapest one. Others feel that software should just do what the government or insurance companies say it has to do and leave the rest of the office work to employees. If you are guilty of any of these viewpoints then you are missing out on what may be the greatest single improvement you can make to your office."

Make the Software Work For You

It may seem like you will have to make major changes in your office routine in order to accommodate a new software system. However, according to our experts, make sure that its the system that's doing the work, not you. According to Ryan Stenberg with Chirotouch, based in San Diego, "By choosing a software tailored for chiropractors, you are selecting a technology that is built around the concept of chiropractic clinic flow, and one which is sensitive to the particular needs of our industry. Choose a software solution that conforms to your office, not the other way around. Many products offer free demonstrations and personalized consultations to help you make the best decision before you purchase."

Our experts all felt that part of knowing how to select the best software to work for you is understanding just what makes your particular practice so unique. In essence, if you understand your office's procedures, you will be better informed to make the best possible software choice to meet your needs.

Aaron Jones, vice president of operations for TGI Software, located in Pensacola, Fla., suggested looking at how a new software package will affect the various aspects of your practice. He explained, "To fully understand how a software package will fit into your unique setting, try to consider how it will affect each of your employees individually. Your front desk has specific challenges to meet every day, and though the big picture you are trying to evaluate may not at first include their seemingly small and specific requests, imagine what damage you might do to the atmosphere in your waiting room by equipping the front desk staff with frustrating or sluggish software. Likewise, each other area in which your staff will interact with the software can be profoundly affected in a positive or negative way, depending upon your choice."

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