Mistake #20 — Not Investing in Adequate Practice Management Software
Good order is the foundation of all things.
— Edmund Burke
Why not buy the cheapest practice management software you can find? The answer is quite simple. At the beginning you are building the foundation for the future of your urgent care clinic. If you build a weak foundation, you will suffer for years. If you build on a solid foundation, your urgent care will benefit for years.
Your IT foundation is critical. Buy cheap software and within a few years, you will spend tens of thousands of dollars on new software and retraining your entire staff on new adequate urgent care software. Meanwhile you will have lost thousands of dollars in lost efficiencies. Being cheap when it comes to software can be very costly. Almost every week I hear about an urgent care center that realized it made a big mistake using another software program, and they are wanting to switch to a system made just for urgent care. What is included in your software payment? Often new urgent care entrepreneurs don’t carefully read the software contract, only to be surprised later by what was missing in the contract.
- Will you want training? Will it cost $10,000 or even more?
- Do you need a scheduler? Probably not; but if you do, how much will that cost?
- Will you want an electronic billing module? How much will that cost?
- Will you want an occupational medicine module? Does the software even have an occupational medicine module? Does the software have customizable protocols for each corporate client? How much will that cost?
- Will you need to purchase a server to host onsite? If the software is not served up on the Internet, you will need a computer server. How much will that cost? How much will server setup and installation cost?
- How will you pay for server maintenance? Whenever the server goes down or has problems, you will need a computer consultant to work on the system. How much will the consultant charge? $100/hour? $150/hour? How many thousands of dollars will computer consultant charges add up to in a year?
- Will you need software support and upgrades? How much do they cost?
Why not simply purchase a pure occupational medicine software system? First of all, these systems tend to be very expensive. Second, occupational medicine systems rarely have adequate functionality for billing and collections of walk-in patients, who are covered by HMOs, PPOs, and other types of insurance.
Why not buy the “best” family practice billing software? If you do so, you will have bought a practice management system focused around scheduled patient visits. It will probably have little functionality for workers compensation and employer-paid services. It will require you to buy loads of functionality that you will never use. Suffice it to say, you will have the wrong tool for the right job. That means you will pay staffers to constantly work inefficient processes into the system to jerry rig it for your urgent care center.
Why not use the computer software system of your local hospital system? Hospital systems are rarely designed to work in the high-paced, high-volume, low dollar ticket atmosphere of an urgent care center. You will be duck hunting with a cannon; you are unlikely to hit the duck, and if you do, you won’t have much duck to eat.
We have outlined these points to highlight the fact that Practice Velocity Management (PVM) is the only practice management system designed by urgent care professionals, tested by urgent care professionals, and used every day in urgent care centers all over the country. Additionally, PVM is responsible for purchasing the servers, keeping the system functional and online, updating the system, and providing IT support with IT professionals right next to the computer servers. At a special startup price, your startup urgent care center is sharing the same computer servers with the same IT support that some of the largest and most successful urgent care businesses in the U.S. also use. Within a few years, you plan to be another success story in the development of the urgent care industry. Adding a second and third site will be a snap, because all you will need is high-speed Internet access and you will be up and running in the new site. Because of the scalability of the Practice Velocity internet-based system, right from the start of your urgent care center (and as you grow), you can tap into the premium services and state-of-the-art efficiencies of Practice Velocity.