The start of a new year is the best time to take a moment and reflect on your practice
performance. And now is the perfect time to come up with a few goals you'd like to accomplish as a practice in 2015. If you're not already regularly monitoring important performance benchmarks in your practice, this could be the year to really grab hold of your practice's performance and search for areas that need improvement.
Or, maybe this is the year you want to take your practice to the next level with new practice management and EHR software. Making this decision doesn't come easy, and the decision process can be long and challenging. Once you start talking to sales reps it can be easy to get pulled into a certain direction before you know what it is that you really need. So before you dive into optometry software demos we want to help give you the steps you might want to take first.
It's crucial for you to have a full, unbiased understanding of the needs your practice has. So check out these suggestions for assessing your own practice before you start looking for new optometry software.
The 4 Step Plan for Understanding Your Optometry Software Practice Needs This Year
Profile Your Practice
This might be the most important step, but is also probably the most overlooked. You need to have clarity on how your practice currently functions, where your pain points are, and what it is exactly you want to gain from a new software. Get started by asking questions, involving your staff, and by focusing on these three key areas:
- Your Staff
- Your Hardware and IT Infrastructure
- Your Workflow
Once you've asked yourself questions in each of these categories, write up a quick paragraph or two that highlights the current situation your practice is in. We've got an example profile for you to check out here.
Determine Your Specific Needs
Once you've got your practice profile down you can determine the functionality needs that you are looking for in a system. What features and benefits do you need in a software to make your processes easier? Do you want access to more reporting tools? Are you attesting to Meaningful Use? What instruments and equipment do you have in your office that you might need to integrate with a new system? Do you want your patients to have access to a patient portal?
Those are just a few features to consider, and there are a whole lot more that might apply to your practice!
Now that you have your profile and functionality requirements locked down, you can begin educating yourself on the different software options out there. Keep an open mind when learning about all of your different choices. What works for one practice, doesn't work for all.
How much IT knowledge do you and your staff have to handle a server in your office? Do you want to skip all the IT headaches and go with cloud-based software? What's the difference between cloud-based and cloud-hosted software? These are the types of questions you should be researching before you peg your practice fit for a specific software type.
Cost is going to be a big factor when it comes to looking at and comparing systems. Have a cost comparison sheet handy so that you evaluate each system's costs on the same playing field as others. Really dig deep and find out if there are going to be additional software integrations you have to purchase in order to get all the functionalities that you want out of a system. Will you have to make additional hardware purchases for your office so that your computers are compatible with the new system? There are a lot of hidden costs that you might not think of right off the bat, so take your time when considering where you're investing your money!
If you're looking for a new system and want to create a practice profile and requirements description, all while learning about different technology options, download our shopping kit! Our kit has all kinds of templates for you to print out and fill in your own practice information! You'll be well on your way to evaluating and purchasing new software.
Download our EHR shopping guide to help you find the perfect system for you.