Many offices will be at Vision Expo looking at, evaluating, testing and shopping for optical software. VisionWeb offers several excellent guidelines including their excellent ebook The Ultimate Optometry Software Buying Guide. They ran a post on on How to Profile Your Practice before Shopping for Optical Software which we strongly recommend eyecare professionals to read before they make a purchase.
When you’re in the market for practice management and EHR software, the ultimate goal is to end up with a solution that will meet and exceed the unique needs of your practice. In order to reach that end goal, you need to be able to easily talk about what your specific needs are. If you’re shopping for new optical software and don’t have a clearly defined set of needs, take a step back and profile your practice.
The Importance of Profiling Your Practice for Optical Software Shopping
There are three big ideas that make up your practice profile:
- Your Staff
- Your Hardware and IT Infrastructure
- Your Workflow
No one knows your practice better than you and your team, and while some of these questions may seem small or unimportant, the answers could lead you to valuable insights about your team. Your staff is going to be extremely involved with the solution you select, so make sure that you’re going with a software that can support the needs of your staff.
- How many people work in your practice?
- Do you have high employee turnover?
- Is your staff comfortable using a computer and learning new software?
- Do they use email on smartphones?
- Could your staff live on an iPad?
- Can they create a bookmark or open a tab in an Internet browser?
- What about yourself, are you comfortable with technology?
Hardware and IT
Something that can easily go ignored during the buying journey is the need for hardware and IT infrastructure that might come with a software solution. In today’s world of technology, you aren’t stuck with managing a server in your practice – there are other options. Cloud-based software takes away the burden of IT management so that you have more time to focus on important things in your practice. A few questions to ask yourself about your practice’s current IT situation:
- Are you knowledgeable about hardware and software installation?
- Do you know how to manage a network of servers?
- Do you have an IT person for managing server maintenance, upgrades, and security?
- How much are you willing to invest in IT management?
- What hardware do you currently have in place?
- Would you like the option of running your software on tablets?
Any software is going to have an impact on your workflow. But you need to have a solid understanding of what’s currently going on in your practice so you know where you want a new system to help you the most. Flexibility is key here. The more flexible a system is, the easier it will be to adjust to your workflow.
- On a scale of 1 to 10 how efficient is your workflow?
- What are you biggest pain points?
- What are the top three things you’d like to change about your workflow?
- Are you mixing paper and electronic processes?
A Sample Profile
Once you’ve answered all of these questions you can compile your practice profile by writing up a simple description of your current practice. Here’s an example of a finished profile:
“I run a single location practice where I am the sole practitioner. I have a staff of 3 employees that manage the front desk duties, and I do not currently have a practice management and EHR solution. My staff isn’t technical, and unfortunately, I don’t have the IT expertise or the bandwidth to add an additional resource for IT needs.
Because of this, I’m looking for a solution that is going to be easy to use and doesn’t require me to maintain server setup in my practice. I need something that I can implement quickly without a huge investment in hardware. I like to work from home sometimes, so it would be a big benefit if I could access the system anywhere.”
Get even more resources for the buying process by downloading, The Ultimate Optometry Software Buying Guide.