By now, I am sure that you are well aware that there is a movement towards online medical practice management software in Australia. In fact, many existing software players in the market have an online offering for practices.
Those deeply embedded in the technology scene understand why online software is such an attractive solution for many users. But for everyone else, and especially healthcare professionals, what is the benefit of making the transition from traditional desktop practice management software to an online version?
Let’s start with the very basics.
What is online practice management software?
Also known as “SaaS”, which stands for Software as a Service. Also known as cloud software.
In a nutshell, this is practice management software that you access through a web browser. Your software company stores your data on their servers. Please note: for practice management software in Australia, these servers need to be located inside Australia. This is not optional – it is mandatory.
The one main difference between traditional desktop software and online software is that you do not own the software. Your local machines also do not have a copy of your data.
So if you decide to stop using the software, you will not be able to access your data. If you do decide to change solutions, you can ask how to download all of your information.
No software to install
The great thing about online software is that you no longer need to install the software on your computer.
This saves time and money during the implementation phase because you do not have to run the same process over and over again on all computers.
The beauty of this is that you can also access your online practice management software on any computer (or device if compatible), whether it be inside your physical practice or not. All you need is an internet connection and a computer or compatible device).
This ease of access also means that your whole business team (offsite accountant or bookkeepers for example) can complete their work remotely or without having to spend a great deal of time producing reports for offsite work.
No updates to run
Traditionally you would need to do any updates yourself, when there were Medicare, DVA and Health Fund fees to be updated or upgrades to your software, or get your IT professional or software vendor to help.
This means that you would need to find some downtime to run these updates, and sometimes on multiple computers.
This process is completely removed with online practice management software. Instead the software provider will run updates, typically outside trading hours, and they will be instantly available to you the next time that you login.
Ideal if you have a lot of coordination in the past.
Reduced hardware and maintenance costs
If you have a healthcare practice that has multiple computers using your practice management solution, you more than likely needed to have a dedicated server. This allowed all of your computers to access the one database that had all the information.
So then you needed more than just basic internet access, you needed to have a network setup in your office.
And let’s face it, many providers, secretaries, practice managers and business managers do not want to be IT experts on top of everything else they need to do. So you hired an expert.
But with online software, you may be able to do away with the dedicated server all together. Because now, you are accessing all your information via the internet. Also, your computers do not have to be so resource heavy.
And who doesn’t love some extra money in their pocket and less hassle?
Pricing is also different
Other than where your information is stored, this is arguably the biggest difference between desktop and online practice management software.
The pricing model is turned on its head.
Online software does away with the high, upfront implementation costs that were typical with desktop installations.
One of the reasons for this is that online software installation is less labour intensive.
The other is that online software typically moves users to a monthly fee, spreading costs over a period of time. This fee generally rolls up access, support and updates together.
So what this means is that you will continue, month on month, to pay for your online software. Of course there might be options to prepay for a period of time.
But if you don’t pay, you will not be able to access your data.
In the end….
While there are some great benefits of using online practice management software as highlighted above, there is a lot to consider when it comes to managing the clinical and administration of your patients with practice management software.
Every aspect of running your practice should be looked at. As shared in this article, The right practice management software system can be beneficial on your time, patient care as well as your hip pocket.
Take your time and explore what there is to offer. You will find the practice management software solution that is right for your practice.