Taking the business component of your practice to the next level with a practice management system (PMS) is a strategic, cost-effective change that will bring a host of benefits. Beyond streamlining the administrative tasks of your practice, it can improve the patient care you provide and increase your ability to form relationships with patients and prospects. When you are ready to choose a PMS, it is important to understand their essential components.
What Is a Practice Management System?
A practice management system is a set of digital tools that will enhance the way you do business and eliminate the hassle of using outdated, paper-based systems. It can include software designed for use online and offline, at a desktop computer, and often across a client-server. The benefits of using a PMS include:
- Greater organization throughout your practice
- Streamlined administrative tasks
- Automated communications within your staff and with patients
- Enhanced, HIPAA-compliant security features
- Increased productivity
- A bird’s-eye view of your operations
- Sophisticated reporting and analytics
- Heightened ability to plan key business decisions
- A simplified billing procedure
A basic PMS should include the following components:
- The ability to schedule appointments
- Storage for patient data and documents
- Functionality for quoting and billing
- Reports and analytics
The best PMS goes beyond these basic elements to integrate with your marketing, help you organize your staff, and provide clarity to your lead management processes.
Why Is a PMS So Beneficial to Your Practice?
Fast, Organized Way to Schedule Appointments
Having a perfectly organized schedule conveys professionalism and increases efficiency within your practice. Being able to achieve it in a straightforward way saves hours for your administrative staff. A basic element of a PMS is a digital calendar that allows you to schedule appointments.
While it is possible to use a generic calendar like those that come with basic computer software for this purpose, it is important to understand that they are not engineered with medical practices in mind. The best PMS will offer you the ability to embed your appointments with essential information, such as which provider will be providing care, what room will be used, and what equipment will be needed. You should also be able to see appointments across multiple locations.
An important feature of such a calendar is the ability to trigger automated appointment reminders for your patients. This cuts down on no-shows.
Easy Data Storage and Quick Access to Documents
A PMS will eliminate the need to devote office space to storing paper records. The kinds of databases it sets up are quick to search through and quick to update. By maintaining your practice’s records online, you can enjoy the convenience of having essential information just a few clicks away.
Use a PMS to store patient information, clinical information, including a patient’s medical history, medications, and notes pertaining to previous visits, and details regarding a patients’ insurance coverage.
Maintaining digital records saves your staff time because it makes large quantities of detailed information readily available. Your employees will no longer have to spend time searching through paper records. The storage capabilities of a good PMS are versatile, allowing you to upload photos and documents.
Generate Quotes and Bills
Collecting revenue is one of the most important aspects of running your business. A good PMS will simplify and streamline this process. Some systems even integrate with your marketing. They allow you to create special offers and loyalty packages for your patients.
Generate Sophisticated Reports and Analytics
To plan beneficial changes within your practice, you need to understand your operations. One of the benefits of having a PMS is that by conducting business digitally, you generate data that can be analyzed with an eye for improvement. A good PMS will offer reports that analyze data pertaining to your finances, patient satisfaction, staff productivity, marketing, and revenue cycle.
Here is one example of how you can use reports to drive your business strategy. If you recently used a marketing campaign to promote a new service, you can use reports provided by your PMS to understand how prospects responded to the campaign and how many of these prospects responded to request an appointment for the treatment. If you see that the campaign was successful, you might choose to repeat it. If not, you might decide to revisit your marketing strategy.
How Can a PMS Go Above and Beyond?
You have a range of options when it comes to choosing a PMS. For this reason, you don’t have to settle for a bare-bones kind of system. Instead, focus on a company that is committed to staying up to date and imaginative. The digital world holds lots of untapped potential for optimizing the business aspects of a medical practice. The best company to provide your PMS is one that is constantly discovering new ways to make digital products work for you.
Take Your Social Media to the Next Level
Social media is no longer an optional component of your marketing. Medical-related searches are currently among the most popular ways in which people use the internet. More and more frequently, people are turning to search engines such as Google (as opposed to mouth to mouth referrals) to find their providers. Much of this activity happens via smartphones.
Keeping your social media fresh and engaging is a highly effective way to attract prospects who would not have otherwise found your practice. It is also a great way to stay in touch with your current patients. At an even higher level, you can use social media to build a community around your practice.
Your social media strategy should include:
- A website that looks great on both computers and smartphones
- Search engine optimization
- Content marketing
- Automated emails and newsletters
- Pay per click promoting
Organize the Process of Turning Leads Into Patients
Lead management is one area that can benefit from a good PMS. The best systems allow you to set up a database where you can see new leads, set notifications about actions that need to be taken, and track where in the lead cycle each individual falls. For each lead, you can note key information about what services he or she wants and any communication that has taken place between your practice and him/her.
Keeping lead information in an easily accessible database will facilitate smooth communication with prospects. As your team speaks with prospects, they will be able to see all the relevant notes in an organized layout. Furthermore, the automated reminder functionality ensures that no essential steps get skipped over as your team works to convert prospects to patients.
Facilitate Communication With Prospects and Patients
A good PMS will allow you to automate upwards of 85% of your communication with patients. Examples of this include automated reminders and newsletters. By offering your patients surveys, you can develop your understanding of their needs and adjust your practice’s offerings accordingly.
Your social media can play an important role in deepening your connection with patients. By giving them platforms on which they can like, share, and comment on your content, you provide an opportunity for them to engage with your practice in meaningful ways. The feedback they provide over social media will inform your plans for future growth. User-generated content, such as posts from your patients, will also increase your search engine optimization, making your practice more visible for prospects.
The digital communication between you and your patients can tie into your reporting and analytics, too. When you create reports from the results of online surveys or track activity on your social media, you gain valuable insights into your marketing and the level of patient satisfaction.
What Are the Typical Elements of a Practice Management System?
The four key components of most practice management systems are scheduling, billing, storing, and reporting. However, it is not necessary to settle for a bare-bones system. A truly innovative solution that uses digital tools to go beyond administrative tasks will integrate with your marketing, enhance your social media, and optimize the ways in which you interact with patients and staff.
The high level of organization and security provided by a good PMS will give you peace of mind. You can be sure that patient data is stored in a compliant manner and that essential information is always accessible. With a PMS, the data generated by operating your business on a digital level can be made meaningful through reports and analytics. The information these tools provide will take the guesswork out of your business decisions.
Finally, a great PMS will give you convenient, modern ways to engage your prospects, patients, and staff. Through social media and automated communications, you can give yourself visibility and build a community around your practice.
Get the Help You Need
Contact Crystal Clear Digital Marketing for more information on how our practice management system can help your practice grow. We are excited to be part of your success story!