Small to mid-sized healthcare practices are facing unprecedented financial pressures in equally uncertain times. In the United States, physician practices saw a 30 to 75% decline in patient volume in March, according to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), as reported by Medical Economics. Healthcare advocacy groups like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and others have urged for prioritization of the unique financial needs of physician practices for whom they advocate.
Just as our global understanding of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has evolved quickly over the last month, so have the outlooks of physician practices developed. In a recent set of surveys titled 2020 Healthcare Prognosis, venture capital firm Venrock found that as of April, 47% of respondents said they believe their business will be unaffected by the pandemic, an improvement over the initial survey. As practices come into acceptance of these uncertain times, they seem to embrace more hope for the future of their practices and healthcare technology in general.
The economy will recover, and so will your practice. But how do you invest in your practice in the meantime? At MacPractice, we’ve launched a 2020 Webinar Series with relevant strategies from trusted partners who can help you and your practice during this challenging time. We’ve discussed tools for working remotely, procedures for collecting patient payments, and patient communication in a crisis.
With all this change, practices are deciding there is no time like the present to invest in new software for their business. While practices switch to other software for many reasons, new challenges in billing, clinical, or health population requirements are all already commonly cited as a reason to seek out a replacement software. As unprecedented as the time may feel, practices are finding the last straw with their current system. A lower patient volume has meant that many methods are finally finding the time to invest in the future of their business at the same time that they see just how essential technology can be to their daily operations.
Unfortunately, switching software vendors can come with a whole new set of problems, especially when it comes to data migration and implementation. Unlike MacPractice, many clinical software applications do not share the same database as the practice management system that is used for billing and revenue cycle management, adding extra challenges to the implementation process. Even other all-in-one vendors rarely provide a dedicated conversions service into the actual implantation of the software as MacPractice does. How do you make such a big leap in uncertain times? Consider these tips:
Switch to a Superior Software
It’s probably obvious that you’ll want to find a better product if you endeavor to switch systems. If you need to change software systems, you probably have a list of issues your old software has that you’d rather not repeat in a new product. If it isn’t your first software, you’ll be an experienced buyer with a better framework for the features and lack thereof that will work for your practice. Make a list of things that don't suit you in your old software, and then use that list to decide which positive attributes you’ll look for in your new software.
Ask for a Referral
As you learn about any potential replacement software systems, ask a few software vendors for referral or client testimonials, and note the quality of their responses. Find out how each of the software systems you are considering will provide positive solutions to the problems on your list by looking for referrals from practices similar to your own. Referrals can also help you to be able to reflect on solving these problems in your day-to-day working environment.
Beyond the Technical
Many doctors and practice owners will make a decision on a new software based on technology or the opinion of IT professionals alone; however, this can lead to some unintended biases - especially if you’ve had a bad technical experience before. Just because a new software addresses the technical problems in your old software, does not mean that it is necessarily wholly better for your practice. Your staff will have valuable input on ways their productivity could enhance with a better system.
Find Implementation Support
Any software transitions you make for your small practice at this time must be well supported by a team of experienced professionals to coordinate the change. At MacPractice, we have a dedicated conversions team and Implementation Coordinator to help ease this process and connect you with all the resources you need. Data migration is smooth with MacPractice. We'll make the transition to MacPractice as simple as possible, with movement from most PC and Mac products. Our conversions are performed in house by a dedicated conversions team, making them cost-effective, reliable, and fast.