Why a Project Champion Is Necessary for Medical Software Implementations
In a simple world, implementing new medical software would be easy. Someone would recognize a need, find the best software to address that need, and everyone would be on the same page from the beginning of the implementation process to the end. Unfortunately, any new medical software implementation is likely to incur a few hiccups along the way, which is why a project champion is so important to the success of the implementation.
Where Does Medical Software Implementation Go Wrong?
Medical software aims to automate office work-flows and optimize various practice tasks, including those related to billing, records keeping, and patient care. The best medical software will meet practice-specific needs, enabling better patient outcomes, lower administrative costs, fewer errors, and full compliance.
However, problems can arise if the wrong software is chosen, employees and patients aren’t fully on board, the cost of use is deemed to be too expensive, a technical issue arises, or the practice’s employees aren’t fully trained on the new software.
All of these challenges can derail a medical software implantation project, which is why a project champion is so paramount to a practice’s success.
What Does a Project Champion Do and Why Do You Need One?
It can be hard to classify or define a project champion. An article published in the Project Management Journal defined a project champion as “a person within the organization who uses power entrepreneurially to enhance project success.” This is a person who is not only knowledgeable about the project and has some power to ensure the project’s success, but also someone who is passionate about it and will do whatever possible to ensure the project gets done.
The project champion may not be the same person throughout the entire implementation. For example, a lower-level employee may come up with the idea for the project and may even begin the process of making the case to senior management. However, because of the limitations of the role or the politics necessary to get the project off the ground, the role of project champion may be assumed by someone else who can get the project over the finish line.
A project champion is not a project manager, although he or she can be, depending on his or her ability to go beyond day-to-day operations and be an advocate for the project to stakeholders and others financing the project and making decisions. A project champion is a cheerleader for the project, someone who aims to boost the morale of the team, and a liaison between leadership, stakeholders, the project management team, and everyone else involved.
From the initial planning phase where the case is being made for the medical billing software programs or electronic health records software to later phases where user adoption and ongoing management are concerned, a project champion is a necessary role someone in the organization must fill. Contact us today if you are a project champion looking for a proven medical software company that can help you save time, money, and hassle.
Is It Worth It to Implement a Patient Referral Program to Expand Your Practice?
Every medical practice needs to establish a way to attract new patients in order to grow. The truth is that practices lose patients every year for a variety of reasons out of their control. As much as ten percent of a practices patient base will be lost annually due to regular attrition. Change of job and moving are two of the most common external reasons. Implementing a patient referral program is often thought of as a cost-effective marketing technique to attract new patients. A practice may be able to get as much as fifty percent of its new patients through referrals.
But is it right for your practice? In general, yes, if done correctly. Your patients are the best potential ambassadors of your practice who can relay to their family and friends about the high level of service you provide. Unlike social media or traditional mass advertising, you’re not trying to get the word out to people who are likely uninterested. The success rate of a patient referral program can be significantly higher than other advertising routes at much lower costs.
Where Do Patient Referral Programs Go Wrong and What Can Be Done to Change That?
Yes, the potential is there for a robust patient referral program that drives new traffic to your practice. But, if done incorrectly, the results may flat line very quickly. So where do patient referral programs go wrong?
The Practice Is Not Living Up to Current Patients Expectations
Theoretically, a patient referral program works because the patient is invested in the health of the person they’re referring to the practice. Therefore, the practice needs to be worthy of the referral. Long patient wait times, billing errors, and poor care are all problems that can deter existing patients of wanting to recommend a practice to a family member or friend in need of care. Our award-winning medical EHR software and other optimal work flow products ensure a practice can effectively provide the level of care and support needed to create the best overall experience for patients.
The Staff Is Not Trained or Invested in the Program
In general, it won’t be the doctor who will be speaking with patients about the referral program. It may be the receptionist, a nurse, or another staff member. Patients often build a rapport with staff members, and they are the ones who will best be able to discuss the program with the patient. However, if staff doesn’t understand the program or isn’t interested in it, the program is not going to generate many referrals. Time will need to be spent to train staff members on the program and why its needed for the practice. Also, keep in mind that there should be one person in charge of referrals. This will create accountability and ensure the program isn’t an afterthought.
Too Much Time Is Spent on the Perks of the Program
Gifts and incentives are a bit tricky for patient referral programs. Many states outlaw practices ability to offer existing patients gift cards or discounted services to help them find patients. Practices can offer gifts or discounts to new patients, but these incentives should not be the sole selling point for the patient referral program. Instead, a practice should make an effort to deliver the best possible care and provide a quality experience, so patients will want to bring their family and friends there.
Medical practice management software and other automated solutions from MediPro, Inc. are a viable way to enhance patient care and practice efficiency. In addition to that, making patients aware of the program through signage and business cards and targeting patients with personalized pitches are much more beneficial to the success of the program.
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Using Price as Your Top Search Criteria for Medical Software Can Backfire
A fact in life is that everyone has a budget and is looking to save where they can. Saving money and finding deals are both prudent and often smart, but is going with the lowest-priced good or service always the best idea? We would argue that it isn’t.
Take, for example, a car repair. If you go to the lowest-priced shop or ask a buddy who knows a few things about cars to do it, you might not be happy with the end result. And because the job wasn’t done right, it might end up costing you more in the end.
Choosing the Best Medical Software Should Involve More than Price
We wanted to take a second and talk about the cost of medical software because we know and understand that every practice will have a budget and want to avoid spending additional monies when it doesn’t have to. However, medical software provides opportunity costs within every facet of a medical office. From ensuring government compliance and incentive programs of electronic health records to improving patient care outcomes to optimizing revenue collection and employee workflows, medical software can go a long way to strengthen physicians practices.
Unfortunately, just as we discussed above, the bottom line in the medical software industry is that you get what you pay for. When you receive a fantastic, low-cost deal you may feel a temporary moment of satisfaction. But, generally, that temporary moment is in fact very short-lived. What practices discover instead is they have purchased insufficient medical software to address their needs, making that fantastic, low-cost deal a whole lot less fantastic. Here are just a few of the issues practices may face going with the lowest-priced software:
Customer service is likely to be lacking
Your practice could just be a number in a sea with thousands of others, and many are waiting in line ahead of you. It could take time to connect for support and resolution turnaround may end up to be lacking, causing money to go flying out the window as you wait for the issue to be resolved. Although it could happen with any software product, we would be remiss if we also didn’t mention that sometimes promises are made during the sales cycle that may be a little too good to be true. If you were promised a variety of features that appear to be much more expensive than what you are asked to pay, this is a cause for concern. And if you wait to raise a concern until after you have purchased the software, you might find it very difficult to get someone on the phone to talk to you.
Training resources could be limited
End user acceptance of medical software is one of the biggest factors in determining the success of a medical software implementation. While it shouldn’t be expected for everyone to pick up everything overnight by watching a video, the learning curve shouldn’t be extremely lengthy either. This leads to dissatisfaction, more inefficiencies, and greater errors. Staff may not know how to use the tools to streamline their workflow through automation – if they have them at all. An untrained staff puts patients and data at risk, potentially causing a compliance nightmare.
The software impedes your practices growth
As your practice grows and requires more features and functionality, you may find that you will need another expensive software conversion to a different product because the lower end system no longer fits your needs. Also, some lower-end medical software products are not ONC-certified, meaning they could actually hurt a practices growth by limiting its participation in government incentive programs.
In addition to that, low cost software products may not have a solid programming/enhancement schedule for software updates and upgrades. Since the healthcare industry changes rapidly, i.e.: new Medicare cards for patients requiring 11 digits in the data field or the good old NPI numbers that were issued to healthcare providers back in May 2007, the software may not have the ability, capability, or resources to accommodate said change.
How to Choose the Best Value Medical Software
At MediPro, we aim to develop customized solutions that fit the needs of each and every practice that chooses to invest in our many medical management software solutions. The truth is that we don’t have the cheapest products (we also don’t have the most expensive either). We offer mid-line priced solutions that we feel are the best for a wide variety of practices.
We would encourage you to choose software that has a nice sized list of standard features and will position your practice for success and longevity. You should consider software that provides ease of navigation, quick content editing, etc. Finally, you should pick a full-service vendor, like MediPro, as a partner in this transition that sincerely cares about providing superior customer service, enhancing patient care, and increased revenue.