Steps 7 - 9: Choose your software supplier
This series looks at how to buy a specialist practice management system to help you manage the non-clinical aspects of your practice effectively.
Step 7: Make a shortlist
Select two or three suppliers who can potentially offer the functionality, security and support you need within the budget you have set. A matrix is a good way to compare the different options and how closely each meets your criteria.
Step 8: Make first contact
When assessing each supplier, ask:
- Do they understand the evolving requirements of the sector? Specialist knowledge of private healthcare is an asset as it means the system should keep pace with new developments.
- Do they talk your language? It is difficult to imagine a productive business relationship with a jargon-spouting representative.
- Are they financially stable? Information can be purchased from Companies House or a ratings agency. The last thing you want is for a vendor to go out of business a year after you have invested in its software.
- Are they large enough to handle your requirements? You don’t want to be dependent on one person to resolve every problem.
- Can they provide testimonials? – speak to users in similar practices. Ask about system functionality, reliability and customer service.
- Are they ready to demonstrate the system so you can assess it for yourself? It’s worth asking whether you can trial the system for a limited period..
- Clear Terms and Conditions? These should set out the level of service you can expect and not diverge from previous commitments.
- Do they have efficient and responsive customer service? Do they offer customer service that meets your needs?
Step 9: Make a long-term commitment
You need to select the system supplier who represents the best fit with your private practice, taking into account the points discussed in these blogs.
But signing on the dotted line is not the end of the story. You and your team should monitor progress, particularly during system installation or set-up if you decide on an online solution, to ensure your expectations are met. It’s also a good exercise to review the system when it has been live for six months and at regular intervals thereafter to ensure it continues to meet the needs of your practice.
Ultimately, a good practice management system should be capable of supporting your practice from the moment it is installed and as it grows.