Survey Results: What do Clinicians really look for in Practice Management Software?

Survey Results: What do Clinicians really look for in Practice Management Software?

Andrew Dyson

by Andrew Dyson, Digital Marketing Lead

COVID impact, working habits and rejection of Telehealth?

Throughout July we ran a survey for users of Medical Practice Management Software, like MediRecords. The aim was to listen to, and learn from, both our own users and those who use alternatives.

In this article we have summarised some of the more interesting insights around:

  • the impact of COVID on doctors
  • the working environments of clinicians
  • what users want from practice management software, and
  • How important Telehealth features are to clinicians.

If any of this sounds interesting, then please read on! But before we get into it, we would like to say a big thank you to all who took part in the survey.

As with all survey data, the stats can often be interpreted in many ways. If you have any insights or explanation for what we found in the survey, we would love to hear from you via marketing@medirecords.com.

About the Survey & Audience

Our survey was delivered to GP clinics via fax, email and through The Medical Republics e-newsletter. Whilst the survey was open to clinicians, practice managers, nurses and business owners, most respondents primarily identified as clinicians.

We ran our survey throughout July, which ended up being an interesting time. The initial explosion of conversations around Telehealth had begun to quieten down (more on this later), whilst Victorians began seeing lockdown restrictions gradually being enforced as they experienced their ‘second wave’.

One noticeable skew was that the audience had a significant amount of professional experience, with over 40% having over 20 years in General Practice, which is worth bearing in mind as you read this article:


 

 

GP’s Working Environment

We were keen to understand how GPs tend to work, as this allows us to better understand how MediRecords can be as useful to clinicians as possible.

We found GP’s were split fairly evenly between those who work in one location, and those who work across multiple locations. What is not clear if this means they work across multiple practices, or often from home, something which could be influenced by the current pandemic.

Far more clinicians work on multiple devices rather than one, which us unsurprising given our consumer habits across phones, tablets and computers. It is particularly interesting for practice management software however, as ease of working across devices and locations is very difficult on server-based solutions such as Best Practice and Medical Director, compared with cloud solutions like MediRecords.


It was interesting to see that almost as many people use Apple products as do Windows, again something that could make browser-based software more appealing to ensure consistency of experience and usability for GPs on whichever device they use.

Preferences for practice management software

We asked our GP respondents a lot of questions about their preferences are for practice management software. This information is best summarized in the two questions:

  • What do you like about your Practice Management Software ? And…
  • What do you not like about your Practice Management Software?

Surprisingly, the same sort of answer was most popular for both questions – Usability!

It can be easy to get lost in specifications and functionality lists when choosing Practice Management Software, but what this shows us all is that, fundamentally, it means little if the platform is not easy for clinicians to use. We suspect this will also be what drives most day to day frustrations users have with their current software.

(By the way, we think this is great news given the positive feedback we have had on MediRecords from our users. If you are struggling with usability there is a solution!)

So, are clinicians looking for something better?

We then asked if clinicians were planning on reviewing or upgrading their software over the next five years. Only 40% of respondents said they would consider doing so.

Many in the healthcare tech space may find this disappointing, but we believe it shows us the wider trend of reluctance to adopt and change with new technologies. Whilst many may be heralding a silver lining of COVID to be increased adoption of technology, the results suggest this mindset change will not happen overnight – even if pushed by a major event such as COVID.


If clinicians are still reluctant to change, what does this mean for Telehealth adoption?

We asked respondents to rank features in terms of the importance to them when choosing practice management software. Whilst we won’t be sharing the full results of this (hopefully you can understand, we want to keep some knowledge to ourselves!) what was surprising was that Telehealth was the second least important feature to the GPs we asked.



The timing of the survey may have had something to do with this. Whilst in the earlier days of the pandemic many GPs were trying to figure out how to incorporate Telehealth into their daily workflow, by July Telehealth MBS items had been live for over a month, with GPs finding that using the telephone was an easier, more familiar solution in the short term.

Again, this may reflect the reluctance of many to adopt new technologies, even if these technologies lead to better experiences for patients. We can see the benefits of telehealth via remote monitoring via projects such as Spritely’s recent trial in retirement villages in Christchurch, but clearly there is more work to be done to help clinicians see if there is a benefit for them.


So, what do clinicians want from their PMS?

Finally, we asked what GPs wished their PMS could do that it does not already.



The results here were less clear, with 27% of people wanted a feature specific to their practice’s requirements, and a further 20% wanting an integration with a specific other service.

This shows how personal and bespoke the needs of many practices are, and how software such as MediRecords must not only be flexible for different workflows, but also responsive to users when they need new feature. For more insight on the types of request we typically see, you can head over to ideas.medirecords.com to see the ideas our customer have come up with that we are working on.

Again, usability came up, this time as something that respondents wish their PMS offered. Given the large share of the market enjoyed by traditional solutions such as Medical Director and Best Practice, perhaps this reflects the need for clinicians to look at some of the newer, easier to use options that are out there.

Personally, we think MediRecords fits the bill perfectly! If you would like to find out more you can contact support@medirecords.com, book a demo, or enjoy a 30 day free trial now.


About the Author

Andrew Dyson is our Digital Marketing Lead here at MediRecords, and managed this latest survey. Prior to joining MediRecords he has worked on marketing projects, including in depth market research, for some of the largest employers in the UK.

More from the Blog

Looking to stay updated with the latest from MediRecords?

Sign up to the newsletter

Are the benefits of cloud solutions for healthcare more than we realise?

Cloud solutions for healthcare

The benefits of cloud solutions for healthcare: More than we realise?

Michelle O'Brien

Michelle O'Brien

Cloud solutions for healthcare

Could the shift to cloud solutions provide the healthcare industry more benefits than we previously realised?

Cloud computing is finally changing healthcare.

The consensus on the overall benefits of the cloud for our industry appears to have shifted, which was perhaps inevitable given the increased interoperability, maturity of security and the significant cost savings cloud services provide.

However, I believe most organisations are barely scratching the surface when it comes to making the most of other benefits cloud solutions can offer. Some of the lesser known benefits, from small clinics right up to larger public health and enterprise organisations, include:

  • Improved health information exchange & interoperability
  • Predictable costs
  • Faster and more efficient scalability and fast system deployment
  • Improved backup and business continuity
  • Enhanced user experiences
  • More robust data security
  • Improvements in diagnosis and treatment through AI & Analytics
  • Easier compliance

I am a firm believer that cloud-solutions will provide healthcare organisations with even more benefits than many currently realise.

This is one of the key reasons I joined MediRecords, a leading cloud-based PMS, and why, over the next few months, I will be putting together a series of articles explaining each of the benefits listed above. Where it is relevant, I will be including examples of organisations who have achieved these benefits, and if possible, some tips on how your organisation may be able to follow these examples.

You will be able to find these articles via the MediRecords blog, via our company LinkedIn page, and via my own LinkedIn page. Feel free to send me a connection request!

In the meantime, if you are interested in finding out more about any of the above, you can always reach out to me directly, either via email (michelle.obrien@medirecords.com), or on LinkedIn.

Michelle O’Brien, based in our Sydney office,  is Head of Strategy here at MediRecords.

More from the Blog

Looking to stay updated with the latest from MediRecords?

Sign up to the newsletter

Practice software management cost

Practice software management cost – How your practice server is costing you more than you realise…

 

When talking to clinicians and practice managers about either ‘the cloud’ or server hardware, I often get the same reaction. The reality is that they just don’t have the time to worry about their practice’s IT set up most days. Unless, of course, it stops working.

This quickly changes when we start to examine some of the hidden costs.

 

What you get from your server

Servers have been incredibly useful pieces of technology. They have allowed GP, specialist and allied health practices to move away from physical patient records. The server now hosts practice management software such as Best Practice or Medical Director, store documents and faxes digitally and run email services.

They are also expensive. That has been ok though; given the benefits they provide, the cost of buying, maintaining and running a server has been not only worthwhile, but essential to the modern practice. But that still doesn’t change the cost to the practice, which totals on average over $220,000 over five years.

That $220,000 figure doesn’t even cover additional hardware such as computers, monitors, routers and printers. The true cost of a server is usually unknown, and this is why. When wrapped up together, it can be difficult and time consuming to breakdown what IT budget goes where. But when you take the time to do so, it becomes apparent that there is another, much more cost-effective option to running a server. Cloud computing.

 

But a server is essential, isn’t it?

It is when I show clinics the difference in cost of a cloud-based practice to a server-based practice that I start to get that reaction I mentioned earlier. The cost saving in Year One for a five-clinician practice is estimated at $49,618. From Year Two onward the same practice will save $30,618 each year.  Over a five-year period, the total estimated savings are $172,290. Not bad

To illustrate the point, I often explain what this figure means in real terms. Assuming 20 consults/day billed at $70/ consult, each doctor could have an extra five days holiday per year. This money could be reinvested to grow or improve the business, or, if you are so inclined, even buy 43,000+ takeaway coffees.

However you slice it, it is a significant saving for any practice. Many practice owners overlook this saving by simply comparing the cost of subscriptions between cloud and server-based practice management systems. In this respect, the two are very similar, and the decision then comes down to staff familiarity with legacy software versus the security, reliability and mobility benefits of cloud services. These are all equally valid considerations when choosing the right software for a practice, but the cost will always be an important consideration for any business.

 

To demonstrate the difference, I compared the two options below:

What does this mean for my practice?

It is unlikely clinicians and practice managers will suddenly become fascinated by IT infrastructure budgeting. However, the cost benefits of using cloud-based practice management software should lead many practices to give the option a fresh look.

Factors such as staff familiarity, usability, security, reporting and 3rd party integrations are still just as important as always. However, as the experience provided by cloud providers has matured to match, and improve on, traditional options such as Medical Director and Best Practice, the scales are continuing to tip towards cloud-based technology.