Assessing the Process of Integration for Your Practice Management System
Your veterinary practice’s Practice Management System plays a key role in the day-to-day operations of your business. It can help streamline efficiencies, reduce billing errors, and improve communication. But, integrating a Practice Management System at your practice can seem daunting.
Between finding where it can fit into your practice to training staff on using the software, assessing the integration process of a Practice Management System is a crucial factor in choosing one. So, this blog shows you how to assess the Process of Integration for any Practice Management System to help you make an informed decision.
What is a Practice Management System?
A Practice Management System, or PMS, is a solution that helps streamline and automate various tasks in a veterinary practice. It allows you to manage patient records, appointments, billing, and inventory all in one place. You can also use it to manage staff schedules, track patient history, and generate reports.
With a PMS, you can access all of your practice’s data in one centralized location, reducing the need for manual data entry and increasing the efficiency of your practice. It also enables you to keep track of patient data and improve communication between staff, resulting in better patient care.
What is the Process of Integration of a Practice Management System?
To put the PMS of your choice to use at your practice, you need to integrate it into your systems and workflow. A smooth integration process ensures proper configuration and implementation of your PMS. By taking the time to research different PMS solutions, evaluate their capabilities and features, and determine the level of support and training needed, you can find a system that best fits your needs.
Once you choose a system, you need to integrate it into your practice. Some PMS providers offer support during the entire integration process. Heavily consider the support offered during the process of integration in your choice of PMS as it can ensure proper set-up and training. But, how do you assess the process of integration of a new PMS before purchasing it?
How to Assess the Process of Integration for a New Practice Management System
When assessing the process of integration, taking a full-scale look at how a PMS can integrate into your practice’s daily work is essential. This includes looking at everything from installing the actual solution to how data gets transferred into the new PMS.
What Approach Does the PMS Take?
Most PMS installs use one of two approaches. They either use the ‘Big Bang Approach’ or the ‘Parallel Approach.’ The ‘Big Bang Approach’ involves entirely transitioning to the new PMS on a set date. While this can speed up the transition process, it requires a significant amount of data migration in a short period and causes significant disruptions. However, the disruptions are short-lived.
On the other hand, the ‘Parallel Approach’ means operating both PMS platforms simultaneously while gradually increasing reliance on the new system over time. This takes significantly more time to fully transition to the new PMS but it reduces disruptions to your practice’s operations.
One approach is not necessarily better than the other. It depends on the needs of your practice, how quickly you need to integrate the new PMS, and how well your practice handles disruption.
Does the Provider Manage the Install or Do You?
To fully assess the process of integration of your new PMS, you need a clear understanding from the outset of what you will be expected to do. This can greatly impact the success of the implementation. If the provider is managing the installation, it’s important to clarify exactly what tasks they will be responsible for and what tasks will be expected of you.
Also, consider the impact on your practice whether you need to manage the installation or the vendor manages the installation. You need the necessary resources and support in place if you need to manage the installation. But, even for fully managed installs, you still need to set aside some time to complete any tasks expected of you before the installation.
How Disruptive is the Integration Process?
While assessing the process of integration, you need to consider the disruption it will cause to your practice and how long the disruption will last. This step is essential for managing expectations with your team and your clients.
You can assess the disruption by asking the PMS provider for their plan for the integration process. This plan should include the timeline and the specific tasks that will be done. Based on the tasks and timeframe of the integration process, you can assess the extent and length of disruptions to your practice’s daily work.
Some PMS providers can minimize disruptions by installing the new PMS after hours. Even if you operate 24 hours a day, you can still request the PMS provider install the new PMS during your least busy times.
Will Existing Data Get Transferred?
Whether or not you can transfer existing data is arguably one of the most important considerations for assessing the process of integration for a new PMS. This single aspect can significantly impact the time and resources required to implement the new PMS.
If the PMS provider is unable to migrate your data, you and your staff will need to spend a significant amount of time manually entering data. It can also mean that you need to keep your old PMS running alongside the new one during the entire data transfer process. Manual data entry also significantly increases the risks of error with one study finding an error rate of roughly 4%.
So, find out from your PMS provider what data migration options are available and what the process will entail.
While assessing this aspect of the process of integration, consider the importance of your data for your practice. If your data is crucial for your practice, it’s worth investing the time and resources to ensure that it is properly migrated to the new PMS.
Integrating a new PMS into your veterinary practice’s systems and workflow can seem daunting. But, if you consider the process of integration from the start, you can include how well the provider helps with this process in your decision. With adequate help from the PMS provider, you can integrate your new PMS into your practice with minimal disruptions.