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Ready to really make your practice digital?

Following HMRC’s (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs) recent “Making Tax Digital” initiative there’s been lots of talk about “going digital”. But switching to digital tax submissions is unlikely to be game-changing for most practices. In reality, the prime beneficiaries are likely to be HMRC and possibly your accountant.

But if its got you thinking about “going digital” in the truer and fuller sense you might want to take a look at how a cloud-based practice management system could digitise your whole business in one fell swoop, rather than just your tax submissions!

Most of us need some evidence to motivate us to change things in our business so here are four compelling reasons why you might want to expand your digital horizons beyond tax.

Work:Life Balance

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Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Big claim, but “going digital” can fundamentally change the way you work.

How? With a cloud-based practice management system (whichever one you choose) you can access all of your practice information securely on your laptop, phone, tablet or internet-enabled device. There’s no software to install or download and no paperwork to lug around. Just login to your secure account and you’ve got total flexibility about when, where and how you work:

  • Check your schedule on your mobile while grabbing breakfast
  • Write up your notes on your clinic computer in-between clients
  • Head off after your last appointment to catch up with friends or pick up the kids
  • Send out a few invoices while you wait for the Lasagna to cook

Obviously, it goes without saying that clients need to be seen and more often than not that’s going to happen in your clinic but what we’re talking about here is “all the other stuff” that’s part and parcel of running a practice: scheduling, writing up notes, assigning tasks, invoicing, chasing for payment. All these tasks become location independent.

Buys You Time

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Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash

Really! By “going digital” you have the tools at your disposal to eliminate repetitive, time consuming admin tasks and instantly buy more time for yourself and your clients. Here are a few real-life examples of the kinds of tasks that “going digital” would eradicate overnight:

  • Repeatedly entering client names and addresses into letters by hand
  • Juggling waiting lists in one or more spreadsheets
  • Keeping records in sync in different places and across different tools/media
  • Trawling through your diary to raise invoices
  • Ringing around clients to chase for payment
  • Manually sending out email or SMS confirmations and reminders every day — yup, we know clinicians that do this :-)

This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list but if some of these examples sound familiar you might find that “going digital” will buy you back huge swathes of time.

The other more subtle benefit you get from removing these tedious jobs from your daily workload is reducing the stress and frustration that tends to build when you’re doing them. Now, I’m no expert on stress, but having recently read Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s fabulous new book “The Stress Solution” I’m all in favour of finding ways to eradicate unnecessary stress from our day to day lives.

Happy Clients Make Happy Clinicians

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Photo by Paulette Wooten on Unsplash

“Going digital” allows you to provide services that will make your clients happy and chances are, if they’re happy you’ll be happy! Happiness inducing services include things like:

  • Allowing your clients to book appointments online 24*7
  • Allowing your clients to pre-pay for appointments before they attend
  • Sending your clients electronic invoices so that they can pay at the click of a button
  • Allowing your clients to complete registration/pre assessment forms online before they attend your clinic so that they don’t have to spend time pre treatment with a clipboard on their knee!

Again, this isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list but these are just a few of the “smile-worthy” things that you can do for your clients by “going digital”.

Better still, offering these kinds of services generally leads to clients that are less likely to get treatment from somewhere else and more likely to rave about how great you are, which will make you smile!

Peace of Mind

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Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

After all this discussion about work:life balance, free time and happiness this one’s a bit more sober but nonetheless its a very compelling reason to “go digital” because its likely to mean that you’ll sleep like a baby!

Rules and regulations are everywhere and for good reason. In Healthcare like any other industry there’s a hybrid of professional regulations as defined by bodies like the HCPC in their “Standards of conduct, performance and ethics”and data/privacy regulations as enshrined in the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

Underpinning both is “record keeping”. In the HCPC’s regulations its one of their ten core standards:

HCPC — Standards of conduct, performance and ethics

Whilst under GDPR, record keeping and the data contained within those records is central to the principles of GDPR

ICO — The Principles of GDPR

and the rights that it confers on data subjects, namely you and I:

Which brings us back to “Peace of mind”. Personally, I hate the notion that you have to do something/anything because of a threat or risk so in this case I feel that “going digital” is more akin to taking out an insurance policy. It’s not your primary raison d’etre for “going digital” but it makes you feel safe (or safer) and allows you to sleep at night!

Here are a few simple “scenarios” where a digital solution might give you the “peace of mind” which should hopefully mean that you can focus on the things that matter: patients, family, you, your business and not whether or not you’ve got a “problem”:

  • You receive a complaint and an investigation is launched by HCPC. They ask to see your notes and proof that they were completed promptly after treatment. A digital solution would give you something like this:
  • You’re contacted by a client who invokes Article 15 of GDPR and requests ALL of the data that you hold on them. How do you know where all the data is about that client and how do prove to ICO that you have provided it all. A digital solution would give you something like this:
  • You’re contacted by a client who exercises their Article 17 right in GDPR to have their data erased. How do you know what data you hold and how do you prove that its been destroyed? A digital solution would give you something like this:

To be clear, I’m not suggesting these scenarios are impossible to address if you’re not “digital” but, in my humble opinion, they are much harder to achieve with the level of robustness that an audit from ICO or HCPC might require.

We hope this has proved useful and enlightening. If you would like to learn more about “going digital” why not take a look at our introduction video below or go to writeupp.com and take a free 30 day trial today.

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