D on't you think life is going too fast? Do you feel you need more free time for yourself? Do you have some financial pressure? Do you feel the pressure of evolution? If you have answered “Yes” to any one of these questions, let me tell you that you are not alone. In fact, we all feel a lot of pressure. That pressure comes from thousands of advertisements we see and hear every day. They keep telling us: Act fast, this offer will end soon, you will miss the opportunity, let's go, hurry up! It is well known, one of the best marketing techniques is to create urgency. More than ever, we are living in an “urgent” world and, in my humble opinion, this is why we are breaking records for burned-out people. My specialty is chiropractic software and I can see how chiropractors are getting a great deal of pressure from the software industry. Chiropractors are constantly under pressure from colleagues who are using an Electronic Health Record system, from the government, including the stimulus incentive, from software providers with tons of offers and advertising and even from patients who are requiring more and more technology. The technology pressure comes from everywhere. My message today is: Doctor, as far as technology is concerned, you don't need to go that fast. You don't have to hold that pressure. Go at your own pace. If you are still using a simple billing system, there is no doubt you will have to upgrade to an automated Electronic Health Record system sooner or later. Probably the sooner, the better, but you don't have to do this next week or next month.
Upgrading to an automated E.H.R. system is much more than writing SOAP notes electronically. The list of new automated features you may use is really, really impressive and creates much efficiency. For example, you may have electronic sign-in, bar-coded Chiropractic Health Cards for each patient, waiting room calling system, care plan management, automatic recurrent credit card processing, mass email, imaging system for X-Rays and posture images, automatic insurance billing processing and so many more. This upgrade process does not have to be fully implemented at the same time. It could and should be done step by step, at your own pace. Let's call this process: “Upgrading without stressing”. To relieve stress while upgrading, you need to follow a plan in 3 simple steps.
Step 1, choosing the new automated system.
Software providers are all claiming they have the best system and the lowest price in the world. Honestly, I do not believe that one system is perfect for all chiropractors in the world. Your practice is different from your colleague’s. Practicing as a single doctor is much different than practicing within a multi-practitioners office. Your office operation is different based on the chiropractic techniques you are using and all the services you are offering. Choosing the right system for you is crucial. I personally know chiropractors who have bought 5 different systems before they found the perfect fit for them. This is a very costly way to shop for a software program. The competition in the software industry is stronger than ever and this is a great benefit for chiropractors. You may take advantage of this new war. Many software providers are now offering a free trial period for their products. For a full automated Electronic Health Record system, the minimal trial period should be 6 to 12 months. This way, you will have time to give it a good trial and test all crucial features to make sure everything suits your needs perfectly. Avoid a reimbursement clause because you may need a lawyer to get your money back. Go for the free trial, why not? A 9 to 12-month free trial proves to you that the provider stands strong behind his product and his service. You have nothing to lose starting with a long and fair free trial software offer before spending your money for something to try anyway.
The list of new automated features you may use is really, really impressive and creates much efficiency.
Step 2, implementing the new system
Once you choose the software you will try, it is time to start the transition to this new system. The software provider you chose has to understand everyone has a different learning speed and different time availability. Make sure this implementation will go at your own pace, not the software provider’s. Choosing your own installation speed is another stress relief. Some chiropractic teams will be able to use 75% of the system within 2 weeks and some others, 50% in 6 months. But it does not matter at all. Using an automated Electronic Health Record system at 50% still provides the team a lot of clerical and repetitive work relief. This means much more attention to the patient and to his chiropractic care.
Step 3, maximizing the use of such a system.
This is by far the easiest step of automation. You will want to use your system better at your own pace and extract more benefits from your investment. The key is to have instant live and training support. Some software providers will supply some very good electronic documentation. Some others will provide you a toll-free phone number and will have some trainers available for you at all times. It will be at your discretion if you prefer reading or have a personal and live advanced training. It may be a great advantage to have a live personal training because the person you are talking to is doing training every day for hundreds and hundreds of different chiropractic clinics. You may benefit from his experience and receive advice (when requested) which becomes much more than just basic training. In any case, you will decide the easiest type of implementation and training you want.
Now, it is up to you to say “Yes” to evolution and “No” to pressure and stress.
Claude Cote is an expert in EHR systems, insurance billing and chiropractic clinic management for 22 years. He has installed EHR system in 17 countries over 5 continents and nationwide in USA. He is the President and Founder of Platinum System C.R. Corp (www.platinumsystem.com). For comments or questions, please email to