Practice Management Software vs. Human Management Skills

There are a million ads from software companies that promote that your practice management problems will all be solved by their software.

But is this really true? 

A software program is a definite must for a practice and very few practices are without one these days.  They range from freeware off the internet to extremely expensive programs with every bell and whistle known to the computer world (many of which you will never use but they are there if you need them!).  They are designed to help you manage the keeping of accurate records, doing billings, submitting electronic insurance claims, keeping patient charts and records, providing scheduling information, and so on.

Additionally, these software programs can provide you with a lot of valuable stats and information as to the production results for the day, week and month.  They keep a written scoreboard for you, so to speak.

How does that make a difference in the success of your practice?  It actually might not unless a human mind now takes over and figures out what to do with that data to create a better future.  Looking at the stats without the next level of knowledge to interpret them and know what actions to take to change them can make looking at all the numbers in the world be completely meaningless.

Human Analytic Skills

First, you need to define which statistical numbers are important to track, then your staff have to enter them accurately, then YOU have to have to LOOK at them, then (and this is the big step) you need to use your analytical skills to know what the stats are telling you happened or didn’t happen and why and what actions you need to take next week to improve the quantity and quality of your service.

Really Find Out Why

For instance, a good software program can tell you that you that last week you had a lot of “no shows” or cancellations or even an increase in downtime for the providers, but it can’t tell you that the reason the stat worsened is that the staff dropped out doing the confirmation calls last week or WHY the staff didn’t do them or why they didn’t do them well or properly.

This is where the software leaves off and the live person takes over and now investigates.  Perhaps upon asking you will find out that the staff were told by you at the beginning of the week to focus on getting a hard copy mailing out the door to every patient or client of record by Friday because there is a time sensitive offer in it.  So they dutifully, following your orders, dropped everything and got it done.  And they didn’t have time to do the confirmation calls nor the recalls.  Ouch!  (And it was YOU who gave the order.)

Human Solutions Architect

Okay, so now what are you going to do to remedy the situation and get things back on track and to prevent it from ever happening again in the future?  Again, this requires well trained human management skills in order to be effective at coming up with the correct solutions.  A similar situation would be like observing that your car temperature gauge says it is overheating, but you don’t know what’s causing it so you keep driving it hoping that it will stop overheating instead of taking it in to your mechanic to fix.  Hoping for the best, this is called.

Healthcare providers are so trained and so meticulous as doctors, but when it comes to running their practices, they tend to not be trained enough to run their practices at peak performance for the sake of their patients as well as their staff and themselves.  There are human management skills to be learned that will make all the difference in the world in the success of your practice.

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