Everywhere we look today we are surrounded by technological advances that have been created to make our lives easier. The best of these devices are so good at what they do that you are not even aware of how sophisticated they are. It is easy to take for granted the amount of engineering that went into creating the cell phone you are using, the remote for your radio or TV, as well as your watch. We have come to rely heavily on many of these technologies to make our lives simpler and create opportunities for us to automate many of the tasks we do each day. Many of the modern marvels we use today have simplified our lives in ways that it would be hard to imagine living without them. Doing tasks like laundry used to be an all day ritual that required someone’s complete attention. Today it can be done at the same time as you are doing something else.
The key component of a device that is a true benefit is that it takes a mundane task and turns it into something that does not require a great deal of effort and focus. The best technologies are the ones that we use to do those jobs we hate so we can concentrate on the tasks we enjoy. This has been the intent behind the creation of computers and software that we use in our offices from the very beginning.
The key to a user-friendly computer and software system is that it requires a minimal amount of effort from the doctor to access their records, keep track of information, and manage the practice with as few clicks as possible. To construct such an application takes more than programming know-how; it actually takes engineering and design. Very similar to chiropractic, it requires a vision of both the science as well as the art to make it work.
There are many programs out there that are capable of performing any number of the tasks that you ask of them such as billing, scheduling, reporting, or note-taking. However, even though they can perform the task, they may be challenging to use in a busy office setting. An analogy to this would be getting up and walking over to the television and changing the channel versus using the remote. Both of these methods create the result of finding a new station, yet one requires much less effort on the part of the user.
Chiropractors using a software application are similar to chiropractic patients. The patients really don’t care which technique the doctor is using, or so much the science behind why it works. They are only interested in the result. The only question they are interested in is “Will this make my life better?” Each doctor, when they are looking at programs to enhance their practices, should be more interested in flow and design than merely the features that they perform.
It is very common for our customer service and sales staff to hear horror stories from doctors that are scared to change or purchase a new software system because they have been disappointed in the past. They fear a slow learning curve or an increased work-load because of a conversion, on top of the fact that it may not wind up performing the way they envision.
It takes a great deal of community input to design a software program that has more than just a laundry list of features that are actually practical. Doctors in today’s culture are looking for a program that has been time-tested and can be ready to go straight out of the box while at the same time allowing them the flexibility to put their own stamp on some of the process. An engineer has to be able to not only give you more than what you want, but what you need as well.
With the rapid advances that we are seeing in all areas of technology the expectations of our customers are constantly rising. This raises the level of the playing field for us as well as our competition and will ultimately lead to better innovations for our customers. Today’s most user-friendly office technology is touch screen with an intuitive macro system. Who knows what the future will bring, but I am excited about the possibilities.
Ron McNeill is the owner and designer of the ChiroTouch Chiropractic Software; an integrative practice management software that is the current market leader serving the chiropractic community. If you would like more information about ChiroTouch or related products and services, please see our website at www.chirotouch.com.