You've done the research and you think you've found a medical practice management software package that is just right for your practice.
Congratulations. But before you get too excited, there's still one more question you need to ask. Is your medical practice management software vendor capable of living up to your demands and expectations?
The MPM marketplace is crowded with vendors. Some of them are legitimate, viable providers with the resources and infrastructure to live up to their promises. Others, however, are less stable and may be unable (or unwilling) to provide ongoing support after the sale. In some cases, vendors may even deliver solutions that are radically different from the ones discussed during the sales pitch.
The rule of thumb for selecting a medical practice management software vendor is to assume nothing. It's your responsibility to thoroughly vet vendors and verify their claims prior to entering into a service contract. With that in mind, here are some of the issues you should be prepared to address.
- Applications vs. vendors. MPM software buyers often confuse the application with the vendor. Although you would expect a seemingly high-quality application to correspond with a solid, reputable vendor (and vice versa) that isn't always the case. Make sure to include vendor qualifications in your list of search criteria.
- Support & training. Training and support are important considerations in your purchase decision. Although there is usually an additional charge for these services, it can be well worth the investment – but only if the vendor provides the level of training and technical support you require. Carefully question the vendor so you know what you're paying for and what you can expect after the sale.
- Long-term viability. Your nightmare scenario is to select a medical practice management application only to have the vendor go out of business six months later. Unless you've researched the longevity and stability of the vendor, you could be faced with either purchasing a whole new software package or being stuck with a system that lacks technical support or upgrades.
- Dealer or vendor? One more thing you'll need to find out is whether you're purchasing your application directly from the vendor or through a dealer. Here's why it matters: When a dealer is involved in the transaction, issues like warranties and service responsibilities get muddled. Doublecheck your service contract so you'll know who will be responsible for each service function.