There are only four core technologies you need to run your practice. Yes, four.
Now, you may disagree with some of the product choices below and you may feel that I’m leaving out other things like marketing and website technologies. I am. It’s not that these things aren’t important—but the following four categories are core to any practice owner.
If hiring staff to manage these four key areas isn’t an option just yet, these are good alternatives to help you manage.
Any healthcare practitioner knows that you won’t have any business at all unless you’re billing, collecting, recording expenses, and cutting payments. Business is about money and money is about accounting systems. QuickBooks is the leader in this area, but FreshBooks has been a solid player for years and has expanded its accounting capabilities to be an excellent, easy-to-use tool for small businesses and freelancers. FreshBooks is completely in the cloud and also has hooks to other applications, including some mentioned below.
When set up properly, you’ll be able to send invoices, check on balances, look up customers, accept payments, and get reports just from your smartphone or any mobile device. Its interface is straightforward enough that you won’t have to hire a bookkeeper to manage it. If you pay taxes, then you’ll need an accounting system, and you won’t go wrong with this one.
CRM is Customer Relationship Management and there are many great applications available that practice owners or small business owners can use. I use Zoho in my company and we love it. It’s all-cloud and very mobile. We have a deep database that includes everyone who touches our business—customers, prospects, vendors, suppliers, etc. We use it for calendaring, email, leads, opportunities, and contact management. Nothing falls through the cracks. Everyone in my company is on the same page. And as the database gets more and more accurate, its data adds value to my business for marketing, follow-ups, forecasting and customer service. Salesforce.com is the leader in CRM, but it may not make sense for your needs, depending on the size of your practice/business. Zoho—and a few of its competitors—offer very similar features for a much lower price.
When you’re a small business, you want to do everything you can to look like a big business, and a communications system is at the heart of your operations. Most good telephone solutions, like Ooma Office, are cloud-based. Ooma provides phones for your remote or virtual staff (or they can just use their smartphones). With Ooma Office, you will set up voicemail, a dial-by-name directory, conference calling, an automated receptionist, outgoing message and call management just as if you’re a much bigger company. It’s a very low annual fee.
Speaking of office, every business needs a good office collaboration system. Microsoft Office remains my preferred choice. After slipping for a few years to other competition, Office 365 has—in my opinion—taken over in features, pricing, and capabilities. Today’s Office system isn’t just word processing and spreadsheets. With Office 365, a practice can set up Teams, Skype, and Exchange to handle every kind of messaging from video calls to chats to emails, and store this information in one place for easy retrieval and searching. Office 365 also provides cloud storage for files and documents, scheduling capabilities for your customers and employees, as well as notes, calendaring, reminders, reporting, and presentation tools. Few small businesses truly use all the capabilities this application provides, and I believe they’re missing out.
These four techs are can serve as a foundation for future add-ons and integrations. Start with these and grow.
This article is the point of view of Gene Marks and does not represent the opinion of Bankers Healthcare Group.