How to set up a GP practice: Start with the right technology to empower your team
When you’re thinking about how to set up a GP practice, it pays to think about technology early on in the process. You can bet that behind every successful clinical practice is a great technology platform. By choosing the right technology for your practice, you can potentially scale new heights, while the wrong technology can be a source of endless frustration, draining both time and resources.
In this article, you’ll learn how to choose the right technology when setting up your practice. By making an informed decision, you’ll empower your team, and be able to achieve the highest possible standards of patient care. The three key steps include:
- Identifying your current needs. Start with an honest evaluation of the efficiency of your workflows, your practice capabilities, and the performance and morale of your team.
- Determining your future needs. You’ll need technology to support you in the long-term, especially if scalability is in your plans.
- Evaluate your options. Taking extra time to make the right decision at the outset will serve you best in the long run.
How to set up a GP practice with the right technology
Step 1: Identify your current needs
Just like no two patients are the same, no two clinical practices have identical needs when it comes to technology. With different processes and priorities, it’s important to determine exactly what yours are before you start shopping around.
You can use these questions to prompt your thinking about how to set up a GP practice:
- Are there any current capability gaps? For instance, is your team relying on phone or Skype for virtual consultations? Perhaps your patients have told you they’d like to book appointments online, but you’re not set up for this. The right technology can help plug those holes and streamline your services, but first you have to know where they are.
- How efficient are your workflows? Could they be improved by streamlining and reducing double handling of patient information? Maybe automation could speed things up, freeing up your team for more face-to-face time with patients. The right technology will speed things up where they could be faster, and avoid disrupting the flow where things are going smoothly.
- How empowered does your team feel right now? Are clunky systems slowing your staff down? Are they struggling with burnout? Would more flexible working options help with this? Start a conversation with your team members to find out what they need to work effectively. Getting your staff involved early in the decision-making process may help combat any resistance further down the track.
Once you’ve identified your technology needs, you’ll find it much easier to narrow down your options to find the best solution for your team and patients.
Step 2: Determine your future needs
Technology is a significant investment for any GP practice. If you’re going to get long-term value from your investment, you need to choose technology that you can use both now and into the future.
Do you need a solution that you can scale up and down as your practice grows, or is your team likely to stay the same for the foreseeable future? Cloud platforms, for instance, are excellent for agile businesses that want the ability to increase or decrease capacity at the drop of a hat. If you’re thinking about expanding into offering telehealth or other services, it’s important to find a flexible solution that can be adapted to suit your future plans.
Alternatively, if simplicity is what you’re after and your practice is unlikely to change, then don’t be tempted by something you don’t need. It’s best to avoid investing in technology with lots of unnecessary features that you won’t put to good use.
Step 3: Evaluate your options
Before you commit to a technology solution, ask yourself:
- Will it enhance the patient experience? Patients are the core of any clinical practice, so the last thing you want is for them to be inconvenienced by an inefficient or overly complicated system. On the other hand, the right technology has the potential to significantly enhance their experience. It can make it easier than ever for patients to book appointments, get test results and prescriptions, and participate in telehealth consultations.
- Will it add value to our organisation? Will your technology help your team do their jobs more effectively and see more patients? Perhaps it will allow them to offer better standards of patient care or adopt a more flexible approach to add value across the organisation. Ideally your choice of technology will do both.
- Is the support enough for our needs? If you’re introducing a new technology to your team, make sure they get the support and training they need to use it with confidence. Choose a provider that offers tailored support, with extended hours if you’re going to be working on weekends.
Finding the right solution for your practice takes careful planning and thought, but is well worth the time investment. By empowering your team, you can help them care for patients more effectively, and everyone can enjoy the benefits of a more profitable, efficiently-run practice.
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