As a doctor of chiropractic (DC), you must make many decisions about the day-to-day operations of your business. It’s up to you to determine what hours you are open, the services you will offer if you will sell any products, what type of clients you will treat, and who you will bring on board as staff.
There’s one additional decision you must make and it revolves around the type of electronic health record (EHR) system you will use to collect and store your private patient and practice-related data. What are some of the most common mistakes DCs make in this regard?
Mistake #1: Buying a Brand
Some DCs select a particular EHR system because it is a certain brand. Yet, there are often built-in costs when you take this route. For instance, one Consumer Reports survey found that grocery shoppers save an average of 25 percent when purchasing store brands over bigger names. If this same equation was applied to EHRs, the savings continue to add up over time.
The reason for this price discrepancy is because top name brands tend to have higher costs. These companies pay more for product marketing and offer their sales staff higher commissions. Ultimately, this cost is passed on to the consumer.
A greater market share also does not necessarily mean that the company makes a better product. Referring back to the same Consumer Reports survey, many of the respondents reported that they thought the taste of the store brand foods was just as good as brand name options.
Branding also obscures product inadequacies. The brand is able to hide behind a few missteps, relying solely on its name to make the sale. In cases of minimal competition for a particular product or service, innovation can be hindered as well.
Mistake #2: Prioritizing Price
When you have a budget, the price can be a major factor when choosing your EHR. Although this is understandable, it shouldn’t be the most important factor.
If the EHR is too cheap, it likely has poor functionality. This means that you’re going to spend more of your time frustrated or trying to come up with ways to work around the system. Lower prices are also sometimes used as a bait and switch tactic. You contact the company with questions about the lower-cost EHR only to be faced with a forceful push to buy a more costly system instead.
Conversely, if the EHR is too expensive, you’re paying for things you don’t necessarily need. Maybe it has functions that you’ll never use or provides reports you’ll never print. Buying these types of services when you won’t use them is like buying a cellphone package that offers 120 minutes a month for $75 when a 60-minute per month package is adequate and $25 per month less.
Plus, a higher price does not always mean the EHR is better. According to Consumer Affairs, a group of business professors says that price and quality aren’t always in line. Instead, the best thing you can do is learn more about the product you wish to purchase. This will help you better judge its quality versus relying on cost alone.
Mistake #3: Focusing Too Much on Testimonials
A 2019 BrightLocal Consumer Review Survey reveals that, when searching for a local business, 82 percent of consumers pay attention to that company’s online reviews. Additionally, almost half (47 percent) won’t do business with a company that has lower than a 4-star rating. The one problem with these types of testimonials is that they aren’t always true.
Some companies hire writers to create gushing testimonials about their business, even if the person has had no experience with the company firsthand. Others entice customers to post 5-star testimonials with additional payment, a discount on the next order, or some other type of bribe. Because of this, it can be difficult to determine which reviews are real, which are completely made up, and which ones are embellishments in return for something else.
Another way testimonials fall short is by not providing the right influence. Just because a friend or peer likes a particular product or service, that doesn’t automatically mean that you will too. Plus, their needs aren’t your needs. So, what works for them won’t necessarily work for you.
Sometimes nice reviews can be motivated by pride. The consumer doesn’t want to admit that they’ve been suckered or swindled, so they leave a positive review. It makes them feel better about their purchase.
Mistake #4: Sweating the Small Stuff
It can be incredibly easy to sweat the small stuff when it comes to choosing an EHR. But one of the biggest mistakes you can make is focusing so much on these tiny details that you miss the big picture.
If you spend too much time considering all of the added bells and whistles of a particular EHR, you spend less time paying attention to what matters most. Items that fall into this latter category include selecting software that is efficient, dependable and provides comprehensive documentation you need to effectively run your practice.
Choosing a Chiropractic EHR with costly integrated merchant services and irrelevant functions isn’t going to help you run your practice better either. In fact, it just may hurt it if it means slower system performance. Your staff is going to be so tied up with using the EHR that they won’t have time for anything else, like building a stronger relationship with your patients.
Don’t make these same mistakes when buying your EHR system and you’ll increase the odds that you’ll make a purchase that best suits your chiropractic practice.