A brand new year is a good time to take a fresh look at the technology that you are using in your practice management. Is it up-to-date, easy to use and cost-effective? If you’ve already registered with Netpractice, the answer will of course be yes. You will have discovered how the simple interface and integrated system allows you to be closer to your practice and improves cashflow.

But perhaps you are still using a collection of clunky, complicated software packages that are tied to your office computer and only your admin staff knows how to operate? Or maybe you still have a secret fondness for the old days of paper records and micro fiche archives? Does technology really make that much difference to what is most important in your practice, the health of your patients?

The biggest advantage of improved technology is that it allows you to streamline workflow processes. You spend less time on admin and chasing payments, and can focus more on your patients.

Technology keeps you up to date with all the latest information so that you can make the best and safest decisions for your patients.

Technology makes for more complete records and better patient confidentiality, as doctors enter clinical records and notes straight onto the system, leaving less room for error, illegible handwriting and missing records.

Best of all, technology can take away much of the stress of processing complex medical aid claims by automating the process.

At the very least a modern medical practice should have the following systems in place:

•    Electronic billing and accounts
•    Electronic medical records
•    Electronic scheduling of patients
•    Funding authorisation and Medical Aids claims processed electronically
•    Referrals and prescriptions completed electronically

If your practice is still in the dark ages without any electronic systems in place, the good news is that you don’t need a lot in the way of equipment to get up and running in the digital age. There is no need for powerful computers to run huge software packages; a laptop or tablet connected to the internet is all you need to run the Netpractice system and it can also be accessed through a smartphone.

And if you do already have a practice management software package in place, but want to switch to something more flexible and integrated, it’s easy to migrate all your existing data to the Netpractice system.

This brings us to one of the biggest concerns that doctors and medical professionals often have when first embracing technology: patient confidentiality is the cornerstone of the profession, so are those records secure? A system designed for the medical profession should have security as one of its top priorities and a regular back-up in place to make sure there is no loss of data. Look out for services hosted in secure data centres.

So 2014 is the year to embrace technology in your practice management. And if you are one of the many medical professionals already experiencing the advantage of Netpractice’s online medical practice application, it’s the year to enjoy its benefits and have more time and energy for your patients.