Physicians will benefit from Medical Software Advice website

Big Sky 01 August 2007Software Advice has launched its Medical Software Advice website, a free resource designed to match prospective medical software buyers with the right technology and software for their practices and businesses. Software Advice's unique industry segmentation by retail segment, size of business and software requirements allows retailers to identify quickly the best software suited for electronic medical records (EMRs), medical billing, patient scheduling and practice management.

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Rather than spending weeks sorting through directories, trade magazines, and search engine results, buyers can create a highly relevant "short list" of software products in minutes. A proprietary matching algorithm ensures that retailers select from a list of products designed for their needs, and also helps software vendors reach their target customers.

"The market for medical software is booming, but the software vendor landscape is more fragmented than ever", stated Don Fornes, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Software Advice. "We aim to bring clarity to the market by matching physicians with the right systems for their practices. Meanwhile, that same matching process helps software vendors reach the customer segments they can serve best."

Software Advice's proprietary matching algorithm recommends software products based on each practice's medical speciality, size and functional requirements. Using Medical Software Advice, physicians can select the right software without a lengthy research process. For no charge, Medical Software Advice provides buyers with:

  • A sophisticated search capability that recommends products based on buyers' medical speciality, size of practice and their unique functional requirements;
  • Comparisons of recommended software products based on the product's functionality and technological underpinnings; and,
  • Detailed profiles of each software product, including screen shots, key differentiators and detailed feature lists.

In addition to supporting physician practices in their technology decisions, Medical Software Advice serves as a powerful marketing venue for software vendors. Participating vendors receive highly qualified sales leads when visitors explicitly request more information about their products. Market leaders such as AcerMed, McKesson Practice Partner and Greenway Medical are all participating in the Medical Software Advice website.

Participating vendors serve a wide range of practice sizes, including solo practitioners, group practices and managed service organisations (MSOs), as well as medical specialities ranging from family practices to bariatric medicine. Participating vendors also cover the full range of application capabilities, including EMRs, medical billing, patient scheduling and complete practice management systems.

Selecting retail software: You're better at IT than you think

If you are like most retail executives, you don't view yourself as a software technology expert. In fact, you probably approach new information technology (IT) projects with trepidation and hand them off to the back-office staff or third-party consultants. This is an understandable fear, and one of the reasons retailers are still catching up to others in their adoption of technology, according to Don Fornes of Software Advice.

The good news is that you probably already have the experience you need to change your company's success with IT; the same skills that make for effective retail operations can be applied to software selection. Just like opening a new store, selecting software requires meticulous planning and an accurate budget.

Why so many software projects fail

There are many reasons why IT projects fail, but Software Advice has isolated what it believes are the top four:
  • Limited budgeting and planning;
  • The wrong team for the job;
  • Poor requirements planning; and,
  • Lack of a rigorous selection process.

Ten steps to successful software selection

These ten clear steps should guide retailers through a successful, efficient selection process.
  1. Assemble the Right Team. Start with an executive-level project sponsor to ensure the project gets the right funding and attention. Next, assemble a team of a store manager responsible for all details of the project, an IT staff if available, and end-users that will contribute their requirements and ideas.
  2. Establish Clear Goals for the Project. All choices throughout the project should be weighed according to how well they help achieve goals such as: "Speed up the checkout process"; or "Improve inventory planning and purchasing".
  3. Build a Detailed Project Schedule. The next step is to create a project schedule that outlines all the major activities and their sub-tasks. Be sure to assign an owner to each activity and task, and to monitor progress with an Excel spreadsheet.
  4. Create a Budget for the Project. For a successful project, it is critical to have an accurate budget to work against. Be sure to account for costs outside of the software itself, such as touch screens, printers, barcode scanners, and credit card processing terminals.
  5. Define Your Requirements. As the most important step in the entire process, define your functional and technical requirements for the new system. Consider a simple list of features, as well as a thoughtful analysis of "current" versus "optimal" business processes.
  6. Draft a Request for Proposal (RFP) and Evaluation Framework. The RFP will take the form of a list of questions, critical features, and technical requirements that can be sent to software vendors for their response. The evaluation framework spreadsheet should track each product's capabilities relative to your unique requirements.
  7. Develop a Short List of Products. Create a "short list" of software products - three to five - by answering questions such as:
    • Does the company serve your specific trade and business size?
    • Do they meet your technology requirements and present a professional image?
  8. Evaluate Short List Products. Using the feature-by-feature scores and the weightings for each requirement, rule out any product that falls short of your most critical requirements. After prioritizing the others according to their performance across all of your criteria, select one that you feel is best, and one runner-up.
  9. Check Customer References. Do your "due diligence" by checking the winning vendor's customer references. To offset "cherry picking" of their happiest customers, require at least three references and prepare a detailed list of questions that require specific answers.
  10. Negotiate the Deal. In determining the final price, consider key areas such as: what type of license does the vendor offer; how is the software priced; and, what are the maintenance and support policies. As a rule of thumb, the larger the check you write, the more room for negotiation.

Software selection is not easy and should never be considered a second tier project. The right software, implemented properly, can have a very positive effect on your business. Follow these guidelines and you are on your way to IT project success, according to Don Fornes.

Software Advice helps businesses in the construction, medical and retail industries make the right technology decisions. Using the Software Advice website, buyers can identify and compare software products that meet their unique requirement. After building a "short list" of best-fit products, buyers can request demonstrations, price quotes and other information. The company is headquartered in Big Sky, Montana. Software Advice can be found on the Web at Medical Software Advice.


Leslie Versweyveld

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