Interview: Genie Solutions

Pulse+IT: What products does Genie have available to GPs and Specialists?

Genie Solutions produces the original Genie for general practice, and Genie SP for specialists. Users can select their particular specialty, and the program adjusts, hides, and shows a variety of features pertinent to the selected specialty. In particular, there are modules for Obstetrics, IVF, Orthopaedics, and Ophthalmology. It is also popular amongst plastic surgeons and dermatologists because of the handling of digital photographs, and a Lesions module for the excision of skin lesions. The handling of procedures and quotes makes it attractive to all other procedural specialties.

For GPs, it incorporates health assessments and management plans, a diabetic and other disease register, NPCC reporting and appointment analysis, as well as the usual clinical and prescribing capabilities using MIMS Integrated Plus as the source for all medicines information.

Pulse+IT: What Genie features are new users attracted to?

The principal reason that practices buy Genie is our reputation for good support. Whenever a practice switches to Genie from another program, the number one reason given is poor support from their current vendor. Genie has grown to be the largest specialist vendor purely by word-of-mouth recommendations. I’ve always believed that if we provide a good program with good support, then the sales will follow, and that has proven to be the case. We hardly ever advertise because our existing customers are great advocates for Genie . We try hard to maintain good business relationships with all our customers and, in some respects, to engender a feeling of an exclusive “club” of Genie users.

Second, it’s often just the little things. All the practice management programs in the Australian market do pretty much the same thing to some extent, but when demonstrating Genie to practices I am frequently surprised to see that it’s the simple things that excite them, like the ability to print and store pre-operative quotes, handle pre-payments, automatically include assistants’ fees in invoices, change a banking record from Cash to Cheque without having to delete the payment and start again, print or email theatre lists, and send SMS reminders.

Practice managers like being able to automatically update new fee schedules via the Internet, particularly the private fund schedules.

They also like being able to leave a half-finished letter open while they create an appointment or an invoice, without having to save it first.

These are all small things that our users have suggested over the years, but they can save a lot of frustration and wasted time.

Pulse+IT: What platforms does Genie run on?

Mac OSX and Windows, or a combination of both on a network. It originally started as a Macintosh program but was ported to Windows in 1999. Today, our user base is 25% Macintosh and 75% Windows. Many practices use a combination of both Macintosh and Windows machines in their networks. It’s quite useful being cross-platform because it means that a Mac-centric doctor joining a Windows-based practice doesn’t have to learn how to use Windows, and vice versa. The Macintosh platform is also a wonderful niche for us, because it’s no secret that Macintosh users are very passionate about their chosen platform. We understand their passion and are committed to providing a great experience with Genie on both Mac and Windows.

Pulse+IT: Which competing programs can you import data from?

There are 38 built-in conversions which includes all the major programs available in Australia, although MD3 is still only a partial conversion because of the encryption HCN use in some tables. We don’t convert billing data from any program as it’s just too different for each program. Usually, practices just run the old program for a couple of months, receipting outstanding accounts until they are down to a level where they can be transferred manually.

Pulse+IT: How is the data conversion performed?

Conversions are usually performed by our own staff at the time of installation, or the day before. Genie is installed on the computer hosting the program to be converted. In some cases eg MD2, it’s just a matter of clicking a “Convert” button and going for a coffee. In others, it’s necessary to create an ODBC source first. In some cases, we do the conversion at our own offices and deliver the converted data on the day of installation.

Pulse+IT: Which secure messaging products does Genie integrate with?

Healthlink, Argus, 2Hippo, ePIT, AllTalk, Division Report and Medical-Objects.

This is one of our major areas of interest. We see this integration as being of increasing importance in the next few years. We are at the forefront of development in this area, and have been working closely with these vendors to provide seamless integration of electronic communications.

Pulse+IT: How does Genie handle photos and scanned documents?

Digital photos can be extracted directly from the camera and automatically linked to a specific patient. Alternatively, they can be saved to a directory on disk and then assigned to the relevant patients.

Scans are handled in the same way, i.e. scanned and linked automatically to a particular patient, or scanned in bulk to a holding directory and linked to multiple patients from there.

In fact, any type of document can be linked to a patient record. All images and documents are stored in a folder hierarchy on the server, where each patient has their own uniquely named directory. Anything placed in a patient’s folder, whether manually or automatically by Genie , is “linked” to the patient. On a network, Genie scans or extracts a photo initially to the client machine, and then copies it across the network to the patient’s folder on the server. Once it’s in there, it’s available to all the other clients on the network. When a user clicks on the image, Genie uses FTP commands to copy it from the server to the client, and then displays the local copy. This can then be manipulated, annotated, or otherwise modified, and saved back to the server.

Interesting photos can be saved to an “Album” for storage in case you want to use them for a presentation. Or, in the case of plastic surgeons, to show new patients the expected results of surgery.

Pulse+IT: How is training and support provided?

Onsite training is provided at the time of installation and, if feasible, a couple of weeks after installation for follow-up questions. Ongoing support is provided by phone, fax, email, and by the Internet-based Genie Message Board which allows conversations between users and staff. This is also a searchable database of problems that other Genie users may have encountered, so our users can often find the answer to any problem they are having here.

Pulse+IT: How many people make up the Genie team?

There are 19 in all. 14 at our head office in Brisbane, 3 in Melbourne and 2 in Sydney. In addition, there are independent distributors in South Australia (Konos Koncepts) and Western Australia (Assured Technology). The Melbourne office looks after Tasmania, and Brisbane looks after the Northern Territory. That’s the theory anyway. In practice, we often fly someone from Melbourne to Cairns, or Sydney to Hobart, depending on availability. There are also several practices in London, New Zealand and Spain who are supported via email, phone, and the occasional visit.

Pulse+IT: Overview your pricing structure.

Initial installation includes the software price, the first year’s annual support fee, and the installation and training.

For the average 3 workstation practice this works out to around $3800 + $1800 + $1700 respectively. The ongoing annual fee is $1800 for a 3 user system. Software price increases by around $800-$1000 for each extra workstation.

Pulse+IT: In addition to the Genie licences, what other costs may practices have to meet?

MIMS Subscription, around $230 for a single doctor. ICPC Subscription for GPs and non-procedural specialists, $200 initially and then $100pa thereafter. These are both optional. Genie Solutions has a distribution license for ICD10 coding, so this is provided free of charge to procedural specialists. Genie does not use Microsoft SQL so there are absolutely no other networking costs, no matter how large the network.

We don’t usually charge for data conversions unless it is one of the more complex conversions, or it’s from a program which we haven’t previously encountered.

Pulse+IT: How frequently does Genie release program updates?

Every 2 months approximately.

Pulse+IT: Is professional IT assistance required to perform these updates?

Not usually. Fee schedules, MIMS, ICPC and ICD10 updates are just a one-click procedure which are downloaded via the Internet and automatically imported into the program. Updates of the program itself are also automated to the extent that a user on a client machine simply selects to apply an update which is then downloaded via the Internet, automatically copied to the server, quits the server, applies the update and then restarts the server. So usually it’s just a matter of click a button and then stand back.

Pulse+IT: How many practices are currently running Genie?

We are expecting our 1000th site to be installed in the first week of November, which will be a pretty exciting milestone for us. Gallons of champagne are being chilled as we speak. We usually install around 20-25 new sites each month.

Pulse+IT: What new features are you working on that Genie users should look forward to?

ECLIPSE is the main priority at the moment, but we’re also spending a lot of time on fine-tuning electronic communications between GPs, specialists, and hospitals. The next version also has an option to use an updated interface with a more standardised look and feel to buttons.

We’re also doing more and more with web services to deliver information and updates to our customers. In particular, we maintain a database of providers in Australia on a web server, including address, phone numbers, provider numbers, specialty, and preferred method of communication. Our users have access to this database so that when we install a new site, we can immediately populate their address book with every GP or specialist in their vicinity. And in the next version, when searching for a referring doctor or specialist, Genie will offer to search the web server if they don’t exist in the local address book, allowing the practice to download their details automatically. Our users keep this database up to date themselves by periodically uploading their own address books to our web server.

In the next few months we’ll also be integrating Genie with the Clinical Audit program developed by Pen Computer Systems, which will allow our GP users to analyse their clinical data in detail, and help to improve chronic disease prevention and management.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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