Interview: Practice Management Software Company

Pulse+IT: What products does the Practice Management Software Company (PMSC) develop for the health care sector?

We’ve developed GPComplete as a fully integrated medical and allied health software. The solution encompasses Electronic Health Record (EHR), Practice Management and Medicare Online (HIC Online) in the one system, using the one database.

Pulse+IT: What makes GPComplete different from other systems?

It probably comes down to two main aspects. First, most obviously, it’s 3-in-1, so the one system is doing everything needed by the doctor, practice manager and receptionist. But the big reason it’s valued by clients is more to do with the core focus on increasing billings.

GPComplete shaves time off all the commonly repeated tasks in the practice and therefore frees more time for seeing patients and growing the practice. It literally increases billings. Pick a scenario and the system generally gets it done faster — creating a new patient for a walk-in, entering encounter notes for a patient, moving patient from one appointment or doctor to another, conducting searches, reporting on financials and so on.

It’s also faster to go from one part of the system to another, or do a few things at the same time. It’s intuitive and it doesn’t hamper what a human being wants to do, which is often jumping from one task mid-way through it, to another one.

There are many small things the system does really well compared to others, but we almost view these as secondary to the gains in billings and patient interaction. Some of these other strengths are that you can use problem oriented notes, the search capability of the GPComplete medical records is extremely in‑depth, and there are advanced clinical search and financial reporting wizards that mean you can create virtually any kind of report and save it. And of course, we have web based auto-updates.

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

All the common systems people are using right now are fine for transfer and all the data can come across. For instance, we can take MD2, MD3, Best Practice, MSS, Practix, MSS and AccessGP.

Pulse+IT: Does the PMSC interface with other clinical or practice management solutions?

No, it simply doesn’t have to. Again, it’s 3-in-1, one system doing it all, and using one database. This is the practice manager running the entire practice, it’s the receptionist managing appointments, requests and communications, and the doctor managing patients, entering encounter notes and making prescriptions.

Pulse+IT: How is the data conversion performed?

The data conversion tools can be run by the practice themselves, if the data is not too large. It’s automated and the programme does all the work. If the data is large, and some practices might have up to 80 gigabytes sometimes, then we can do it inhouse, for free. In these cases, we have a data conversion agreement that secures data privacy and data integrity for the client. So in either case, it’s all done for them.

Pulse+IT: What underlying database technology does GPComplete run on?

We use Firebird, and it’s proven to be a great decision. It’s the open-source version of Interbase, used by Boeing and Nokia. The thing is it’s not limited in size and it’s free. Other databases like Microsoft SQL add a lot to the software price you end up paying and as your practice grows and the database gets bigger, you can get ‘performance throttling’ if you try to do a few tasks at the same time. To increase its size you have to pay more money yet again. We don’t have any such costs or limitations. This has helped clients save time and money.

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

We integrate with Healthlink and Medical Objects.

Pulse+IT: How is training and support provided?

When a new client comes aboard, the first training is on-site, and it has to be, really. There’s a lot this system can do, and it’s easy to learn, but we find you’re very productive right away if we can provide a little structured introduction, to both the medical and administrative staff. After that, we have remote support tools. We can login securely and help a client solve a problem in realtime. Between the upfront training and the realtime remote support, a client practice is up and running immediately, and any issue or question can be answered fast.

Pulse+IT: How many people make up the PMSC team and where are you based?

There are five of us including two dedicated developers, and two client support staff. We’re based at the Gold Coast, although we’re often liaising with other parts of the country. We have clients throughout the Eastern seaboard in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

Pulse+IT: Overview your pricing structure.

Our license fee is $1,000 and annual support fees are $1,000 per doctor incrementing down as the size of the practice goes up. Naturally, the MIMS database is billed separately.

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

Just the annual support fee. You don’t have any database system to buy, like Microsoft SQL, so there are no hidden costs.

Pulse+IT: How frequently does the PMSC release program updates?

MIMS updates are monthly. And every three months there’s a system update automatically. I should explain that. We’re pretty much the most active developers in the industry. We are continually working on a log of feature requests from clients. They come up with ways we can further shave time off existing functions or introduce new time-saving or value-adding features. Again, the focus is all about taking real-life scenarios for the doctor, receptionist or practice manager and increasing billings and the opportunity for patient interaction. So we work on this continuous log of requests, prioritise them, develop the ones that add most value and update the systems of all clients, remotely, every three months. All clients benefit from any new developments generated from anywhere within our national client base.

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

No, not usually. A key strength of the software is its simplicity. The updates are hassle free and don’t involve our clients except in terms of letting them know about a new capability that might be of value to them. But in terms of actually achieving those regular updates, nothing at all is required of them. That in itself saves them a lot of time and money.

Pulse+IT: What recent and potential features can users of GPComplete look forward to?

We’re really looking forward to completing some data extraction tools and statistical analysis of not only patient data but financial data. These should further help our client base increase billings and refine their patient care. For example, if you look at three recent developments, you can extrapolate and see where we might further develop.

First, the reporting system is completely unique and very powerful. You can use a wizard to search for and report on virtually any and every conceivable combination of data. If the system records it, you can create a report that includes it.

Second, you can then save that report and schedule the report to occur, automatically. Other systems need a human to initiate it. But in our case, the server wakes up and performs your scheduled tasks and emails them to anyone you have selected, so that they’re ready and waiting.

And third, everybody has task lists and you can requests tasks of people, just as if they were work orders. You can manage these tasks exactly like Outlook tasks.

Pulse+IT: Does the PMSC make use of the Australian Health Messaging Laboratory (AHML) HL7 message testing facility, and do you have any plans to have the HL7 message generation and handling functionality of the PMSC¹s products verified by the AHML?

No, not yet. There have been other requests clients have valued ahead of this.

Pulse+IT: Has NEHTA’s work program had an impact on the functional direction of your products, and the strategic direction of your business?

No, not yet.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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