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Healthy Practice: Review

30 June 2017    Dr Joanne Weston

Healthy Practice was first launched in 1989 and is still going strong, having had a substantial upgrade recently.  This practice management software, which is aimed at chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists, is an efficient and comprehensive package. It is also aimed at audiologists, on a different pricing structure.

Free trial: Available. Also, a free personal web demo.

Cost: To buy Healthy Practice is £43 per month per user for the Cloud version, which includes free upgrades and support.  Other rental and locally installed pricing options available.

You can use Healthy Practice on a PC or Mac, and on an iPad if you have the Cloud Version (which also keeps your data automatically backed up at all times). Its main screen is colourful and easy-to-navigate, but there is also an immensely useful user-guide PDF file that guides you in an idiot-proof style though all the main processes of the software. The kind people at Healthy Practice will even post this to you if you aren’t able to print it off yourself. Once you’re up-and-running, there is email and telephone support, as well as How-to pages, so if you get stuck then you can reach out for help.

Healthy Practice is a comprehensive package, enabling you to manage your diary and bookings, case notes, fees and payments, marketing and analysis, reports and statistics, correspondence and stock control.  The only thing that’s missing is the ability to record your expenses.  It’s also very versatile so it can be as easily used by a sole practitioner as it can by a large clinic, accommodating single or multiple users. The Master person can decide access rights for the other users so you can ensure that only certain people can access certain features if necessary. Every additional licence incurs an extra monthly or licence fee.

Each new patient record allows you to record all the usual personal information and also the referral source so you can keep track of what marketing avenues are working for you. You can also specify any third party payment details for a patient, including authorisation or claim reference numbers. This is very helpful if you do a lot of insurance work and allows you to set up invoicing for these companies as a default setting.

You can also set up patient alerts so when you book an appointment, a box pops up to remind you that a patient has special requirements, such as disabled access or allergies. Within each patient record, you can click on the tabs along the top to see all the information about a patient, such as booked appointments, finances, clinical notes and any communications (letters, etc). You can also opt whether to send clients automatic email or SMS and also email reminders about their appointments (SMS texts are chargeable). This is handy in moderating your DNA statistics and keeping your practice profitable.

Once you’ve set up your patients and diary, you can book appointments. All you need to do is search for the patient and/or click on the appointment slot you want to use. A pop-up box appears allowing you to confirm the type of treatment, allowing you to type any comments you want to add and the option to send a patient appointment reminder. If you need to move the appointment, you can easily change it to a different appointment time and you can also block-book appointments too, for example, if you have someone who needs to come at 3pm every Friday for the next month, or fortnightly.

There is a nifty DoubleBook+ feature so if you are running a class or course, you can book more than one person into an appointment slot. Once you’re a bit more skilled, you can take advantage of the additional ‘hidden’ tricks, such as holding down the shift key when searching for the next available appointment slot, which shows the next three free times rather than just one. For an additional fee, Healthy Practice can also provide you with an online booking system.

Following an appointment, you can use the Kwik Pay feature if patients are paying for themselves or you can choose to default the payment to a third party. You can customise the payment methods if the one you use isn’t in the standard list, e.g. Paypal or BACS. You can also customise your treatment types and fees. Invoicing can be done in the Account Management section (via the patient record), which provides more sophisticated billing facilities. In this area, you can generate invoices, print receipts, apply credits to the patient’s account, allocate payments for bills, register part-payments and view paid and unpaid treatments. Healthy Practice has an excellent financial management system and it’s easy to use. You can also run an Aged Debt Analysis search to send statements for outstanding debts.

When a patient registers with you, you log their condition as a Spell of Care which, apart from sounding a bit magical, definitely has wizard features. Within the Spell of Care, you have all the records for that person’s course of treatment. The treatment notes section in this feature is especially detailed, which is particularly useful if you’re a practitioner dealing with physical condition. You can enter a patient’s comprehensive medical history, diagnosis and treatment plan as well as being able to annotate diagrams with different shapes and colours in the Visual Notes feature. There is plenty of space for general freehand notes if you are a talking therapist and want to record information about psychological treatment. You can record the planned treatment programme too for ease of use. Healthy Practice allows you to link x-rays, scanned files and photographs to a patient record so you’ve got a full record of their treatment all in one place.

A great feature of Healthy Practice is that you can also do all your admin from the package. If you need to write a letter or email to the patient or their GP then you can use the templates provided (or create your own) and a record is automatically saved in their patient record. You can also do mass mailing if you want to send out a promotional offer letter or remind patients to book follow-up treatments. This is done using a mail merge function within the programme, or you can print out address labels for generic mailings.

An important element of Healthy Practice is the ability not only to manage the day-to-day running of your Practice but also to oversee it from a business perspective. Its clinic audit feature enables you to run reports on a range of statistics, such as outcomes, financial analyses, treatment types and results, and appointment and DNA reports.

Overall, Healthy Practice is a very well-developed, efficient and extensively used practice management software programme. It’s developed for clinics of all sizes, meaning that it will be flexible and grow with you as your business grows. It is definitely more aimed at people practicing physical therapies rather than talking therapies but can be used for either purpose. It’s highly customisable and comprehensive. Whether Healthy Practice is the best package for you depends on the type of therapy you offer, how much you want to pay, and what you need from your practice management software. It has sophisticated features and is intuitive to use. As it offers a free trial, you can always give it a go and see if it ticks all your boxes before committing yourself.

Overall rating: 4/5
Ease of installation: 5/5 (not applicable to Cloud users)
User-friendliness: 4/5
Help and support: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5

About the author 
Dr Joanne Weston is a Chartered Psychologist and Clinical Psychologist with consulting rooms in central Bristol. She offers evidence-based assessment and psychotherapy to adults who are seeking help for emotional difficulties.