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Clinicmaster

Clinicmaster is a comprehensive software programme which will allow you to run your whole Practice directly from your computer, making your office totally paperless. If you’re looking for a programme which deals with your appointments, client records, finances, reports and business development, eliminating the need for paper records or separate programmes, then Clinicmaster is worth considering.

Free trial? No. You can request an online demonstration. This takes up to 90 minutes.

 

Cost: From $125 Canadian dollars per month (includes technical support) plus a $400 set-up and initial training fee. Additional modules available at variable costs.

 

Although Clinicmaster is installed on your computer, it has a web-based interface so you can access it remotely via the web on your smartphone or tablet computer whenever your computer is switched on and you’re logged in. As Clinicmaster has so many features, it will take a while to learn how to navigate around it and become skilled at using the different parts of the software. However, three training sessions are included with the initial set-up charge to help you out. This is particularly helpful considering it’s a Canadian-based company so the language used to describe features is Canadian-English, which makes it slightly less intuitive to use – for example, a client record is described as a client dossier. 

 

Most of your clinical work can be done from the appointment screen. Once you’ve selected a client, a sidebar appears at the side of the screen detailing their basic personal information, appointment history, billing history and more. There are buttons on this sidebar which allow you to bill for items, take payments and access their full client record. This is a handy shortcut which brings many elements of your client administration into one location.

 

Clinicmaster aims to keep your appointments running as smoothly as possible so when you book someone in, you have the option of confirming appointments by email or text message (SMS charge applies). You can customise the message content, and personal details are automatically inserted using merge fields. It’s possible to issue appointment reminders too, and specify when they should be sent (e.g. two days in advance at 10am). 

 

There’s also the option of sending messages for DNA clients, discharge notifications and what Clinicmaster calls ‘Drop outs’, which are clients who have not rebooked and need chasing up. Clients can respond to text messages and you can read the responses in Clinicmaster. An optional module (extra cost) allows you to send automated telephone messages, which the client can respond to and choose to confirm, cancel or rearrange their appointment. 

 

The latest release of Clinicmaster (June 2013) also includes an optional module which will allow a full online booking facility for clients, called the Client Portal. This is accessed by clients via a button on your website. In the Portal, they can book appointments, view their personal details, fill out any online documentation which you need them to complete, prepay for appointments, settle their account and see a history of their appointments. Although this comes at an extra cost, it is an innovative feature and could save you precious administrative time.

 

Client records can be used to store a lot of information, from basic contact details and referral source to hobbies, allergies, emergency contacts and client history. A useful feature is an ability to add third party payment details, such as the name of the insurance company, cover limit or number of sessions, sessions billed to date and the balance. When you make a client’s appointment, you can set it to bill the insurance company directly. You can choose to bill at various intervals, such as weekly or monthly. 

 

Doing your billing is quite easy with Clinicmaster. You can bill the client on the spot or do it at set intervals, such as monthly. Invoices can be printed or sent via email, saving you postage costs. To streamline the process of billing insurance companies, you can choose to batch bill them all in one go by clicking just one button to generate the invoices. Treatments can be broken down by date if you want – there are a number of templates you can use, depending on the level of detail you need. As with all the correspondence in Clinicmaster, you can upload your company logo and details to customise its heading, plus you can add any other information you need, like your payment terms and conditions.

 

To keep track of your finances and help you with your end-of-year accounts, Clinicmaster allows you generate a wide range of different reports, such as number of clients seen, payments received, payment methods used, private billing totals, insurance billing totals and debtors. You can also use the reports to monitor the growth of your business by seeing daily income, monthly income, and the breakdown of clients (private versus third party). There is no function to record expenses, which is a minor limitation of the software.

 

You can do all your clinical administration from within Clinicmaster as it has its own built-in word processor and email facility. Simply access your client’s record and choose from one of the many templates available, or create one of your own. The merge fields mean that all the essential information is inserted for you so you can just concentrate on the content of your letter. Again, you can print or email the document directly from the programme. You can also upload lots of different types of files to a client’s record, from PDF documents and Word files to video files and pictures. All of these are listed in one place so you can access them in an instant. 

 

The clinical notes feature in Clinicmaster is far superior to most practice management programmes. There are a number of templates you can use (or create your own) so you can have as much or as little structure as you like. The inbuilt word processor means you can type away to your heart’s content but there is also the nifty feature of being able to record a dictated note or video, or take a photograph. You can import any relevant emails and letters so they’re stored directly with the note for a particular session. The clinical notes feature is particularly good for touchscreen computer users as you can import documents then write or draw on them using a digital pen or your fingertips. Physical practitioners will also be impressed by the body diagram feature, which again you can directly draw on using a touchscreen computer screen plus enter important information about the condition so you can monitor its progress. If you need to print your clinical notes for any reason, they are created with your company logo and details on the top of the page.

 

Clinicmaster has also been designed to meet your marketing needs. The Client Explorer feature allows you to select specific criteria (e.g. age or diagnosis) to send emails to clients who have opted in to receive these. For example, you could select people who have birthdays in a particular month so you can offer them a discounted treatment. Clinicmaster creates the letters for you and also generates address labels for you to print off. This feature also doubles-up as a way of sending out letters for other purposes, such as choosing to send a mailshot to all private payers who owe you over a certain amount of money.

 

Overall, Clinicmaster is a top player in its field but you would need to consider if you need all the features it offers, given the set-up fee and monthly cost. Although these are justifiable as you are getting a quality product and thorough training, sole practitioners might find the programme is too developed for their needs. It’s possible that the Canadian-English language used throughout the programme might also be somewhat inhibiting as it makes the programme slightly less intuitive to use for UK-based therapists. The programme does require a certain amount of familiarity with computers and will take some time to become used to although, again, the training will help with this. The technical support, which is included in the monthly cost, includes software updates, telephone support, web support and remote assistance support so you’ll always be able to access help if you need to.

 

Clinicmaster is an impressive programme with a whole host of useful features. Its particular strengths are its clinical notes, the new Client Portal (additional module) and the extent to which it can be customised to meet your needs. It will allow you to run a completely paperless office using a range of the latest technology (such as your smartphone and tablet computer), saving you time and storage space. The online demo is a good place to start if you’re interested in finding out more – you are told to allow 90 minutes for it and you do it simultaneously online and via a conference call (using a London landline number). 

 

If you want a very sophisticated practice management programme, Clinicmaster could be the one for you, but there are slightly cheaper ones out there if you don’t need its more advanced features. 

 

Ratings:

 

Overall rating: 4/5

Ease of installation: 4/5

User-friendliness: 3/5

Help and support: 5/5

Value for money: 4/5