Ear Works, A Comprehensive And Powerful Management Software Bringing Real Control Over Your Practice
Ear Works is a pretty impressive piece of practice management software, I found it easy to navigate and use with a logical work process, more of that later. The functions of Ear Works are comprehensive, it is designed to cover the full operation of a Practice up to the point where it becomes completely paper free. This is only possible due to a really complete set of features and powerful integrations to other software such as QuickBooks, Interacoustics, OtoSuite, Outlook and iCal for you Mac lovers. The software is a stand alone software that lives on a server in your Practice. It is not cloud based, however, it is accessible via an LAN, Local Area Network, or a WAN, Wide Area Network. This means that it is eminently suitable for a multi Dispenser, multi branch deployment. The software runs on a Client-Server basis, with each client syncing data to the main server. They have also included a cool feature called Ear Works Lite, which allows you to remove one Client computer, such as a laptop to do some home visits. Any work undertaken on the Client during this period can then be synced back to the server when you are back in the office and connected to the server.
The software is really powerful and can be utilised to run your Practice efficiently with the minimum of fuss and energy. It is a powerful CRM tool with a lot of the features that you would expect from a high end CRM. From within the software each member of the team has the ability to set tasks for each other, send memos to each other and schedule appointments for each other if needed. The software also allows a Practice owner to set up workflows in order to control how things are done. In other words, when you do this, it prompts you to then do that. This also sets out clear protocols, something that is particularly useful if somebody new joins the team or a Temp needs to step in. There is also the ability to set up a checklist for appointments. Another good feature that ensures everybody is following the same protocols.
Ear Works Software Interface
The screen shot above shows the interface of Ear Works with the Scheduler view chosen. If you look closely you will notice that there are in fact two tabs open on the software. A Patient file for a Veronica Bjornson and the scheduler. This is a really cool feature which cuts down on the amount of floating windows that the software produces. As I have said the software is a particularly impressive piece of kit. It is pretty, that is pretty with a capital P, it is beautiful to look at. It also has substance, it is a really impressive piece of software. The interface is well designed and seems almost familiar, this is mainly because it is reminiscent of some Microsoft products. The tool bar is clear and intuitive, it also delivers all of the power you need to quickly and easily navigate through the software. The tool bar also has a my actions drop down box which can be customised. It allows you to set a quick option to access regular actions that you undertake as part of your duties in the Practice.
Ear Works Work Zones
Another really innovative feature of the Ear Works interface is the use of Work Zones. People who have used Linux or Mac will be familiar with the concept. There are up to four Work Zones that you can quickly flick through. This allows you to switch between different areas and different Patients with ease and without having to close up something you are working on if you quickly need to switch to something else. It is obvious that this software is very carefully thought out, this shows in the design and usability.
Ear Works Patient Record
The Patient file feature is comprehensive and is the root of all the connections to other elements of the software such as financials, stock control, scheduling etc. The software has been designed with a completely paperless office in mind. So you can scan and attach any document or just attach any electronic documents you receive to the Patient file.
One of the features I particularly like is the ability to enter a referral source against each Patient record. This feature is fully customisable which gives you a very powerful function for reporting. I think it is imperative for a Practice to know exactly where their Patients are coming from. This allows a Practice to track all marketing activities that are undertaken for impact and ROI. If deployed properly it allows you the comprehensive ability to ascertain what works and what doesn’t. It also clearly lets you know exactly where your Patients are coming from. They also have a very detailed report on Referral Sources showing both the number of patients referred and the total sales generated for each referral source. Exactly what you need to make strategic decisions on your marketing activities.
Ear Works Clinical Records
The Patient’s audiogram and other diagnostic tests may be entered manually. However, you can import the data from an Interacoustic module or Otosuite. So there is not full integration with Noah, although with the advent of Noah 4 and the new Earworks 5 software coming, that is something that Ear Works are looking into.
Ear Works Data Mining Features
Data mining for marketing is very powerful and detailed. The queries can be specified on a significant number of criteria in any AND/OR conditional formula. This allows your Practice to undertake detailed searches of your database for marketing purposes. It allows you great flexibility to clearly and carefully define your targets for Campaign mailing. This will allow you to undertake comprehensive and intelligently focused marketing activities. It will also allow you to carefully manage your Patient Journey mailing activities. All searches can be saved as templates in order that they may be reused as needed.
Another nice feature is that a recurrent task can be set for anybody in the clinic to run a templated mailer and simply print it out with just a few clicks. Once the templates have been defined it’s a simple process to run the mailers. It is a fully integrated process from data extraction through to mail merge and print, which makes it very easy even for novices to create and send a mailer in a very short time without needing to leave the software or use other tools such as Word or Excel.
Ear Works Management Interface
The management interface in Ear Works is a comprehensive and powerful tool. The management package will spit out reports from the regular AR/AP, Sales per month/clinician/source/hearing aid type to Year-To-Year comparisons, Return Rate, Exchange Rate and Binaural Rate reports all the way to full blown Profit and Loss reports. There is also a very useful Daily Report showing the most important KPIs of the clinic (AR, AP, Sales to Date, Estimated Sales vs. target, Sales performance), the scheduling status and the team efficiency in term of pending vs. completed tasks.
There is also a very powerful self-audit tool called Ear Works Alerts, showing various areas that might require attention. Other useful management tools are Find the Money, a report feature that allows business administrators to find, understand and collect their receivables. Schedule template builder, which allows a Practice Manager to create a preset schedule structure designed to reach a certain sales target, based on historical sales performance and available appointment times
The financials in Ear Works cover patient transactions (invoicing, credits, payments, refunds), third party billing (for insurance, organizations or companies), supplier financials (bills, credits, payments and statement reconciliations), cash counts, bank deposits, inventory (ordering, receiving, selling from stock, returning to stock, loaners, demo products, warranty activation/deactivation, internal supplies management, inventory counts, stock value reporting). The export to QuickBooks takes all the financial information recorded in Ear Works, maps it and transfers it to QuickBooks avoiding double data entry. There the accountant can take the Ear Works info – pretty much all the operational financials – and combine them with payroll or any other non-patient transactions and create complete accounting reports.
Even though Ear Works is packed with many features, it has been designed to be easy to grasp and to use even by novice users. I think that the upcoming Ear Works 5 will take this even further to turn Ear Works into possibly the most user friendly OMS in the hearing industry. The Management system offering in our industry is split in two categories subscription web applications and local systems with upfront purchase. Ear Works is offered differently you pay a monthly subscription payment with the advantages of owning your data, given by the local installation. Earworks say that the subscription price is very competitive, even lower than standard cloud subscription apps.
Ear Works has been traditionally present in Canada, US and Australia. With a distributed team in both Europe and North America, Ear Works became uniquely positioned to enter the European market and starting in 2012 Ear Works is being used in the UK by a first set of partner clinics. They hope that soon the software will be available for all UK and Irish hearing practices. They are also hoping to make the software available to other European countries in the very near future.
I have to say that I am really impressed by the power of Ear Works. It can control every facet of your business, the possibilities are really endless. The only problem or failing that I see is the lack of real integration with Noah. Although with the advent of Noah 4 I think Ear Works are going to address this issue. Support services for the software are reputedly good, with fast response to issues reported to me by a dedicated user. If you are thinking of investing your hard earned money in a Practice Management software, Ear Works is definitely worth your consideration.
Just to make it clear, I have no connection to Ear Works and I have not accepted any financial inducements from them or anyone to review this software.
I have to apologise to you, the readers of the blog, it has been a long and difficult couple of weeks. In my state of slight dementia, I posted an early version of the post instead of the finalised version. I have decided to add on the pieces that I missed out and own up to stupidity!
Ear Works is available in differing packages, offering different levels of feature set. In essence you can choose which package suits your Practice and your preferred needs. This gives a lot of versatility and means you are not paying for something you don’t want or need.
Ear Works is the product of combined conceptual thinking of a working Audiologist and a Software Designer. This really shows in the ease of use and the logical processes. It has steadily evolved over several design and feature upgrades to the position it is at today.
Another thing that first brought my interest to Ear Works is the fact that it is the same team that deploy Hearing Pages. Which I think is a very innovative site that is hugely forward looking. The team is obviously innovative and close to the pulse of both our industry and the wider innovations in disruptive technologies.
The designer of the Software is somebody I have spoken to from time to time and I have always felt that he is not only quite an intelligent and driven individual. He is also open to intelligent input from all comers with an intelligent point of view and suggestions. I think that this will continually allow the Software to evolve to meet the changing needs of our industry.
Ear Works, the company and the platform can be viewed at Ear Works Inc , pay them a visit, have a poke around.