The IPRO Practice Management System, Thorough,efficient, Comprehensive Practice Management Software
Co-Authored By Lynne Leeming & Geoffrey Cooling
The IPRO practice management system is a commercially available Practice Management Software that is designed and distributed by HS IPRO International. The software was originally designed for the Optical profession, but has been adapted for Audiology. You should not let this de-value the software in anyway. IPRO is simply an astonishing piece of software. The software is based on a modular concept, or perhaps the best way to explain it would be a series of Apps. Each App is designed to undertake different tasks for your Practice.
This simply means that you can buy what you want and only what you want. The software is not just integrated with Noah, it in fact has the Noah engine embedded in it. As with a Widex Practice management software named Infotrak, the designers basically ripped the top of Noah 3 and overlaid their own interface. I loved Infotrak, unfortunately it has gone the way of the Dodo. But It was an amazing piece of kit while it was available.
Back to IPRO, the system lives either on your computer or your server, There is no cloud version at the moment. This has it’s own benefits of course because you need no internet connection, ideal for domiciliary visits. However, separate branch servers can be connected to a single hub over a wide area network. This makes the software ideal for single or multi branch deployment.
The software also has a comprehensive documents management system. This enables scanning or importing in, of any other patient related document to reduce your paper record keeping. It can also store JPEG images and has the ability to also take free format notes. I would like to hand you over to Lynne Leeming, Lynne is a Private Practitioner from the United Kingdom who has been actively using the software on a day to day basis.
Why The IPRO Practice Management System?
Many people ask me why I decided to invest in the IPRO Practice Management System. My answer – at the time it was the only system available for private practices in the UK. That was 2 years ago and there are now a small number of competitors coming into the market. When asked now, “would I still have chosen IPRO over and above the competitor systems?”, I say “absolutely – there is no comparison” and why? Let me tell you why…
There are two extremely important factors that I think make IPRO stand out above the rest (as well as the functionality benefits that I’ll come onto later):-
Firstly, the system is yours. It is on your laptop, hard drive, server. Wherever you chose to put it. No-one else has access to it and you are not relying on any other Company to look after your data. It is not Cloud based. You do not need an internet or 3G signal to access your system – essential for home visits in remote or rural areas. When I go on home visits I have my entire database and diary system with me. Wherever I go, IPRO comes too.
I am not reliant on hoping I will be able to get a signal to access my data. If the clients I am visiting change during the day it’s not a problem, because I haven’t just downloaded those I thought I needed from the Cloud, I’ve got everybody with me all the time, and I can work from home. I can’t get a 3G signal at home and my internet is far from 100% stable. So, I use my home visiting module and can write client reports, work on the diary or review fittings from the comfort of my armchair.
Secondly, the system is modular – you only need to buy the modules you need and can add others at any time in the future. This worked extremely well for me. At first I was working on a purely home visiting basis and didn’t need an Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) system or Statistics module that kept me up to date of how individual branches or dispensers were performing. I didn’t need to scan documents into client card files as I had quite a nice and well organised filing system in place and I wasn’t doing an awful lot of marketing so didn’t need Patient Promotion.
So, I started small, learnt how the basic modules worked and then added additional units as the business grew. I developed a shop based practice and had the need for EPOS, Patient Promotion and Document Management etc. Do I have all the modules? No I don’t. I haven’t yet added the Electronic Signature unit into the system (but it won’t be long before I do) and I don’t have CRM markings as I find I can search for all the data I need for my promotions with the data I currently record, and I don’t have Post Coder – I simply type the full address in rather than having a post code look-up system.
The next question I get asked is what is the support and back-up like. You need to remember that we have German efficiency behind IPRO. There is a UK hotline – I dial a UK telephone number and get automatically transferred to the team in Leonberg. My telephone call is included in my free calls from my telephone supplier as it is classed as a UK call. My call is answered by one of three members of the support team who answer the call in English. There is no requirement for you to speak German at all. They can then take control of my computer remotely and will solve any problem or issue that I have, usually there and then. On occasion I have needed a call back which has never taken more than 30 minutes from my logging a problem.
Even when my laptop crashed and died completely I was back up and running on my spare one within half an hour of reporting I had a problem (and the problem was not due to IPRO it was a system failure of the laptop) . If the issue is not urgent I can arrange a call back appointment. I email the team and ask them to call me at a given time on a given date and it happens. The support is second to none, and of course, IPRO have a UK based representative so if I need someone to visit I just give Jay a quick call and arrange an appointment. No waiting around for someone to be visiting the UK.
IPRO will also set up your system the way you want it. It will be devised and customised for your practice. They will set up the VAT rates and your partial exemption arrangements within the finance modules, they will develop and create your most commonly used documents to your specifications within the IPRO word processor, set up the categories on your EPOS system so that you can track how much revenue is generated from different areas such as hearing aids, accessories, professional services. They will convert your existing NOAH database so that all the information sits neatly within IPRO from day 1 – you don’t have to re-enter old information.
IPRO can be made as simple or as complicated to use as you like. You can be up and running performing all the basic functions required to create Client Card Files and Hearing Aid Sales, undertake fittings and record data in NOAH with only a few hours of training. If like me, you want to push the software you can go deeper and create your own documents using text parameters, creating mailings and emailing them out rather than printing and posting etc. etc. They will support you every step of the way and with online training the support does not end when they have completed the installation and returned to Germany – don’t forget, we always have Jay! … and it doesn’t stop there,
IPRO are constantly tweaking, developing and updating the system. It is and always will be a “work in progress”. Updates are easily accessed via the Maintenance button. It may only be a font change in one field or an extended field length, or it might be a completely new look appointments diary or, as in my case recently, a complete upgrade to the new version, but it’s all made so easy.
So what does IPRO do? I could go on forever on this subject, so here is an abbreviated version of what IPRO does for me…
1. User Interface
The IPRO user interface is extremely easy to follow. The start-up toolbar is found on your desktop and gives you the facility to enter into any of the main modules, for example:-
Client Card File
Online Data Service
You simply click on the relevant icon and are immediately within a fully functional module. Other modules are accessed via a drop down box from the tool bar and you simply select the module you require:-
Order Status Control
The screen is clutter free and the icons are easy to follow and understand. The colours are sympathetic and contemporary, soothing and calming to the eye, but they do not only have a cosmetic function – click on a blue bar and it opens up that section of the module further to allow for additional data inputting.
2. Client Screen
The client screen has a logical layout – client details, demographics and contact information on the left, all other information on the right. It is possible to access any single piece of information about a client simply by clicking on the appropriate tab. You can access NOAH from here, obtain information about outstanding or closed orders and ALL hearing aid information at a glance.
From the client screen you can access all other client related functions. You can record hearing aid orders and sales, log hearing aids that are sent for repair, create payment plans for clients wishing to pay in instalments, set up client reminders for servicing and access the diary.
3. Audiology Testing
A NOAH engine is fully integrated within the IPRO system and can be accessed from the client card file or hearing aid sale screens. All the functions of NOAH are available without having to close IPRO. There is two way communication between NOAH and IPRO, so client demographics entered within IPRO appear in NOAH and hearing aid fitting information created in NOAH appears within IPRO. Nothing has to be entered twice. An example of this is day to day practice would be to enter NOAH from the hearing aid sale screen the clients name and date of birth details are automatically extracted from the IPRO client card file and placed into the NOAH system.
An audiogram can then be performed and the data imported via the audiometers NOAH assessment module (if the audiometer has one). This is then taken straight into one of the hearing aid manufacturers fitting modules for the programming and fitting of the hearing aid. Once the NOAH session is closed you are taken straight back to the hearing aid sale screen where the NOAH sessions are already documented within IPRO. Audiometric information can then be used by IPRO and placed into customised reports should you wish to create a report for onward referral or for the clients own records.
Audiograms can also be recorded via IPRO’s own audiogram module. These are then readily available within the NOAH system – a process that is useful if you don’t have NOAH on all computers on the network e.g. a receptionists computer.
IPRO incorporates a full EPOS system (electronic point of sale) and can benefit from the addition of an electronic till drawer. From the EPOS system you can access clients outstanding invoices or make cash sales over the counter. These can be allocated to individual clients or unallocated to “one off” customers who have popped in to pick up a pack of batteries.
All transactions have a unique number allocated to them to indicate which system created the invoice or sale, for example, a pro-forma invoice will have a different code system to a cash sale which has a different invoice number system to a sale created on a different computer egg home visiting. Each payment is also allocated to the individual member of staff you took the payment and the VAT content is automatically calculated taking into account partial or full exemption. Each payment is tracked back to the original client or invoice and marked as paid within the clients card file. A quick check in the Office system will tell you of any outstanding unpaid invoices so you know which clients need chasing up.
Talking of chasing up – when a hearing aid repair is logged in a client card file it is automatically placed within the Repair Workshop log. A quick check in here will let you know which hearing aids are away at repair, when they were sent and where to, thereby letting you keep up with which ones need chasing. The same applies for new hearing aid orders which are placed in the Hearing Aid Orders log and for ear moulds in the Ear moulds log. Gone are the days of diaries full of scribbling’s and post it notes in client’s files to remind you to chase hearing aids.
IPRO not only takes care of money coming into the practice but also of money going out. Cash can be taken from the till and logged against the reason eg cleaning or postage. A Daily Closing Balance is created so that you know how much has been taken by cash, cheque or card and how much needs to be removed from the till and banked to maintain the daily float ready for the next working day.
It will tell you how much has been taken on hearing aid sales, accessories, professional services, how much was fully vat able, partially vat able or exempt. For a multi-branch business it will also give branch by branch or employee by employee breakdown as well via the statistics module. The accounting side of things can be exported to other accounting packages or Excel so that the information is there ready for the Accountant.
5. Mail Marketing
From a marketing point of view, with Patient Promotion I can target a specific group of clients and mailshot them by letter, email or text message with all the latest news and information. By asking clients what brought them into the practice I can then evaluate each campaign and monitor any revenue generated. This is great for auditing advertising campaigns and seeing what works and what doesn’t. I have already made significant changes to my campaigns as a direct result of this feature, thereby only undertaking those adverts and events that actually generate income.
Customised letters can be created either through IPRO’s own word processor or imported from systems, individualised within the client card file, saved within that clients records and mailed without affecting the master template. Documents can be scanned into the software and saved within a clients own card file so that letters and reports from doctors, suppliers or the client themselves can be stored and the original paper copy can be destroyed. If you want to build a paper-free system then IPRO can do it all.
As you might expect IPRO has a fully functional appointments diary accessed from either the initial toolbar or the clients card file. Appointments can be colour coded, employees can have their own colour as can room allocation. When making appointments you van search by dispenser name or room availability ensuring you don’t double book either an employee or room. Standard appointment times are entered, specific to your own practice, but these can be overridden at any time if a dispenser wants a slightly longer or shorter appointment than the norm.
The diary can also control annual leave allowances, making it instantly clear how much leave an employee has left to take in any given year. “To Do” notes can be created as reminders and regular appointments can be easily inputted using the “appointment series” feature. When setting up the diary the dispensers normal working hours can be entered ensuring it is obvious to all the hours that that individual is available each day. Bank Holidays are automatically shaded out and school holidays highlighted. The client card file can be accessed directly from the appointments diary, and when the next appointment is due a reminder will flash up on the screen 5 or 10 minutes beforehand to warn the dispenser that the next appointment is due.
Appointment reminders can be set so that the client receives a reminder by either SMS or email a few days before thereby reducing the number of “DNA’s” and improving productivity.
7. Integration to Any Other Software
I think this has been covered elsewhere as it has been relevant to other modules. Documents can be imported into client card files either by scanning, or via importation from other word processing packages etc.
There is a seamless integration between IPRO and NOAH so that you hardly know where one system stops and the other one starts. All other manufacturer software modules are available through NOAH, as it would be if you had a standalone version, but without the need to re-enter information.
All data can be backed up either to an emergency copy, held on a separate laptop or onto a memory stick or remote back-up server (if your hardware supplier provides you with this function).
And finally, for those who undertake home visits, you also have full copy of the database on your domiciliary laptop, so you never need be without a clients records.
I’m sure there are many features that I haven’t yet described. I’m sure there are some features that I haven’t yet found! So, why did I invest in IPRO? – because I wanted to invest in the future of my practice, to modernise my systems and have all my data in one place. The system has streamlined my practice, enabled me to undertake relevant and profitable marketing campaigns, it’s stable and has excellent back-up services and support when needed and it looks good.
For further information please visit www.ipro.de , telephone Jay Greenslade on 07713 113476 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information provided by:- Lynne Leeming, MSc RHAD MSHAA, Hearing Aid Dispenser, Charnwood Hearing Aid Centre Limited
As you can see Lynne buys into IPRO, she simply thinks it is fantastic. Having done a very thorough run through with Jay Greenslade, I would tend to agree with her. The system is not pretty, or at least I don’t think it is, but my lord it is comprehensively functional. I was absolutely impressed by its quite amazing abilities. One of the things that grabbed me was the ability to set up automatic scheduling and reminders for recalls. You can also set up different categories of recall, allowing you to completely automate the Patient journey.
The features of the IPRO practice management system are truly endless, as Lynne has said for UK users the key USP is Jay Greenslade. He affords in country back-up and support. The technical support, while removed is also second to none, now if they could just make it prettier. I have attached a summary of the features of IPRO for you to download. You can download it here
Thank you to Lynne for her input, it was invaluable to get a user’s perspective.