Tools to Grow Your Acupuncture Practice | Jasmine Software: 2013

Monday, December 9, 2013

Release News: The Follow Up and Follow Through

As a business owner, following up with your customers for feedback, reviews and referrals is one of the best ways to improve yourself and your business. And the best time to follow up with your customers is immediately following an interaction, while the details of the experience are still fresh in everybody's minds.

However, as an acupuncturist, it can be difficult to ask your patients for feedback immediately following a treatment, especially when they're relaxed and ready to leave the office.

A Simple Follow Up

So a great way to do this is to add a Thank You note at the bottom of your receipt or just a separate piece of paper given at the time of payment and check out. A Thank You note might look something like this:

Thank You for coming into the office. At Authentic Acupuncture, we understand you have many options for treatment and are honored you have chosen us. We strive to provide the best service to our patients.
We love to hear your feedback on how we can improve. Feel free to contact us privately.
If you have a second, please review us on Yelp and like us on Facebook.

A short simple note like above will give your patients some actionable steps after they get home.

An improvement on this simple follow up is to deliver the note at a time when your patients can easily perform your actionable requests. One of the best time for your patients is when they're in front of a computer and are able to send you an email, visit your Yelp and Facebook pages.

Automating the Follow Up

Jasmine Practice Management now sends follow up emails to patients after their appointments. The follow up email templates can be customized and personalized with your style and your actionable requests. With follow up emails, your patients will more likely complete your actionable requests since they're in a better place to do so.

As always, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to drop us a line. You can reach us at


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Release News: Email Templates Spice Things Up

As a business, one way to increase efficiency is to codify and automate your business processes. Being engineers ourselves, we love automation and being able to write scripts to do the work for us. And so we have the same perspective when building Jasmine Practice Management and helping you run a more efficient practice.

One way we're doing this is with the automation of email confirmations and reminders. When a patient is scheduled with your office, she/he immediately receives an email confirming the appointment. Then a day or two before her/his appointment, a reminder email is sent. All this is automatically done, so you don't have to worry about it.

Previously, we would send canned email confirmations and reminders without the ability for customization. We were told they were a bit bland. We took this as a challenge and we love a good challenge! So now in Jasmine Practice Management, emails can be customized to fit your brand and style.

What else would you automate in your business? Feel free to drop us a line. You can reach us at


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

SEO for Acupuncturists

One of the joys of building Jasmine is that we get the privilege and opportunity to speak with many acupuncturists. A question that comes up from time to time is  "Do you know anything about SEO?"

SEO is one of those things we've all heard about and we know it's good for us. But exactly what it is, we have no idea and no idea of how to go about it.

In this post, I'll outline a few simple steps to help you get started with SEO.

What is SEO?

First off, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. And at a high level, that's all it is, which is optimizing our website for search engines. To understand SEO, one first needs to understand that search engines are really dumb. All they really understand are words and strings of words. So they need our help to help them understand which words best represent our business and website.

Below are some simple steps you can use to start implementing SEO for your acupuncture business website.

Know your target market

The first thing we want to think about is who's our target market(s). Knowing this will help us market our business and tailor our website to these people. Keep in mind that we can segment the market in many ways. I would start with a couple markets and expand from there.

For example, we might want to target people in a specific local and with a specific pain that can be treated with acupuncture.

Here are some ideas for target markets:
  • People in Austin
  • People with migraines
  • People with back pain
  • Athletes
    • Runners
    • Football players
    • Basketball players

As you'll notice with "Athletes", a market can be segmented into smaller markets. And the more targeted we can be with our markets, the more effective our SEO will be.

Pick your keywords

After we've picked a couple target markets, we'll then think about which keywords are relevant to our target market. And, by that, I mean, what are the actual words people will be putting into the Google search box. Just think about how you would search for something.

Some examples might be:
  • Acupuncture in Austin
  • Migraine remedies
  • Back pain relief

Another tip, always be asking new patients how they found you. And if they used Google, which search terms they used.

Title tags

Now that we know our markets and the keywords, we can start tailoring our website. One of the main things search engines look for is our page title. The title of the page is also what is displayed to the user in the search results.
<title>Back Pain Remedies | Austin Acupuncture</title>

Description meta tag

In addition to title tags, search engines will look for our description meta tag. These give search engines a summary of what our website is about. Also, the description meta tag is displayed in search results as the description for our website.
<meta name="description" 
content="Austin acupuncture treating people with back 

Good Content & Blog posts

Google loves new relevant content. So, continuously updating your website and writing blog posts that are relevant to our target market will get the attention of Google and rank us higher in search results.

When writing content, if we are informative and relevant, we'll naturally come up with SEO relevant terms. We don't need to over complicate things.

Promote site & Social media

Finally, we'll want to tell people about what we're doing and the new content that we're creating. By telling people, we will establish ourselves as a leader and expert in our field. In your case, an acupuncturists who's a thought leader and expert of certain treatments. And the added bonus is that this creates links back to our website and gives us good Google points.

Some example places we can promote our website:
  • Austin health and wellness websites
  • Back pain related forums
  • Facebook pages, Twitter, etc...

Bonus Points! Google Analytics & Webmaster Tools

For extra points, we can track how people are finding our website. The only way to truly understand our web presence is to measure it. Google offers a great tool for us to easily drop analytics onto our website through Google Analytics.

Google Analytics -

In addition, Google supplies us with another tool called Webmaster Tools to help us understand what Google knows about our website.

Google Webmaster Tools -

Additional tools & References

HubSpot is a free tool which grades websites and gives suggestions on how to improve our marketing.

HubSpot's Marketing Grader -

Below are a couple references on SEO, they are fairly short and will give you a nice overview of SEO.

Google's Search Engine Optimization Guide -
Moz's The Beginner's Guide to SEO -


In conclusion, SEO is only half of your marketing strategy. The more important part is to go out into the communities you're serving and talking to people face to face.

As always, I love to hear your comments and stories. You can reach me at


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Release News: Enhanced Calendar Management

We've heard from our Jasmine Private Beta Users that the ability to have more control and flexibility in managing work hours and out of office time is very important. This is why we are very excited about the recent release to the calendaring functionality.

Recurring Events

One of the main features is the ability to schedule reoccurring events such as recurring patient appointments, lunch time, etc.

Better Control of Schedule
  • Block off busy time, vacations, etc.
  • Show patients available times on the online patient scheduling widget

Another feature is the ability to have a more fine grained control over a practitioners schedule such as blocking off busy time, vacations, etc and based off of this to show available times to the patient through the online scheduling widget.

We're very excited for practitioners to start using the new features and managing a more efficient practice. We love to hear feedback. You can reach us at


Thursday, October 17, 2013

AOM Day - Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day - October 24th

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) Day is on October 24th. AOM Day is a day to celebrate and bring awareness to acupuncture and Oriental medicine. It has been celebrated annually since 2002 and spearheaded by the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and partner organizations, the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia, Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and the Council of State Associations for Acupuncture.

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day is supported through a unique international partnership of organizations including the United States, Canada, Mexico and Pakistan. The partnership includes professional associations, research organizations and educational institutions.

Get Involved

AOM Day is a great way for practitioners and professionals to not only bring awareness to the field but to also selfishly do some self promotion. The "Get Involved" section of the AOM Day site lists several ways for practitioners to promote.

Some ideas you can do to promote your clinic:

  • Promote AOM Day on your blog
  • Notify your mailing list of AOM Day and how you are celebrating
  • Tell your friends and family on your social networks
  • Reach out to local blogs and news outlets plugging AOM Day and your practice
  • Host an open house
  • Offer to give talks about the benefits of acupuncture at a retirement home
  • Reach out to health related organizations (ie. Whole Foods, yoga studios, clinics, etc)
  • Be creative!

Submit Your Event

Once you've figured out what you are going to do, go to the AOM Day website and submit your event. Here is their submission form. 

You'll then be listed on their "Programs and Events" page, which puts you along side others who are active in your field but also brings you some SEO goodness.

If you have more ideas on how acupuncturists can promote the profession and their practice, leave a comment below! 


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

New Superbill to the Rescue!

We're very excited to announce that we've added the ability for practitioners to easily generate a Superbill for their patients from within Jasmine Practice Management. Since the Superbill is electronically generated, it will allow practitioners to email and/or print the Superbill to be given to the patient. See Figure 1. below for an example of a Jasmine Practice Management Subperbill.

Figure 1. Example Super Bill Receipt from Jasmine Practice Management

What's a Superbill?

A Superbill is an itemized receipt used by healthcare providers to reflect rendered services. As a healthcare professional, acupuncturists play in the current dominant health payment system which is insurance. We are committed to having Jasmine Practice Managements provide ethical billing, coding and reimbursement for the Acupuncture profession. And one of the ways that patients are reimbursed for treatment by insurance companies is to provide a Superbill for treatment rendered.

What's in a Superbill?

The Superbill consists of 4 main parts.

  • Provider Information

    The Superbill should contain the name, address and phone number of the healthcare provider.
  • Patient Information

    The Superbill should contain the patient name and contact information.
  • Visit Information

    The Superbill should also contain the visit information such as the date of service, Procedure Codes (CPT) and Diagnosis Codes (ICD-9).
  • Additional Information

    The Superbill can also contain additional notes and comments.

What else does Jasmine Practice Management provide?

In addition to providing the generated Superbill, Jasmine Practice Management also provides additional benefits.

  • Easily reprint Superbill

    Since Superbills are attached to a Patient record, as a healthcare provider, you keep a history of generated Superbills. You are also able to reprint Superbills with ease, if your patient should ask for another copy.
  • Reporting
    As a practice, you can now run reports on all your Superbills and gain better insight into your patient population and why people are coming to see you.

We are always open to questions and comments. Feel free to leave a comment below or reach out to us at

Minto & Tony

Monday, September 16, 2013

Jasmine Software at AOMA (Part 2)

Part two of a two part series on our visit to the AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine.

As Minto said in the first part of this article, we were invited to talk to a practice management class at AOMA. The class was full and had students from different points in their acupuncture training. We were talking to students who were about to graduate and begin their practice and also to students who still had a few years to go before they graduated and began their practice. Minto and I agreed that we wanted to talk about practice management themes and not just do a demonstration of a software product.

So to recap, from the first post, we organized our presentation around Acupuncture Patient Life Cycle ManagementThe life cycle is made up of four key parts:
  • Patient Acquisition
  • Acupuncture Patient Relationship Management
  • Revenue Management
  • Patient Satisfaction

After Minto did an excellent job of presenting each theme, my job was to demonstrate how our Jasmine Practice Management software could be used to deliver solutions for each area of Acupuncture Patient Life Cycle Management.

Patient Acquisition

I first demonstrated that a practice can acquire more clients by making it easy for the new clients to self schedule their first appointments. This was shown using the online scheduling feature in Jasmine which makes it easy for a new patient to schedule their own appointment. The clinic can also make the first appointment paper work easy by using another Jasmine feature, automatic follow-up emails to insure the new patient gets current and up to date instructions on how to prepare the paper work the clinic needs for all new patients

Acupuncture Patient Relationship Management

The next theme to cover was Acupuncture Patient Relationship Management. I was able to show how Jasmine delivers on this practice management theme by relating all relationship information to a client record. When you view a client record you can see the history of your appointments, your SOAP notes, and your Receipts. Jasmine also has feature to track additional exchanges you may have with your client. You can log phone conversations and send and log email and all these will be centered on the client record. Because the software is browser based, I was also able to demonstrate how fast and easy it is to view multiple SOAP notes by opening each individual note is a different tab of the browser.

Revenue Management

For the Revenue Management theme, we discussed the value of having an on-line version of your receipts. Using receipt information and the reporting feature in Jasmine, we demonstrated and discussed the value of having reports which compare income sources, give Month over Month income comparisons, and report on sales tax collected. Jasmine Reporting can work with any data you have entered in your system, so we also demonstrated a report on the percentage of customers who are returning customers. Jasmine also allows the clinic to create a dashboard gauge from any report. This feature allows the practitioner to see up to the minute clinic status when you log into Jasmine Practice Management application. Jasmine also offers integration with accounting systems like Quickbooks Wave, etc. 

Patient Satisfaction

The final theme was Patient Satisfaction. Here we demonstrated how Jasmine Practice Management software can use the information collected in your SOAP notes to create a patient progress report. We talked about this in a recent blog post, so you can see something similar it the demonstration in the "Pain Level and Reporting" section of our Second Beta Users Meetup post.

The class remained very active during the presentation. I enjoyed the discussions about the themes and the demonstrations were well received. It was exciting to interact with the students and to hear their feedback on Jasmine Practice Management. 

What features do your think deliver on the four themes of Acupuncture Patient Life Cycle Management?

We also look for questions and comments on the blog posts. Please feel free to leave a comment below or reach out to me at

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Jasmine Software at AOMA (Part 1)

Part 1 of a two part series on our visit to the AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine

Tony presenting Jasmine Practice Management at AOMA

Last Wednesday, we were very honored to be invited to present to the practice management class at AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine. The practice management class is taught by Cat Calhoun. The class teaches students various aspects of running their own practice such as writing a business plan, budgeting and marketing.

We presented to the class the Acupuncture Patient Lifecycle Management and how those concepts fit with Jasmine Practice Management.

Acupuncture Patient Lifecycle Management

Acupuncture Patient Lifecycle Management is process a patient goes through as a patient progresses through a practice, from the moment a patient learns about your practice to when they are healthy. The lifecycle is made up of four key parts.

  • Patient Acquisition
  • Acupuncture Patient Relationship Management
  • Revenue Management
  • Patient Satisfaction
Patient Acquisition

Patient acquisition is answering and solving the problem of how does a practice goes about acquiring customers. Some common methods are having a website, online marketing and advertising.

Acupuncture Patient Relationship Management

Acupuncture patient relationship management is answering and solving the problem of how a practice manages its relationship with its patients. As a practice, managing the patient relationship includes keeping patient contact information, health and treatment histories.

Revenue Management

Revenue management is answering and solving the problem of how a practice makes money and tracks its revenue and expenses. Revenue management helps a practitioner understand the overall health of the practice. As well as using data and analytics to understand the month to month / year to year growth of the practice.

Patient Satisfaction

Patient satisfaction is answering and solving the problem of how satisfied patients are with the service of the practice. High patient satisfaction leads to high patient loyalty and increased revenue from returning patients and referral to friends and family.

As always, we are open to questions and comments. Feel free to leave a comment below or reach out to me at


Friday, August 16, 2013

Second Beta Users Meetup

We held our second Beta User meeting on 15 Aug 2013. In order to accommodate our growing beta user group (now with members outside of Austin), we decided to try to meet using Google Hangout. The beta users were excited to try a new technology for the meeting (gee, you think that is why these folks are helping develop new technology for acupuncture practice management?).

Our meeting began on time and we had Minto and I in front of one computer and four others joining in from their different locations. The audio and video was acceptable (thanks Google) and we started the meeting with a screen share presentation of the new features delivered in our most recent release. 

The new features delivered are
  • Google Calendar Integration
  • Pain Level and Reporting

Google Calendar Integration

The Google calendar integration was well received and will be adopted by one of the beta users who is using a Google calendar to coordinate different practitioners using a shared space.

Using this new Google Calendar integration means the appointment only needs to be scheduled in the Jasmine calendar and then the other practitioners will be able to see the appointment in the shared Google calendar. To remain HIPPA compliant we restrict the information which is written in the appointment seen in the Google calendar.

Any updates or cancellations to the appointment in the Jasmine calendar will also update the Google calendar.

Pain Level and Reporting

The pain level and reporting feature is part of the shared vision of creating tools so the acupuncturist can rapidly track and communicate patient progress.

To this end a new “pain level” field was added to the SOAP Notes record and a new report was added which will graph the change in pain level over time for a single client.

The system will automatically keep this graph up to date as long as pain level information is recorded in the SOAP Notes for the client.

Take a look at the video to learn more about this functionality.

The meeting concluded with a each participant giving feedback on working with their Jasmine Practice Management instance. This was a very positive exchange about what was working and what needs improvement.

Tony Godwin

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

First Beta Users Meetup & Building a Community

A few weeks ago, we had our first Jasmine Practice Management Beta Users Meetup here in town, Austin, TX. Three acupuncturists, Tony (on the phone) and myself met at a Starbucks on South Lamar. The scene was rather humorous, 4 people with laptops huddled around a small table in a loud and crowed coffee shop.

The meetup provided an opportunity for demos of the product and also to provide product feedback. The feedback was both positive and constructive. And, we walked away with enough items to keep us busy for a long time.

As with all gatherings of smart people, magic happened. We started sharing advice and experiences around running a successful practice, independent of Jasmine Practice Management. The Beta group consists of acupuncturists at various stages of their careers, so the knowledge is both deep and broad.

We are seeing the beginning of what I hope is the formation of a community. A community of acupuncturists who share knowledge and advice not only about Jasmine Practice Management but also the successful management of an acupuncture practice.

Our next meetup is tomorrow via Google Hangout. I'm excited to hear the feedback and see the community grow.

Minto Tsai

Friday, June 7, 2013

Continuous Customer Feedback

As we've been demo'ing our prototype to the acupuncture community, we've been overwhelmed by the response and support you have given us. It's encouraging and exciting to hear your ideas about different product features and how they can solve your problems.

Your input and feedback is very important to us and they help us build a great product. In reality, you, the acupuncture community, are building the product that you need and desire, we are just the ones putting the bits together.

We feel strongly that continuous customer feedback is important. And to help with collecting and tracking this feedback, we have put together a Feedback Forum where you can provide product feedback, ideas and vote on your favorite ones. And based on your feedback, this will drive our product development.

See you at the Feedback Forum! And as always, you can email me at

Thank You,

Minto Tsai

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Security: Philosophy of Trust

As we continue working hard to make Jasmine Practice Management a reality, we are now at a point where we are working on passing the Salesforce Security Review. I want to talk some about the security review and what it means to Jasmine Practice Management and you.

In the development of Jasmine Practice Management, we've made the architectural decision to build in the cloud and on a platform called Salesforce. While we believe that being cloud based offers many advantages and is the future of acupuncture practice management, we are also aware of the risks that come with an always on and always online environment. The main risk being security.

What is the Salesforce Security Review?

The Salesforce Security Review is a mandatory annual security review for applications built on the Salesforce Platform. The Salesforce Platform being the underlying technology we have chosen to build Jasmine Practice Management. The Salesforce Platform is a very powerful platform to build applications on top of and is a larger topic to be discussed in a later post.

Every year, Jasmine Practice Management will undergo this security review to ensure that new features and functionality we've developed adhere to Salesforce's strict level of security.

The scope of the security review covers all aspects of the application, even parts of the application not built directly on top of the platform. The reason for this is that the security of a system must be treated as whole to ensure that no vulnerabilities exist.

The security review is heavily based on OWASP, the Open Web Application Security Project, which is an organization whose mission is on improving the security of software. What this means is that the security review has been developed to meet industry best practices for security and to ensure applications meet a high level of security.

The many levels of the security review

The first level of the security review involves a source code vulnerability scanner. Brakeman will analyze our code to find security issues as we are developing the application and we can quickly address the issues.

The next level is to use industry strength security scanning tools, Checkmarx and Burp Suite, which mimic what hackers would do and to uncover security risks and vulnerabilities. These tools are used while the application is running and on the network as they would be in production.

The final level of the security review is a manual and automated application and network security testing performed by an expert on the Salesforce Security team. The results of the review are then shared with us and any issues will need to be resolved before Salesforce will allow Jasmine Practice Management to be offered on the platform.

Philosophy of Trust

As a company, Jasmine Software, we want to earn your trust. And we understand that trust takes time and must be earned. We intend to take steps to be a transparent company and part of that is talking directly and openly about security and keeping your data safe.

The security review is just a small part of a much larger discussion on security which I will be addressing more about in upcoming posts. In the meantime, for more details about Salesforce security is here.

If you have comments or question, feel free to contact me any time at

Thank You,

Minto Tsai

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Using Email to Maintain Contact with Clients

    During the interviews we have been doing with acupuncturists, we have been hearing them talk about using email to maintain contact with clients. This makes good business sense and stands out as a professional way to develop your clinic. The rest of this post will describe some of the email exchanges we have talked about with the community.

    A common request is for an email to be sent to a new client before their first appointment. This email can be very important in setting the tone for your business relationship with a new client. It makes sense for this email to welcome the new client and to provide them with information they will need in order to show up for their appointment (date, time, address). We are also hearing from many of you that this email should provide a way for the new client to access and complete the forms which are required by your clinic. This will save time for the clinic and the client if they can arrive for their first appointment having already completed an intake form, privacy policy statement, referral notification, arbitration agreement, and insurance information.

    A second type of email we have heard about is appointment reminders. This can indeed be a useful tool in helping new and established clients show up on time for their appointment. It is also useful for this communication to include information about their appointment. Clients might need to be reminded about the treatment they are going to receive, the status of any package they have purchased, and when they can expect the appointment to end. We are hearing that most clinics want a good deal of flexibility with this type of email. We have been told that not every client needs a reminder so the clinic should be able to enable this email for some clients and disable it for others. Some clinics have also asked for the ability to have a confirmation be a part of this email. This means a client needs to acknowledge they have seen the reminder and the clinic's calendar should show which clients have acknowledged their upcoming appointments. This way a clinic can identify a client who might need a telephone call because they have not confirmed their appointment.

    We have heard from quite a few clinics about the need to have a follow-up email after a client's appointment. This can also be an excellent way to maintain a faithful customer base. The follow-up email can include information about any herbs or exercises which have been identified for the client after their treatment. In addition, we have been told the follow-up email should include a request for the client to write a review. Word of mouth has always be a great way to develop your business and in today's on-line society a good on-line review can make a difference in your business. Think of it as word of mouth with the power of the internet.

    In addition to these basic business practices, we have also heard from some clinics that they want a way to review their customer base and to be able to send a more targeted message. Some have asked for the ability to send birthday greetings to clients. Others have asked for the ability to send an email with updates about the clinic which may pertain to some clients, but not others. For example if you develop new treatments which may benefit some segment of your clients it can be beneficial to your business development to get this message communicated to those clients. We have also had requests for the ability to send an email to clients who have not been to the clinic recently.

    I hope this post has given you some ideas about using email to communicate with your clients. We believe that our practice management application should support all of these types of communication. We look forward to working with the community to develop and deliver the right solutions to help your business thrive and grow. 

Please leave your thoughts and comments below or email us directly at

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Predictive SOAP Note

The SOAP note is the standard method for documenting and communicating patient information and evaluation. The SOAP note as it is being used today is very static and historical, only to be filed away in an ever growing filing cabinet. At most, it seems like, acupuncturists are only viewing the last session's notes in preparation for the most current session. However, this seems like a great waste of data that could be used to provide more insight into the patient's health and treatment progress.

What if SOAP notes were predictive?

The predictive SOAP note is the idea that if we combine the right tools with the right data, we can start to explore some interesting ideas around communicating patient care and progress to bring about better patient care and satisfaction. An additional tool to complement an acupuncturists' current patient workflow.

An example of this is the ability visually communicate a patient's treatment progress, as seen in the chart below, which shows a patient's treatment progress over time and multiple visits.

As we build out the SOAP note, we will listen to and discuss with the A/OM community about the relavant data that can be collected and visualized.

The starting point for Jasmine is the Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin's (AOMA) SOAP note as used in clinics and taught to students.

Please leave your thoughts and comments below or email me directly at

Thank You.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Acupuncture Patient Relationship Management

From talking to acupuncturists, it quickly becomes apparent that relationships with patients is very important. We believe that patient relationships are key to running a successful practice. So much of our focus to date has been thinking and building around this core idea of an Acupuncture Patient Relationship Management (aPRM).

What is Acupuncture Patient Relationship Management?

We see the Acupuncture Patient Relationship Management platform as facilitating a more holistic and communicative relationship between patients and TCM practitioners. aPRM at it's core is a patient relationship management from which all your TCM and practice management data is interconnected and flows through. Think of it as the central view of your patient from where you can easily access his/her contact details, SOAP Notes, recent appointments, receipts and communication history. See the example below which shows a fictitious patient profile. (You can click on the image for a larger view.)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Where Tradition and Innovation Meet

Traditional Chinese Medicine is rooted in over 2,000 years of rich history. As with any field, history and tradition are the roots of stability that continues its survival. In addition, every field also needs the growing branches of innovation to progress it into new territories and advances... and this is where tradition and innovation meet.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is ripe for innovation in all areas from herbs to needles to practice management. And as with any change and disruption, it will not be easy and it will be difficult for some to accept. Many will argue that the status quo of doing things have been working for years and that there is no reason to change. However, the change agents realize that the old way of doing business will not take the field to the next level that it needs to get to.

I believe that through technology, there are better ways of caring for patients and measuring patient progress. And all this can be achieved by a stable foundation of a good practice management software that is dedicated to continuous improvement, continuous innovation and the continuous respect of tradition.

I've recently been thinking through the problem of measuring patient progress and came across an amazing example of the out of box thinking and innovation that can happen in acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. The example is a 2012 FastCompany article entitled, "A New High-Tech Upgrade To Acupuncture Lets You See It’s Working In Real Time" by Elizabeth Woyke. The article talks about an invention by Kiseok Song, a Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) student, who thought up the idea of a smart acupuncture needle, which let's you wirelessly measure electrical activity the needles are stimulating in a patient's muscle. Below is an image of the technology from the article.

This invention by Song is an example of the innovation that can happen with technology in a 2,000 year old field.

In the coming blog posts, I will show some of the innovations that is being built into the Jasmine Practice Management product. If you are an acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, who has ideas for improvements in your own practice, we would love to talk to you! You can email me at BlogCatalog Online Marketing

Monday, March 4, 2013

Data Portability: You Own Your Data

Two weekends ago, we attended the Southwest Symposium held here in Austin, TX by the esteemed Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin (AOMA) school. The event was a great opportunity for us to immerse ourselves in the community and get a chance to talk to practitioners, vendors, various schools and the AOMA staff.

We brought our iPad to the event and showed our prototype to as many people as we could. During one of our demos, a very spirited practitioner, asked a very important question, which is "What happens to my patient data if I no longer want to use your system?"

This was a great opportunity for us to talk about one of our core beliefs which is a practice management software should allow for data portability and data ownership. A practitioner should be able to change software vendors and never feel locked in because she cannot get her data out of the system. So the ability to export your data in an open format is very important to us. Also, we believe the data you've entered into a practice management software is owned by you the practitioner, and not the software vendor.

Below is a screenshot showing the export service within the Jasmine Practice Management software and what you are seeing is the ability by the practitioner to export all her data into a downloadable zip file. And within the zip file contains a CSV (Comma Separated Variable) file with all your data in an nonproprietary and easily portable format.

Data Portability: What are the issues to consider?

  • The data needs to be easily exportable. This should be a standard, built in feature. You should not have to pay the software vendor to export your data.
  • The format of the data from the export should be in a nonproprietary format and is understood by other software.
  • Make sure your software vendor is clear that you own your data that is within the system.

So as you compare various EMRs and practice management software in the market, always keep in mind whether the system allows for data portability. You own your data.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pre-Beta Learnings

In an effort to understand the problems and needs around managing a practice for acupuncturists, we interviewed 25 acupuncturists to date, ranging from sole practitioners to multi-practitioner clinics.

We started with 3 assumptions about the problems plaguing acupuncturists, difficulties in managing appointments, keeping a client database, and appointment reminding. Acupuncturists were asked to rank the 3 problems based on experiences in their practice. As seen in the pie chart below, of the acupuncturists interviewed, 54.2% ranked managing appointments as their top problem in their practice.

The interviews provided key insights to help us refine our approach:

Paper is king.
The most used tool for acupuncturists to schedule appointments is the trusted pen and paper with 24% mentioning having an appointment book. When asked why they aren’t using an online or electronic calendar, a common reason given was that current solutions don’t fit their needs. We also heard many people double entering schedules in paper form and electronic.

Paperless by 2014.
Another addition to the “paper is king” theme, is that most acupuncturists are keeping paper files of their patient forms and treatment notes. It is also widely rumored in the acupuncture community that by 2014, acupuncturists will need to be paperless. Many acupuncturists are looking into an EMR (Electronic Medical Record) system. And many are interested in using a tablet like an iPad for taking notes.

Customer contact information is stored in multiple places.
Most acupuncturists are collecting customer contact information in multiple systems from paper to electronic calendars to Quickbooks. There is no integration between the systems which make it difficult to keep the contact information in sync. Having previously worked at an online marketing company, we know the importance of the customer database also known as the CRM (Customer Relationship Management). The problem with having customer data in multiple places is that it leads to inconsistent data, which makes it difficult to do online marketing and perform customer analytics that will grow your business.

We are excited to be working with such a vibrant community and look forward to sharing our progress with you. We are open to and welcome any comments you have.