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.