Last month, we interviewed Brandon Betancourt, practice administrator at Salud Pediatrics, about Salud's switch to PCC's Partner practice management system. And while that story captured the highlights of the decision-making process, Brandon has since written a blog that digs deeper into whys and hows:
Why We Selected Physician's Computer Company as Our New Practice Management Vendor
We decided to switch our practice management system. We selected Physician’s Computer Company as our new vendor.
I’ve been a fan of PCC since I learned about them and I’ve always said that had we known about them before buying all of our IT, we would of gone with them. But we had made a huge investment in IT before learning about PCC and it didn’t make sense to move things over back then. We were already too vested in our infrastructure to make a drastic transition like that. But as usual, things change and we felt it was time to make the move.
Here is a little back story.
Why I’ve always liked Physician Computer Company
For starters, they have made our business, their single business. Meaning, they are exclusively a pediatric driven organization. Not only that, they’ve been doing pediatrics for 30 years. I think there is something to be said about that.
Because they’ve made pediatrics their business, they know it better than we know it ourselves. Sure, we know our own practice. But they know the business of pediatrics better than we do. There is huge value in that.
Another cool thing that you get when you sign up with PCC, is benchmarking. I like to think of them as the MGMA of the pediatric world. What they do is look at the data from all their [pediatric] customers and use it to benchmark your practice.
As if the benchmarking isn’t cool enough, they are also in a position to help your business maximize your clinical goals. For example, by looking at one’s immunizations rates and comparing them with their data, they can tell you if this is an area you could improve on. Here, here and here are some example of what I’m describing.
This probably is going to sound cheesy, but what the heck. When you buy into PCC, you get a partner that delights in knowing you are winning as a practice. Their goal is for you to be the best practice (both clinically and financially) you can possibly be.
I haven’t seen the company’s written values, I have no doubt this is a core value of the company. Why do I believe this? Because I’ve seen PCC take a hit on a sale or even lose a customer in order to meet the needs of the customer.
You know it is a core value when they are willing to be punished for it.
The decision wasn’t easy
Despite riding high on this company, it took me a long time to make a decision to move things to PCC. In fact, I was on fence for a very long time (the only thing I regret about the process so far is that some people at PCC saw what a little wuss I was about taking the plunge; but please keep that info between you and me. I have a reputation to uphold :-).
I was hesitant to make a decision for several reasons.
For starters, we liked our PM. It has been working fine for us. Although it didn’t have all the bells and whistles I wanted it to have, the system was flexible enough to let me work around its limitations.
We were also very comfortable with our Practice Management support. Our IT guy, Mike Schwartz is a boss! But moving to PCC would mean we would probably have to part ways with him.
Leaving Mike’s expertise, common sense and no-sense practical decision making — which helped us save money while maximizing our practice’s efficiency so many times — was going to hurt.
Another thing that was going to hurt, was leaving our billing company. David Brown and his team at Bookkeeping and Business Service (BBS) have been exceptional partners. They’ve always understood that our success is their success.
I also think that the set-up we have with BBS has turned out to be a great strategic move that would have not worked had BBS not been on board with my ideas.
Many companies will tell you that the customer is the most important thing, but it isn’t always true. Let me tell you that for BBS, it is true.
Here is another reason why I hesitated
PCC offers outstanding service, and even though they may be willing to take a hit or two in the best interest of their customers, they aren’t Mother Teresa. What do I mean? These guys are expensive; they are NOT a non-profit.
I understand that this level of service comes at a price. So that wasn’t an issue for me. The issue was, could I achieve the same level of productivity for our practice without spending so much money?
It is like deciding to work-out on your own or join a gym and hire a personal trainer.
Another big part of this is that change is no fun. As much as I advocate it and tell people to embrace it, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that thinking about a transition like this made me apprehensive. Let’s face it, the status quo is very comfortable and there is no doubt that a transition like this will disrupt everything.
It would fundamentally change our practice in more ways than one. Were we ready for that? More importantly for us was, did we need to make this transition? Where do we want to be?
A few years ago, Joanna and I had some challenging times in the office. These challenges prompted us to take a look at the practice from a different perspective.
At that point we had been in business for seven years, so we asked ourselves, if we had to start all over again, what would we do different? We also thought about where we wanted to be as a practice in seven more years.
The answer to those questions led us to the conclusion that we needed to align ourselves with different partners that understood are needs, our challenges and our objectives a little better.
Not to say that our previous vendors didn’t understand our needs or didn’t’ help us overcome our challenges. But we were at a different point in our practice life and felt it was time to move on.
So here we are today. Locked, loaded and ready to make this happen. We are shooting for a go-live date between November or December of this year. But we’ve already begun the preparations. I’m sure I’ll have more stories to tell as we embarque in this new journey.
Brandon Betancourt is a pediatric practice administrator. He works for Salud Pediatrics in Chicago. To read more of Brandon's articles, click on this link