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Cleaning up

Keeping practice data up to date may seem boring – yet it’s vital. Ros Campbell shows how to sort out the kind of database mess that might cost you time and money

An up-to-date client database is one of your most valuable resources. The trouble is that inertia sets in, or other priorities take over, and information just gets carried forward year after year.

Explore the reasons why this happens, and maybe you’ll discover that it’s time to get tough and make your database easier to maintain and mine for valuable nuggets of information.

Who can set up clients?

Focus on obtaining the right access balance: the practice team needs to be able to register a client for job progression, so that time is logged and billed accurately.

However, you don’t want just anyone to be able to add a client. Some practices have a small pool of staff who have a central email or task list so that must-have data fields can be quickly set up, helping to avoid delays due to staff holiday or sickness.

Don’t enter irrelevant data

Having too many data fields to fill is time-consuming; too few of them means important information may be left out, affecting compliance and failing to capture key fields such as a client’s preferred communication method and marketing attributes.

A carefully considered client engagement process – in a spreadsheet, Word document, or as part of your compliance software – will ensure you have the right data coming in. Ask yourself: do I really many practices spend time capturing data that is never used.

This is an extract from an article in the Sept/Oct 2015 edition of Chartech, the magazine of the IT Faculty.

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