Physio clinic software, particularly for the iPad and the Mac is not exactly what I would call great at the moment, and I started this trial of Filemaker Pro with high expectations. So far, this trial has been a mixed bag of success and a fair dose of limitations.
Here are some of the features I think are essential for a great iPad clinic note taking app:
- Easy access to all of a patients details – phone number, referral source etc
- Able to be used on the iPad
- Ability to access the calendar and notes from another source eg an iMac at the front desk
- Security. Notes security, so patient notes are not accessible by outside sources
- Body chart – the ability to easily draw and write on the body chart
- Checkboxes Yes and No for Red flags, Cauda Equina, pins and needles etc
- Ability to add fields for various components of the history which you regularly ask or write notes on
- Integrated Calendar, and ability to view/add appointments to other therapists calendars
- Integrated/view payment history for a patient
- Ability to write notes
- Ability to add photos and videos to a patients file
- Ability to export the data and notes
- Integrated TextExpander support
There are plenty of other points, but these are some of the main features.
Here is where Filemaker stands from my experimentation at the moment. I want to preface this with an explanation of my experience in this area. I am a Physio with a pretty decent grasp of computers and software ie not completely computer illiterate, but have zero experience with Filemaker. I have used Bento on the Mac and iPad, which is pretty easy software to get your head around. So in these aspects, I think this makes the review applicable to the average clinic, who are unlikely to be expert Filemaker users either. Undoubtedly, experts on Filemaker could add to what I have done, but you are probably as unlikely as I am to have one of these working for you.
Positives of Filemaker Pro
- Nice looking templates (if this is important to you). I think this is important, particularly if you are using it all day.
- Importing data – “fairly” easy to import data. I had a number of tries to import data from Bento, which is supposed to be easy, and this took a while to get it import in the correct format, with the right checkboxes ticked etc. This probably took me 2 hours.
- You can easily view the patients details, address, referral source etc
- You can write notes
- Easy to add pictures and video
- Ability to add checkboxes
- Ability to export the data
- Supports Text Expander
Limitations of Filemaker Pro
- Setup is reasonably time consuming to get the right fields and import patient data. This would take about 1–2 days for the average clinic. Saying this though, most software would take some time to setup and integrate.
- No ability to draw on a body chart in the app. There are ways, such as drawing in another app, exporting as a pdf, importing it into the patient file etc. This is too timeconsuming, and just wouldn’t happen
- No integrated calendar (that I can find), with links to all previous and future appointments
- No ability to share/view calendars with other therapists in the app
- No integrated SMS ability
- No payment history linked to the patients profile (that I could find easily)
So, as you can see, it may suffice for a clinic as a patient database (albeit expensive compared to Bento), but is not really ideal as notetaking software from my experimentation, especially with the lack of ability to draw on a body chart within the app, and lack of calendar support to view previous and upcoming appointments for patients.
What do you think? Have you had more success than I have? What clinic software do you use and like? Let us know in the comments below…
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