WHEN IS GOOD SOFTWARE GREAT?

An RFP thick as a book. Every "T" crossed, every "I" dotted. All stakeholders, from IT specialist to patient services and clinic directors have had input. Perhaps now you'll find a clinic management system that meets staff approval and doesn't require six weeks of arduous training.

So why are you still nervous that you may make the wrong choice?

We think it's because you trust your intuition, and your intuition says that really good clinic management software decision depends on more than choosing a proposal that's a good match for the requirements in your RFP.

The Ahlers Integrated Solutions is probably a good match for the requirements of your RFP. It meets your expectations

  • to be Windows based
  • to be for one machine or a large network.
  • to be affordable.
  • to handle all standard clinic functions from scheduling to client and insurance billing.
  • to track lab results
  • to make inventory and dispensing activities easy
  • to generate the reports your programs require plus the ones you want .
  • to share the same database as other programs without compromising data, billing, and reporting capabilities crucial to your funding and operation.

From Good to Great

So what more do you want? You want more than software that has the potential of making clinic operations measurably easier and better. In combination with solid software you want a process whose result, plain and simple, is this: Clinic operations are measurably easier and better.

The million-dollar question is: "What is the process at the end of which you have seamless clinic operations? What is the process that makes staff say about the software decision "My job is so much easier now." Or, "Around here we depend on the software. It's a tool we couldn't imagine being without."

You actually know the answer to the million-dollar question, except you can't quite articulate it. But that's why you instinctively ask about ease of use, flexibility, training and support in your RFPs. The answer to the million-dollar question is buried somewhere in all those questions.

Who Knows if a Particular Software Is Easy and Flexible?

Let's speak plainly. All software vendors think their system is easy to use! Sure. We invented it. But we're the wrong people to ask! Ask the people who are using it daily in their programs. Then you'll get a useful answer (For the Ahlers software users check our reference section. There are some who've chosen no one but Ahlers for 20 years. Not bad for a fickle industry!).

All software vendors will also tell you their system is flexible. And maybe it is. A question that Ahlers installers and trainers often get is " If we want to change our setup in any of the modules, do we have to call you?" If the answer is "yes," then the system is not flexible. The Ahlers answer is, of course, "no." You don't have to call us. You can easily modify The Ahlers Integrated Solutions system yourself. But don't take our word for it. We're probably prejudiced. Ask those who happily use the Ahlers Integrated Solutions software (If you don't want to do that, you have other good options to check out "ease of use and flexibility". Order an AIS tutorial. Or get a live demonstration by calling Gary Garcia @ 800-888-1836 ext. 133. For just the highlights click on the demo button at any time. You have lots of choices with Ahlers.).

Ease of Use and Flexibility Are Only a Promise

Ease of use and flexibility are a promise waiting for fulfillment. Be careful, though. It's a cheap promise unless strategies for putting the client in control come with it. Let's take a look at why the Ahlers Integrated Solutions software is so much in the client's control. The answers take us right to installation/training and on-going support. Those are the main issues the software vendor whose system delights you must keep firmly in mind… because their commitment is first and last…to make clinic operations "measurably easier and better" for you.

Training as Key to a Software Decision You'll Celebrate Each Day

In your RFPs you usually ask about the vendor's training plan. Why? Because you instinctively know that knowledge is power only if you can put it to use. You need the training. It's a critical success element your software investment must deliver.

You know the training outcomes you need. You even know some strategies that would be helpful. But you're likely in a situation that's out of your area of expertise, depends on others for resolution, and is therefore substantially out of your control. You are a public health professional. You are usually not a training expert. You rely on your software vendor to understand public health issues (You're really in luck with Ahlers on that concern. Over 27 years working with public health programs, helping create data systems and supporting them in 22 states make Ahlers more understanding of public health concerns and requirements than any other software vendor in the United States. That's a fact, not an overstatement.)

There's a second thing you rely on. While no software vendor can transform your staff into committed, enthusiastic, and correct users of the software without management's help, a fine training process provides the foundation management can build on with confidence.

Ahlers Software Training: Average? Good? Great?

We're repeating ourselves, but we suggest that you ask your peers in our reference section if you're considering the Ahlers Integrated Solutions software for your program. Our own answers could be prejudicial. But we'll tell you a little about the process that we think makes our clients so enthusiastic about our installation/training, and on-going support.

Prior Preparation Prevents P______ Poor Performance

Ahlers understands that our clients' primary expertise is in areas other than training. It's like our relationship to cars. Most of us don't want to understand everything that's under the hood. We just want to drive! Similarly, in training you expect to be guided by training experts according to success principles that health care experts shouldn't have to know, much less master. "Just make us successful" is the mandate! And that's exactly what Ahlers does for our clients. Time and time again.

Imagine for A Moment

Imagine just for a moment that you've purchased the Ahlers software (Let's assume it's the whole AIS system rather than two or three modules.). What happens next assures you will declare the installation/ training process a success by your own high standards.

Prior to purchase, Ahlers had taken you through an Ahlers Integrated Solutions tutorial. Now that an informed decision has been made, Ahlers sends you a system setup guide (for you to record how you do your schedule, your billing, lab , and pharmacy protocols, etc.) You'll have questions. Ahlers promptly and clearly answers them via phone and e-mail, guides you where appropriate, and waits until you confirm you have completed your setup guide. The setup guide basically makes how you operate visible so that training can be based on how you normally do things. Among other benefits it vastly reduces training time. Therefore, Ahlers schedules the installation/training only after you have done your so-called "homework."

You've given Ahlers the go ahead. You said, "We're ready for installation and training." The Ahlers staff arrives (Oh yes, we come to you.). We help you put your setup into your new system. Are we flexible? Sure. Even at the eleventh hour it's not too late to make some changes. Perhaps to exchange a worn out procedure for a better one. Or for example, you ask us how other people handle something you're not quite happy with. If you like what you hear you will want to do it that way too. Who wouldn't want to incorporate the industry's "best practices" into their daily routine! And sometimes we have to adjust the setup because you just remembered a forgotten " must-have."

OK, the system is set up. Next step? Now your staff trains with trainers who are not just competent trainers; they're virtuoso trainers (Our clients say so. They're the judges. That settles it!). With the help of your own live data, the system and the training far surpass even your most hopeful vision. You're a leap closer to measurably easier and better clinic operations.

Ah, the Joys of Control!

The Ahlers setup guide, while easy to complete, also took some time. But in the training phase you see the pay-off. You notice something very pleasant. You're in control! Completing it took you from your last bit of self-doubt (Can we make this work for us?) to robust confidence (Yes, we can do this. This'll make life so much simpler.) Ahlers enjoys the sighs of relief, the words of gratitude, and the assessment that our software is easy and flexible. The secret is simple: prior preparation by the people who will use the software. You have learned how all the functions work in five days (no six week training ordeal here!), exude an assertive confidence, and tell the Ahlers training staff to go home (Apparently now you say you're a step closer to measurably easier and better clinic operations.)

The Software Is Installed.
Happily, That's only the Beginning.

The Ahlers staff has left your agency because you're confident you can make your new software your trusty electronic servant. And you can, except when you have a question you'd rather have help with. And so you call Ahlers. You don't call support. You don't look in the easy-to-read instruction manuals. You want to talk to the trainers who have become an extension of your work family. And guess what? Your Ahlers trainer does indeed talk to you. You're not surprised. He or she tells you that the Ahlers support staff only takes over after you're no longer in a start-up mode. And you get to decide when that is.

Comfort Support

You're up and running. Just as you had hoped, the Ahlers Integrated Solutions is taking your clinic to a new level of efficiency. Like a good car it gets you where you want to go. You hardly even think about it anymore. Still, occasionally you will need support. Will support be as good as your installation and training? Yes, of course. You didn't just buy software. Remember? You bought a process that will make your clinic operations measurably easier and better! That process includes solid and loyal support. The Ahlers support staff fondly calls it "comfort support." Apparently many Ahlers clients think of it in just such terms. They have showered our support staff with T-shirts, flowers, and chocolates for years.

Click on the SUPPORT tab to check out how easily accessible our support staff are. (Those Ahlers software clients who are also in an Ahlers-supported data system have additional "comfort support benefits."). Why not also check out what happens when you want additional training. Updates or new software or state/federally mandated rule changes may make that necessary (click on TRAINING)! Your relationship with Ahlers has only just begun. You have made a successful software purchase and so much more. The "more" is that you have entered into a process that is intentionally designed to cement a relationship that began with a response to an RFP and that evolved into a trusting partnership. The goal of that partnership is to make your clinic operations measurably easier and better for as long as you and Ahlers are partners.

Achieving that goal is the answer to the question "When is good software great?"













































































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