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By Jay Winburn
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA – Although some physical therapy practices find themselves in search of areas in which to cut costs when tough economic times hit, they don’t want to sacrifice treatment quality or customer service in the process.
An area where cost savings and other benefits can be seen that sometimes is overlooked is physical therapy software. Physical therapy clinics who use physical therapy documentation software often use installed software.
But as the Internet becomes more robust, an increasing number of clinics are gravitating toward cloud-based online software, which eliminates the need to maintain expensive computer equipment on-site.
Instead of taking a do-it-yourself approach that requires clinics to account for their software, servers, firewall protection, etc., online software brings all of that to the user as a service.
“We are experiencing an evolution in computing,” says Mike Gauthier, vice president of product development for Prognition Corp., the makers Mavenlive physical therapy exercise software, a cloud-based software solution. “We believe that for those who don’t convert to Internet software, they will incur more expense in the future than those who have the foresight to adopt the model.”
Internet software users can access the latest versions of the software, because updates are made automatically by the software manufacturers, which requires no effort from users. There is no need to download or purchase service packs or upgrades. Internet software also can help save money on sometimes costly IT support services. Installed software is self-limiting, Gauthier says.
Use of that software frequently is restricted to the computer on which it is installed. That means clinicians dont have the ability to work from home on a laptop if they want to catch up on paperwork after work hours. If a modified exercise or program is made on one computer, it may not be able to be accessed from another.
Office networks can be set up to work around some of these setbacks, but that doesn’t always combat all of the negatives associated with installed software, Gauthier says.
The benefits of online software are numerous in terms of exercise software.
“You can use the cheapest computers, notepads and laptops- even smart phones- that you want, because any of these devices are capable of accessing the Internet software,” says Dr. Jay Winburn, president of Prognition Corp., adding that users also can use Macs or PCs without any difficulty.
No installation process is required for using Mavenlive physical therapy exercise software or other online software, and it requires no use of hard drive space. Since online software does not run on a hard drive, users aren’t faced with issues that often occur when installing software.
Online software can be accessed anywhere there is an Internet connection. That makes it possible to catch up on documentation during a lunch hour, a break, or even at home. Another important factor for physical therapy clinics is that of security. Online software can store data securely, as well as provide automatic backups.
Sharing rehabilitation exercises and other data also is easy with online software, Winburn says.
“There just aren’t any monumental setbacks to Internet software that we’ve identified,” he says. “We feel confident that this is the direction all physical therapy practices are headed.”
About Mavenlive and Prognition Corp.
Mavenlive was created in March 2009 by Prognition Corp., a software company headquartered in Canada’s National Research Council’s Biomedical Commercialization Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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