Back

Tech for Acupuncturists: Use It or Lose It

September 28, 2018 Acupuncture Practice Management
Outdated hardware - electronic health records system update

Several years ago I was inspired to finally learn the rudiments of photography. It was an exciting experience, and I figured I needed an expensive tool that was up to the challenge of shooting the inevitable masterworks I would produce.

So what did I do? I spent a pile of cold hard cash on a very fancy digital SLR camera.

Soon after making the purchase I was out in the streets taking crowd shots, getting up early to capture the sunrise, and volunteering at all my friends’ weddings. And for a few days my cat Rosie knew what it was like to be harassed by the paparazzi.

But like a lot of my enthusiasms, the camera proved to be the proverbial ‘nine day wonder.’ Soon Rosie was able to curl up on the sofa and relax in peace. Meanwhile my camera decided to curl up in its original box and hibernate in the closet.

In theory I was always planning to get back to my photography, but it never happened. I guess I should have accepted that my passion was elsewhere (skydiving and flamenco guitar, in case you’re interested). I should have listed that expensive camera on Ebay and cut my losses.

But I’m stubborn. So I left the camera in the closet for six years.

When I finally checked the typical second-hand price for that camera model, I was shocked by how quickly technology had marched on. My mega-pixels were no longer anything to brag about. My camera was now worth a whole lot less than it would have been if I’d sold it as soon as my interest flagged.

Whoops.

So lately I’ve adopted a new personal rule about technological devices: Use it or lose it.

It’s also a great thing to keep in mind when running a business.

Acupuncture clinics with a long lifespan will have almost inevitably accumulated obsolete technological hardware. You know what I’m talking about. Not only gadgets that seemed so amazingly necessary before you actually plugged them in, but old computers, and previous generation tablets and cell phones. Heck, maybe even that fax machine gathering dust out back.

The good news is that integrated acupuncture practice management software for computers and tablets renders many separate technological devices obsolete. That’s a big win for practitioners, who can look forward to a future with a whole lot less useless tech piled up in the closet.

But don’t head straight for the dumpster with your iPhone 2 and your first generation Blackberry. You can monetize these obsolete devices. One person’s junk is another person’s treasure. You may be surprised how much money you can make selling this stuff on the secondary market.

Although, with the advent of cloud based systems many devices have extended usefulness. So long as the app or browser is up to date many applications will run as efficiently as the first day you signed up! Perfect examples are cloud based electronic health record or practice management systems.

Of course most technological devices are not like that first issue of the Superman comic you’ve got stashed in the drawer. The longer you leave it, the less it’ll be likely worth. So it’s a great idea to make a detailed inventory of your clinic’s technological assets on a regular basis. I try to make an honest assessment of my real technological needs. It makes for a much more efficient operation.

 

* *

By Matthew Leask