I’ll admit it. I’m a techno-geek. I have internet access on my Pocket PC, two cell phones, four notebook computers, internet access on my boat, and anyone who has asked me to solve a computer problem knows that I know what I am doing. I love technology; and, just like your passion is the spine, my passion, and the passion of my company is to keep ahead of the technology curve, so you do not have to. With twenty-one years’ experience in the “Silicon Valley”, including research at NASA and IBM’s ergonomics labs, I have learned quite a bit about technology and making it easy for people to use, e.g., people like doctors, who need to spend time with patients, not fixing computers.
If you want to utilize technology in the most stress-free manner, here are “David’s Rules”:
- Never purchase any technology unless it has been around for at least six months. The reason IBM is rated the highest in reliability is because they do not release technology until others have worked the bugs out first. I believe in this philosophy fully, and it shows in my product designs.
- Always purchase “name brand” computer hardware. There is a significant difference in reliability with an IBM, Dell or Gateway, as compared to a “clone” which was custom built with all the quirks that brings.
- Purchase high quality printers and displays. The public is more likely to be drawn to a doctor that is higher tech. There is nothing worse than doing a screening with a slow printer.
- If upgrading from Windows 98 to Windows 2000 or XP, have a professional do the installation. You may never figure out how to get it to work properly.
- Purchase quality backup hardware (tape drive, or backup drive). Use five backup disks (media), one for each day of the workweek. Take the tapes off site daily in case of fire or theft.
When evaluating which chiropractic software and hardware/instrumentation products, always ask technologically savvy friends in your profession, who own AND USE a technology you are interested in, the following questions:
- Does the software crash? How often does it crash? If Tech. Support has not been able to resolve crashes, avoid the product.
- Is the instrument reproducible? Have a “well-trained” friend perform two tests in a row. Print them out for an objective comparison, if the software does not do overlays. Don’t worry about hurting the feelings of the owner. If the product is not reproducible, this will affect your credibility with your patients and your community.
- How reliable is the product? How often has it required repair? How is the technical support? Having a great concept for a product is great, but avoid products that have poor reliability or technical support.
- Do you have to purchase specialized supplies from the manufacturer? If the supplies are available from multiple suppliers, it means cost savings for you.
- Is the software fast, easy to use, and simple? Simplicity is the hallmark of a great product.
- Is your machine capable of performing the types of test you need? For example, if the cervical spine is of interest to you, make certain your machine is capable of doing a complete cervical measure. If you are interested in Standing Neutral SEMG tests to correlate with your X-ray, and follow in the tradition of chiropractic itself, find a product which uses a button press on the probe. The button press is optimal, as it allows you to stand in a neutral posture when testing. If possible, test a system prior to purchasing it.
- Does the technical support include the ability to remotely access your computer, via modem, for problem resolution? It is the next best thing to having a technician right in your office, and a service you won’t want to live without once you experience it.
- What are the details of the warranty? Get the warranty statement in writing so you can see the limitations. If, for instance, you get a three-year warranty, does it include all components? Less comprehensive warranties may cost you thousands in repairs.
Technology can be your best friend or worst enemy. By finding the best product and support for your needs, you will have a great partner in building your practice. Follow the simple guidelines above, and you will enjoy all the advantages of technology without the stress. TAC
The author, David Marcarian, MA, is founder and president of Precision Biometrics, supplier of the MyoVision SEMG and Thermoglide systems. He has worked for NASA, and was awarded a $450,000.00 grant from the NIH for developing the MyoVision. He lectures for Palmer College of Chiropractic and his course is endorsed by all U.S. chiropractic associations that mandate SEMG training. He has personally instructed more than 6,000 chiropractors on proper SEMG use. Mr. Marcarian can be reached at 800-969-6961 and via email at: [email protected], or visit his company’s website at www.myovision.com.