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Everything you need to know about clinic management software

Author: Oliver Sherrington
Published: 12/03/2023

Medical professional in a white coat typing on a laptop

This is your definitive guide to software for clinics, medical practices, private surgeries, medi-spas, aesthetic practitioners and healthcare therapists.

If you’re running a busy aesthetic clinic or a growing medical practice, you’ll want all the help you can get to reduce your admin time, streamline tasks, automate processes and deliver a better experience for your clients and your patients.

You’ll want to discover all the tips, tricks and tools to improve your clinic’s management, to support your staff and boost results across the board.

You’ll want to learn how to manage your clinic as effectively as possible, which means you’ll need to know all about clinic management software.

What is clinic management software?

Clinic management software – sometimes called a clinic management system – is a term given to a platform that helps you manage your clinic more efficiently and more effectively. 

It does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s software that helps you manage your clinic.

Clinic management software - the short definition

A suite of tools and functionality combined within a single, simple-to-use platform that organises patient data and manages every part of the patient journey through your clinic.

Of course, clinic management software goes much deeper than that. It’s much more than a bunch of tools and features that help you reduce your clinic’s admin.

It’s software that’s an invaluable business asset to any practice, big or small. Software that’s essential to the success of your clinic.

At its core, clinic management software is the integrated system that makes it easy for you to organise and manage all aspects of your clinic – from patient registration to stock management, paperless records to payment collections.

It’s the single piece of technology you need to attract, book, organise, schedule, remind, track, and support clients through every stage of the patient journey.

The many variations of clinic management software

There are many different types of software for medical and healthcare providers, alongside those clinics operating non-medical and holistic therapies. Clinic management software is also referred to as:

  • Clinic management system
  • Practice management software
  • CRM software for clinics
  • Medical practice management software

Who needs clinic management software?

Clinic management software is ideal for anyone tasked with managing a clinic. It supports managers, clinic owners, and clinic staff at every level – from receptionists to senior medical partners.

Great clinic management software helps:

  • Managers track everything that’s happening in their clinic, providing oversight of staff and insight into client activity
  • Receptionists and clinic staff manage all admin tasks more efficiently and more effectively, and provide a better experience for patients
  • Owner-operators attract more clients, boost revenue, keep on top of finances and accounting, and grow their business

And it’s not just for medical practices. It’s beneficial for clinics across the healthcare spectrum, including anyone specialising in non-medical services, aesthetic treatments and holistic therapies.

It’s a necessary tool for anyone supporting patients and clients through health, holistic and therapy-based treatments.

Big or small, single or multi-site, you need software that reduces admin and streamlines your clinic management.

Basically, if you’re running a clinic and dealing with clients or patients, you’ll see huge benefits across every day-to-day activity when you use clinic management software.

Clinic management software is typically used by:

Medical practices

Cosmetic surgeries

Dental providers

Medi spas

Aesthetic clinics

GP clinics

Salons & spas

Hair transplant clinics


Vaccine clinics

Wellness centres

What does a clinic management system actually do?

Any good clinic management system will do exactly what you expect it to:

  • It will help you manage your clinic more efficiently and more effectively.
  • It will streamline all that time-consuming admin that too often gets in the way of patient care.
  • It will help you run your practice remotely, overseeing all activities from your phone or tablet.
  • And most importantly, it’ll do all the hard work for you, automating tasks and eliminating paperwork to make your lives easier.

The specifics of what your management system can do will depend on the scope of the software, but at a basic level, the vast majority of clinic management software will have tools and features that:

all essential patient details

all types of appointments

treatments and staff

clients about bookings and forms

key medical history securely

invoices, stock and follow-ups

deposits and payments

with data protection regulations

on all clinic metrics

That’s the common functionality you should expect from any practice management software. Some more advanced, more specialist and more beneficial clinic software like Pabau can also help you:

to new and current clients

with existing workflows

patient journeys

What are the essential features of practice management software?

If you’re looking to choose practice management software based purely on features and functionality, then there are several must-haves that you’ll want to watch out for.

Ideally, you’ll want software that delivers support and functionality across multiple departments, from daily operations to client marketing, finance and accounting to legal compliance.

Any effective clinic management software you’re considering for your practice should have features that include:

  • Online booking
    So your patients can book in any time they want, and you don’t need to rely on a receptionist
  • Diary and scheduling
    So you can see exactly what your day entails, arrange treatments rooms and staff rotas
  • Automated reminders
    So you don’t need to worry about forgotten appointments or missed follow-ups
  • Digital file storage
    So you can ditch the paperwork and keep secure digital patient files
  • Mobile app access
    So you can see schedules, patient histories, and clinic activity on the go, from any device
  • Integrated billing
    So you can easily take payments and send invoices directly linked to patient treatment
  • Client communications
    So you can reach out to prospects and patients, share key information and follow-up treatments
  • Comprehensive reporting
    So you can see – and understand – exactly what’s happening in your clinic
  • Secure data protection
    So your processes and tools are always fully compliant

Good clinic management software will ultimately help you run a better clinic, supporting both your staff and your clients, and making sure you can deliver better patient treatments all day, every day.

It eliminates all those frustrations and common pain points that make running and managing a clinic so challenging, which is exactly why you need a clinic management system…

Why do you need practice management software?

Because managing a successful clinic is no simple task!

It’d be easy to say you don’t really need a clinic management system, that it’s just another piece of software, another expense, another app that can do one or two things and might make your life easier if you commit to using it…

But that’s simply not the case.

Practice management software is a lifeline for clinics big and small.

It’s essential in today’s digital world. It’s what you need to run a highly successful clinic and grow your business.

Why is it so important?

It’s hard work juggling paperwork and treatments, marketing and operations, finances and reports.

Anything that makes your life easier – and frees up more time – is going to be beneficial.

When you've setup an independent practice on your own

Anything that gives you an ‘extra pair of hands’ will be incredible. Anything that automates processes will give you more head space to focus on other more important aspects of your blossoming practice.

When you're running a clinic with one or two team members

It’s hard to stay on top of clients as you grow and oversee what junior staff are doing.

When you're managing a large clinic with several doctors and nurses

Providing multiple treatments in multiple rooms, schedules, patient records and payments can quickly get confusing and complicated.

Clinic management software is important if you want to understand exactly what’s going on in your clinic at any given time.

It’s important if you want to have all your data and processes all in one place, one easy-to-use system that you can access any time you want.

And it’s important if you want to look professional and act professionally.

If you want to provide the best possible patient experience, the best booking process, the best treatments and the best aftercare, you need clinic management software.

No ifs. No buts.

The real benefits of clinic management software

Choose the right kind of clinic management software for your practice and you’ll discover dozens of benefits as soon as you start using it.

Alongside faster ways to book appointments, smarter ways to support staff, and more efficient ways to manage all your day to day tasks, you’ll find yourself with more freedom to do what you love: treat clients.

That’s the biggest and most important benefit of clinic management software. It puts your clients front and centre, giving you and your team more time to deliver an even better experience.

But there are many other benefits:

1. Reduce admin, save a load of time

When you have software in place that can automatically copy over patient details, pre-populate forms, send reminders automatically, nudge clients about follow-ups and even take payments without you or your team needing to lift a finger, you’ll suddenly realise how much time you waste on seemingly endless admin.

When repetitive manual tasks are automated and patients have the flexibility to manage appointments themselves, you’ll save a huge amount of time that you can put to better use in other areas of your business.

2. Eliminate human error and costly mistakes

With that manual admin replaced with automated processes and more time for staff to focus on important tasks, you’ll see the number of human errors and costly mistakes fall dramatically.

You and your team won’t need to remember to chase up those missing medical history forms. You won’t have to worry about contra-indications or incorrect medication, thanks to automatic flags. And you can rest easy knowing that all details, treatment plans, images and the like are all assigned and saved to the correct patient records.

3. Say goodbye to troublesome paperwork

Paperwork is one of the biggest challenges for clinics big and small, and one of the most complained about areas of daily practice management. It’s bulky, it’s time consuming and it’s super inefficient. If you need to retrieve a medical questionnaire in a hurry before an upcoming treatment… good luck.

But with clinic management software, that physical paperwork practically disappears overnight. Every single important piece of client information, consent forms, medical history, invoices and more are all digitally stored – safe, secure and easily searchable. If you need a file, it’s accessible in seconds.

Why cloud-based?

Today, the vast majority of clinic management software is cloud-based. From the outset that brings a host of benefits to your practice.

It means you don’t need to worry about bulky, expensive hardware and it delivers massive flexibility. Cloud-based software is cheaper, easier to use and greater value for money.

You can access information from any device, any time, anywhere. There are no upfront costs, it’s highly secure and you get the benefits of regular system updates and new features.

4. Comply with data protection regulations

Whether it’s GDPR, HIPAA or any other data protection act that you and your industry must follow, the last thing you want to do is fall foul of those regulations. Your clinic does not need hefty fines or a tarnished reputation.

Clinic management software supports your compliance with a whole host of regulations, with protections all built in. It means you and your team never need to fret about insecure data and you’ll always be prompted with a best practice approach.

5. More clients, fewer missed appointments

Perfect practice management software will be a seamless extension of your business. It won’t just help you manage your clinic, it will help your market it. Even better, it will help you grow.

With integrated marketing tools to email and text prospects, you can stay front of mind with minimum effort, attracting new patients and re-engaging existing clients. Plus automatic payment features can request deposits before an appointment is confirmed, discouraging time wasting and reducing no-shows.

6. Crystal clear understanding of your entire practice

If you have one single piece of software to manage every aspect of your practice, you’ll be amazed at the amount of invaluable data that’s suddenly right at your fingertips. With all the details on client activity, treatments, bookings, sales, inventory, room use and revenue all collected and saved automatically, you have a wealth of insights to review.

And with key metrics automatically displayed on simple dashboards, and customisable reports to dig into the figures that matter to you, you’ll have a crystal clear view of everything that’s happening in your clinic at any given time. Insight (and oversight) that helps you make the right changes and the right improvements.

Benefits for clinic managers

  • Reduces costs across the board
  • Streamlines staff scheduling
  • Maximises client revenue
  • Simplifies clinic reporting
  • Tracks trends and activity
  • Helps grow the business

Benefits for clinic staff

  • Easier client record management
  • Clearer overview of calender
  • Simpler booking procedures
  • Faster payment processes
  • Quicker patient data retrieval
  • More time to treat patients

Benefits for clients

  • Better communications
  • Better treatments
  • Better customer experience
Once you’ve recognised the powerful and numerous benefits of practice management software, you’ll want to know how to find the right type for your clinic.

How to choose the right clinic management software for your clinic

When you know the benefits clinic management software brings and you’re ready to start exploring the right kind of software for your practice, you’ll need to know where to look.

You’ll want to know how to find the right software, what the pros and cons might be, what you need to look out for, and how to decide which type is right for you and your team.

They’re all really important questions, which is why we’ve put together this buyers’ guide to choosing clinic management software.

1. Decide your practice’s priorities

Before you start looking at any practice management software, you need to decide what your priorities are. There’s no use looking at fancy medical software if all you need is an online booking system, or vice versa.

There’s no point trying the number one software provider if they don’t offer the multi-location management you need. And if you’re going to need help to get your team started, the basic, do-it-yourself software without dedicated customer support isn’t a good choice…even if it is free.

Do you need specialised medical practice management software?

Yes and no. You need software that does what you need it to do. That might mean specialist medical software tailored to your industry, or it might just mean software that ticks all the boxes for your required features.

If you’re running a GP surgery or medical clinic, you may need to prioritise integration into your existing systems, and key features like patient registration, electronic health records, outpatient support, and connectivity for testing, referrals, prescriptions, and insurance providers.

Your clinic software needs to match your priorities. What do you have already? What’s working, and more importantly, what isn’t? And what’s missing, what do you really need help with?

Is it scheduling? Is it reporting on staff and patient activity? Is it marketing help, automated reminders or taking online payments?

Write down your top priorities, those features that you need most. This will help when it comes to shortlisting potential software to try out.

At the very least, any software you’re considering needs to:

Be easy-to-use

Fit in seamlessly with your current workflows

Be simple to set up

Hold all your client records

Be secure

Integrate with other essential software

2. Draw up a short list

With your desired features prioritised, you should be all set to start comparing different software providers to see what they offer.

Make sure they deliver on the absolute must haves (as detailed above) and then dig into their different features to see which better match your priorities.

Which excel in the areas you most need help with? Which can do everything on your checklist (and more)?

Narrow down a short list of around 3 top software providers, ready for the next step.

Where to find practice management software?

If you’re completely new to the clinic management software market, there are several different places you can learn more about different tools and providers:

  • Search Google for key terms or specific features you need
  • Visit trade shows relevant to your industry
  • Look through industry journals and publications
  • Check out software review sites like G2 and Capterra
  • Ask colleagues for recommendations
  • See what your competitors are using

3. Book some demos (or better yet, free trials)

Once you’ve got a shortlist, it’s time to book some demos to see how the software you’ve identified actually works in reality.

This is your chance to see the software in action, to get real-world demonstrations of how it could help your clinic. And more importantly, it gives you the opportunity to ask specific questions about the features and functionality, so you can be absolutely certain it matches all your needs.

Alongside a demo, you might find that some software providers let you take out a free trial – or even use the software completely free, up to a set patient limit. Those are the ideal way to test out the software for yourself, to see just how easy (or difficult) they are to set up and use on a daily basis.

Make sure you devote some time to these free trials. Put them through their paces. Try out each and every feature, check connections and integrations, and ask your team for their input too.

4. Check the software matches your needs

As part of the demo or free trial, you should be running down your list of practice priorities and making sure the software matches your needs.

This is absolutely essential before you go further and waste any time, effort or money.

Be 100% certain that the software you’re reviewing or trying meets all your demands. Make sure it ticks every feature you need, every functionality you’re looking for and every benefit you want from practice management software.

Your handy clinic management software checklist:

   Search Google for key terms or specific features you need

    Visit trade shows relevant to your industry

    Look through industry journals and publications

    Check out software review sites like G2 and Capterra

    Ask colleagues for recommendations

    See what your competitors are using

5. Read reviews and case studies

Seeing other providers’ experiences with different clinic management software is one of the best ways to decide if it’s right for you and your business.

Independent review sites like G2 and Capterra are a gold mine here. They let you see exactly what it’s like to use full versions of the software, with real customers sharing real pros and cons about all the features and functionality.

And if you want to dig deeper, take a look at any case studies on your short-listed providers’ websites. There, you might find practitioners similar in size or niche to your own, so you can get a clearer understanding of how the tools could work for your practice.

6. Watch out for common mistakes and pitfalls

Although choosing clinic management software should be an easy, painless task, there are a few potential pitfalls to look out for. A few important factors to be aware of, so you don’t run into any difficulties or make any mistakes when picking the best software for your practice.

Before you make a final decision on your new practice management software, you need to check:

Hidden costs

Some software is priced inclusively, with a single, simple all-in-one cost for every feature and functionality. But other software providers might price different ‘key’ features separately. If you’re not careful, you might get charged extra for the modules you actually need.

It’s no use choosing software for its online booking feature when that module is an extra £15 per month on top of standard fees.

Account limitations

Another way some types of clinic management may try to catch you out with costs is by limiting the amount of contacts you can upload, the number of times you can send emails, or the amount of booking you can make.

What might sound good on paper might quickly prove an expensive nightmare if you have to pay extra for every reminder and follow-up message you send after you’ve reached your ‘free limit’.

Be sure to check your chosen software provider has clear, transparent pricing, without any restrictions on usage.

Ease of use

You’ll also want to be certain that the software you choose really is easy to use. It might look easy when a competent sales rep with years of experience is whizzing through all the features, but what’s it like in a real clinic environment?

Any software you choose shouldn’t be confusing or complicated. You shouldn’t be spending more time figuring out how to use the software than you would just doing the admin tasks manually.

Easy for your whole team

Ease of use should extend to your whole team too. One of the most common mistakes clinic managers make when choosing software is not consulting with their staff.

Ask for the input and opinions of everyone who will use the software daily to make sure it meets all of their requirements and doesn’t cause any problems.

It's specific to your needs

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. You need to always double check that your chosen software supports all your needs and is specific to your clinic’s requirements – now and in the future.

Not checking is one of the most common mistakes when deciding which software to install in your practice.

Get specific with what your software needs to do now, and you’ll see why it benefits to invest in specific clinic management software rather than a generic CRM system.

CRM or clinic management software?

The efficient, effective running of your practice likely doesn’t need a hospital-grade patient management system, but you do need tools tailored to administering treatments and running a business in a medical environment.

A generic CRM probably won’t meet your needs.

  • A CRM is customer relationship management software. It’s often just focused on external client management – making appointments, sending reminders and marketing to customers.
  • A clinic management software is more extensive. It does what a CRM does, plus a whole lot more, focusing on all the internal, day-to-day running of your clinic, alongside client support, payment administration and key metric reporting

7. Get started - and ask for help if you need it!

After you’ve run through all the steps above, and double checked your chosen software meets all your practice needs, all that’s left to do is get started.

That might mean uploading all your old paper patient records if you’re at the start of your software journey, or it may mean transferring all your data across if you’re already using software in your practice.

Either way, the best clinic management software providers will have dedicated teams available to help you with every part of the set-up and transfer process. They can prove invaluable.

They’ll also be a huge help with training and supporting your staff too, to make sure everyone can get started quickly and start seeing immediate benefits.

Remember: good clinic management software will have a support team on hand to help with anything you need… so don’t be afraid to ask!

If you’ve read through every section of this detailed guide to clinic management software, you should be well equipped to find the solution that meets all your clinic’s needs and transforms the way you manage your practice.

You’ll know what type of software to look for. You’ll know where to find it. You’ll know what features to prioritise, and what kind of benefits you could expect.

And you’ll know what pitfalls to watch out for.

Equipped with all the knowledge, you’ll know how to find the very best software for your clinic, medical practice or medi-spa.

Practice management software that:

Saves mountains of admin time

Scales as your practice grows

Boosts efficiency and reduces costs

Integrates seamlessly with all your existing workflows

Delivers crystal clear insights with a single click

Provides a better experience for your clients

Software like Pabau

Pabau is the clinic management software that’s perfect for medical practices, medi-spas, aesthetic providers and healthcare therapists. Big or small, multi-site or sole practitioner, it will help you transform the way you run your practice.

Book a demo and then get started with Pabau, completely free. No hidden costs. No feature limitations. No contest.