Every year, new technology surfaces and outdated electronics take a back seat to the state-of-the-art must-have apps and gadgets du jour.

This year is no exception, and it ushered in a host of tools that promise to improve in-office efficiency and boost return on investment from marketing campaigns.

Here are our picks for the four must-have tools that will take your practice to the next level in 2017. Do you have:

An online chat function for your website?

With this technology, prospective patients can communicate with you when your practice is closed.There are quite a few options on the market, so look for those manned by an independent staff that can answer basic, non-medical questions (with your permission), schedule appointments, or direct qualified leads to your practice's staff. We are fans of Apex Chat.


Is a group purchasing organization right for you? Jay A. Shorr, BA, MBM-C, CAC I-XI talks benefits and opportunities.

Social media scheduling software?

If you have a digital marketing firm that you love, great! But we have clients who prefer to handle this internally. In these cases, consider cloud-based software that allows you to upload and schedule more than one social media post to multiple channels in advance.

Social media isn't “set it and forget it.” You still need to make sure that your team is replying to comments, monitoring discussions, and pulling any pre-scheduled posts that conflict with current events. (For example, you don't want sunshine-y Instagram photos should news be released of a shooting.) Hootsuite and Buffer work well.

Website analytics software?

Whether your website and SEO (search engine optimization) team is sending you monthly Google Analytics reports or you are manually pulling your data from Wordpress, someone in your practice must review the data and drive operations around it.

This software can tell you which pages have the most views on a month-to-month basis, how long visitors are staying on the pages, what they are searching for on your website, where they coming from, and where you rank on Google for certain procedures. All marketing decisions should be based on these analytics.

Remote consultation software?

All practices should invest in video conferencing software that allows you to meet with patients remotely. This can be extremely helpful for consults as well as for monitoring post-procedure recovery—just be sure to check that you have the appropriate waivers and release forms, as well as HIPAA-compliant software.

Jay A. Shorr, BA, MBM-C, CAC I-XI, is the founder and managing partner of Shorr Solutions, assisting medical practices with the operational, financial, and administrative health of their business. He is also a professional motivational speaker, an advisor to the Certified Aesthetic Consultant Program, and a certified medical business manager from Florida Atlantic University.

Mara Shorr, BS, CAC II-XI, serves as partner and vice president of marketing and business development for Shorr Solutions. She is level II-XI certified aesthetic consultant, utilizing her knowledge and experience to help clients achieve their potential. She is also a national speaker and writer.