Software for travel medicine clinics has been important to me for many years. For 16 years I was the COO of Tropical Medicine Bureau in Dublin, Ireland; when I started we had just 2 clinics, which I helped grow to over twenty by opening additional clinics and developing a franchise style agreement with local clinics.
Even if we had just one clinic, we would have needed some software to help us manage our patients, the vaccines we scheduled for them, create invoices and so on. Having multiple centres and franchisees increased that need. Just one example is that we had to be able to quickly train medical staff and ensure they stuck to the protocols we set. With 30 plus locums and nurses in various locations, it’s easy to see how inconsistencies (however valid) might arise and we needed to know why.
I passionately believe that travel medicine is important enough to have its own software. So often I’ve seen clinics use a smorgasbord of saved web links, books and posters to gather information which is then saved ‘square-peg-in-round-hole’ like into general practice software, or worse just recorded on paper or in computer files. This is approach means that only the one or two people that know the smorgasbord system can ever run the travel clinic service. You can never expand or develop it, or support your patients in the way that you’d like. There are so many ways in which travel medicine is special, and it is too important to be poorly supported by software systems.
That is why I wanted to develop what has become Inca Clinic. The aim was to support just one type of medicine – travel medicine and vaccine recording – and to do this well.
Where did it all begin! The first travel medicine software I developed was just for the TMB clinics. It did the job but as time went by it wasn’t fun to maintain and caused us problems when patient numbers started to increase; nor was it cheap to buy and maintain the computers needed to run it. Nevertheless, it proved invaluable as we grew. In fact, other clinic owners approached us to get access to the software, and a few even lived with the inevitable disadvantages of using someone else’s in-house system. This provided the motivation that I needed to “jump ship” and start Incaplex. That was in 2010, and Inca Clinic was released in 2011.
Having gathered some talented people around me we set out to build Inca Clinic into something special. From the start we laid down some key principles
- Don’t get in the way of the consultation and enable the medic to enter information quickly and efficiently.
- Allow the medics to make their own decisions, but ensure the information they need is easily available.
- Guide the process but not dictate it. Every clinic is different, respect this and allow travel clinics to configure Inca Clinic to fit their needs.
- Bring all the information needed to run a travel clinic under the one application.
Technology has moved on and Inca Clinic has taken advantage of “the cloud”. Neither our customers nor us have to buy and maintain server machines; instead the software runs on the web, and uses just need a browser to access it. We choose Salesforce as our platform because it provides really strong security, robustness and scale (it’s used by over 100,000 customers, some of which are large multinationals and government agencies).
Are we there yet? I’m proud of what our team has accomplished so far, but there are many more things we would like to add and enhance, if only our resources were infinite! I hope you like the results so far, and a big “thank you” to our current customers.
By the way, this is my first blog posting (ever!) and it would be great to get some feedback from others involved in travel medicine.