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Buyer's Guide

by Gaby Loria,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: March 28, 2017


Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Practice Management Software?
Common Features of Practice Management Software
Benefits of Practice Management Software
Deployment Strategies
Market Trends to Understand

What Is Practice Management Software?

Medical practice management systems help physicians and their staff record patient demographics, manage charge capture, perform billing procedures, generate reports and schedule appointments through patient scheduling applications. Sometimes referred to as Physician's Office management and Medical Information Systems (POMIS), practice management solutions can dramatically improve a doctor's clinical workflow efficiency and often boost reimbursements from health care insurance companies and other providers. We've written this guide to help buyers understand trends in the medical management software market and provide medical practice management software reviews to help them find the right system to meet their needs.

Common Features of Practice Management Software

In the below table, we have profiled the most common features and applications of practice management software and how they can be useful in helping you decide the applications that you need.

Automatic medical billing Offers automated medical billing along with the verification of insurance coverage and eligibility in real-time.
EHR integration Provides practices the additional choice of integrating the solution with an EHR system for better record management.
Claim tracking Enables users to track various claims across the overall revenue cycle; thus, the solution streamlines the process of practice management.
Code sets Allows the inclusion of Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS), Common Procedure Coding (CPT) system as well as the searchable and current International Classification of Diseases (ICD) code sets.
Customized patient scheduling Provides customized patient scheduling, which is capable of being color coded, to indicate the appointment provider, duration and time.
Automatic reminders Sends automated electronic reminders that to patients via email or SMS; thus, it reduces the number of no-shows and helps maintain an optimum volume of fixed appointments.
Patient demographics Enables the recording and verification of patient demographics with all registered insurance providers.
Practice reporting Provides practice reporting based on several customizable parameters such as billing, scheduling and ICD codes.
Card scanner interface Offers a card scanner interface to swipe insurance cards, thus removing the risk of fraudulent claims.
Customizable security access Allows administrators to set up individual passwords and different access levels for every user by providing each of them customized security access.

Benefits of Practice Management Software

A practice management solution enables doctors, specialists, therapists and chiropractors track patient information, manage electronic health records (EHRs) and control online billing management. Here’s a list of some more benefits:

Quick reimbursement: The software enables medical coders and billers to search various reports, such as insurance information reports, remittance reports and claim advice reports. The solution eliminates the need for paperwork and helps billers process reimbursements much faster as it enables classifying the accounts receivable, finalizing daily billing and tracking patient records.

Cost and time effectiveness: By eliminating the time taken to collect and verify several documents, the practice management software reduces the time to complete many tasks. Hence, the software is expected to pay for itself in the short term. Also, there are several free online applications that can be used in medical practices of all sizes to increase process efficiency.

Streamlined operations: A high-quality practice management software will maintain all the relevant papers online and allow health care units to search EHR documents with ease. Users will be able to create progress reports, track various processes, capture patient demographics as well as process insurance claims and accounts receivables. All of these will help therapists, doctors, chiropractors and other medical professionals further save time and treat more patients than they did earlier.

Integrated system to update information: Users can update patient information regularly and manage the insurance and billing processes. The chances of errors also reduce as the software will be able to self-correct and auto-update any mistakes in the data.

Support health care practices of all sizes: The ideal practice management solution can help healthcare practices of almost all sizes as it requires only an internet connection and a simple computer network. It can easily integrate with the daily processes of small- and midsize practices. For large medical practices, the solution can manage large databases and an unlimited number of records. This way, they can eliminate the use of large storage units to maintain patient records.

Deployment Strategies

Health care practice management software is typically deployed on-premise (i.e., in-office) or hosted as web-based practice management software. Key differences between the two delivery models include how managers access the program (via an internal server or over the web) and how the system is priced. Web-based EMR solutions and online practice management software are typically paid for on an ongoing basis and have lower upfront costs, while on-premise systems usually involve more upfront payment but lower ongoing costs. These systems can be combined with electronic medical records for a fully integrated medical suite.

 

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The appointments app in CareCloud central

 

Market Trends to Understand

Consider the following market trends as you choose a provider:

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Cloud practice management software and web-based electronic medical records are giving providers, and patients, the ability to access patient data, including billing and scheduling information, from any computer with an internet connection. Online medical management systems also help health care providers avoid large upfront costs required for client-server systems as these vendors typically require monthly payments for hosted systems.

Mobile device support. We’re beginning to see more and more solutions for mobile devices, specifically for the Apple iPhone and iPad and Android phones and tablets. This trend iis a result of the demand from providers and physicians who want the functionality to access patient information remotely. Industry leaders are quickly trying to keep up with demand for mobile medical office management software, starting with applications that extend the functionality of most online practice management systems. Currently, there are several apps for ICD-9 that give practices managers easy access to billing codes.

Patient portals. It's not just physician office administration that's going digital—patient communication is increasingly happening electronically as well. Many EHR and practice management solutions offer (or integrate with) secure, HIPAA-compliant websites where patients can access their health records, read physician notes and even send electronic communications to their physician's office. For more, see our guide on patient portal software.

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