Practice management software is the answer to a lot of independent medical practices’ problems.
- Are you frustrated by outsourcing your billing to third parties?
- Do you lack robust reporting tools to gather, analyze, and file your data?
- Do lab orders, prescriptions, and patient messages slip through the cracks?
- Are individual systems like scheduling and electronic health records draining your software budget?
- Most importantly, do you lose time constantly having to switch between systems to get stuff done?
For all of this—and more—practice management can help in a big way.
But before you start looking at specific products and requesting vendor demos, it’s important to understand all the practice management software features that are available to you so you’ll have the necessary knowledge to navigate those sales calls.
Practice management software is a 3-in-1 deal
Practice management suites are comprehensive systems that take disparate medical processes and put them all into a single software platform. By only having to access one system to complete a variety of tasks, users save valuable time and enjoy a more fully integrated practice.
While practice management systems vary in the functionality offered, most will support three major processes for medical practices with these three elements:
It’s very common for practice management suites to provide in-suite billing and scheduling features; however, most do not serve as fully functional EHRs. Rather, the majority of practice management systems offer integrations with the most common and popular EHR products to ease the flow of information.
Where practice management systems really shine is their ability to support and simplify back office and administrative processes. They give users access to patient billing information, insurance claims and statements, appointment schedules, patient records, and inventory.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the specific practice management software features that help achieve all of that.
The most common practice management software features
To make this easier to digest, let’s break the common PM features into three process categories:
Common practice management billing features
General billing automates many tasks related to billing, from preparing statements and sending out electronic bills to collecting and processing payments. Additionally, some systems also integrate payroll into billing for further automation.
Coding assistance lets users access a searchable bank of ICD code sets to simplify claims preparation. Some systems can be customized to look for specialty-specific codes.
Claims management tools help users prepare accurate claims that have a higher change of first-time acceptance. They include features like automated claims scrubbing, electronic submission, and claims status tracking. HIPAA-compliant practice management suites are pre-approved by many insurance providers, which can in turn make the claims process even more streamlined.
Insurance verification features reduce medical billing errors and rejected claims rates by allowing users to check patient eligibility before providing services. Some systems make use of physical card scanner interfaces to complete this process.
Common practice management scheduling features
Appointment scheduling does a lot more than the name implies. These tools allow users to automate the patient scheduling process, track provider schedules, and monitor and manage appointment history.
Automated reminders reduce no-shows by sending out regularly scheduled reminders via text or email to patients. Some systems are also equipped to send out follow-up notices to patients for things like test result notifications or billing reminders.
Patient registration forms can be sent out ahead of appointments so patients are able to provide the necessary information without increasing their in-office wait times. Some systems automatically upload some information (such as demographics and contact info) to EHRs via integrations.
Common practice management administrative features
Reporting tools are absolutely critical for practices that want to remain eligible for Medicare reimbursements, and most HIPAA-compliant PM suites are equipped to collect and submit the requisite data.
Document management increases practice organization by making it easier to manage all of the paperwork practices have to deal with. Users can scan documents like prescriptions and billing statements for information to be automatically entered into the system. That information can then be easily turned into comprehensive reports.
Inventory management features allow users to track supplies, see when inventory is low, then place, manage, and track orders. These features also generate inventory reports and reduce or eliminate the need for manual data entry.
How to know if PM software is right for you
The set of common practice management software features are a fantastic solution to many universal struggles faced by independent medical practices and large health organizations alike. These systems can increase revenue, reduce physician burnout, and lower costs in many cases.
To learn more about this software, from how it’s priced and deployed to what products are on the market, connect with our team of medical advisors to discuss your practice’s needs and receive a customized list of products that match them.