Different medical practices have different needs. Some are looking to purchase $2.5 million CAT scanners, while others, like yours, are looking to purchase or upgrade medical software.
But every practice wants to save money.
If you’re looking for deals on high-end medical equipment, you’re on your own. But if you’re looking for a comprehensive set of tips on cutting medical software costs, you’re in the right place.
Read on for recommendations and tools to help with your software purchasing experience.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Use a Features Checklist
Check Out Free and Open Source Tools
Use a Features Checklist
To start with, it’s important for you to know the exact requirements of your medical practice. It does not make sense to invest in features that are not useful for your practice.
To help you out, we prepared an “Essential Features Checklist” for small practices searching for an electronic medical record (EMR) solution.
These features are categorized into two distinct types:
- “Essential-for-All Features” are must-have features that would be useful for new small medical practices
- “Essential-for-Some Features” are meant for established practices looking to kickstart growth
Below is a quick summary of these features; you can match these with the specific requirements you are looking for in an EMR system.
|Feature type||Feature name|
|Essential-for-All Features||Charting/patient records||Allows physicians to digitally create and store copies of patients’ clinical records and other documentation.|
|Automated coding assistance||Generates codes (such as ICD codes etc.) related to information in patient charts for quick reference in future.|
|Decision support||Electronically checks for drug, allergy and food interactions. Also posts alerts and can search for alternative treatments based on known interactions.|
|Essential-for-Some Features||Order entry||Allows medical service providers to enter, store and transmit orders for medical tests, prescriptions and other services.|
|Clinical interoperability||Enables secure transfer of clinical patient data among different EHR systems so that multiple authorized providers can access that data.|
|Patient portal||Provides patients secure, 24-hour access to their personal medical information, results, services and messages from their medical care team.|
As a solo physician or the owner of a small medical practice, you might not require a complete medical software suite. This does not mean that you have to operate manually using paper charts and manual prescriptions.
Instead, it means that you can break down your needs into individual issues that can be addressed by leveraging inexpensive standalone software solutions. Let us discuss few workarounds in detail:
Priority practice need: Medical billing
WORKAROUND: Suppose your small medical practice requires a medical billing solution to automate your billing, collections and claims process. In this case, it does not make sense to buy a complete EHR suite. You would only require a medical billing solution such as Kareo Medical Billing or athenahealth Medical Billing.
These solutions would serve your requirements as they come with features such as billing and claims management, delinquent accounts management, billing analytics and advanced claim processing.
Priority practice need: Patient scheduling
These solutions are capable of providing real-time information related to patient appointments and appointment reminders functionality. Hence, you can save money by avoiding a complete software package.
Priority practice need: Therapy notes
WORKAROUND: In case your small medical practice requires just therapy note software, then go for specific software solutions such as TherapySource and ClinicSource. This way you can avoid buying an expensive EHR suite.
Therapy note software allows mental and behavioral health care providers to refer to several medical forms required to document patient encounters.
Check Out Free and Open Source Tools
Free and open-source medical software can be a good option for small medical practices that want to escape the large upfront costs involved in licensed software.
This type of software might seem like a no-brainer, but small medical practices should be mindful of their potential drawbacks. These solutions may lack essential requirements such as system reliability, a user-friendly interface, effective customer support and routine software updates. You’ll want to look closely at the available solutions to make sure they fit your needs.
Free Medical Software Solutions
These are limited-feature versions of paid software that vendors offer to customers with limited budgets. Basic features are offered up front, but these can be upgraded to paid versions once business needs grow.
- Zero software cost.
- Simple and easy to use, as most free tools can be used without any prior training.
- Option for software upgrade is always available for customers who want to scale up as their practice grows.
- Limited number of software features and users.
- Additional costs such as data storage and extra required functionalities may come up.
Practice Fusion: Cloud-based EHR that offers a suite of integrated features such as charting, e-prescribing and patient scheduling.
iSALUS: Fully integrated EHR solution that offers several features to support small and medium-sized practices.
drchrono: Patient care platform that enables customization at the point of care as well as on the go.
Open Source Software Solutions
In this type of software, the source code is freely available and can be modified and enhanced based on customers’ specific practice requirements.
- No license fee, as source code is free
- Customization of features is possible by modifying the source code
- Strong user community exists that can help during feature upgrades
- Service, support and upgrade does not exist—you are often totally dependent on the user community
- Software can be vulnerable to cyber threats, unless you have an in-house IT security team
OpenEMR: Cloud-based solution that offers EMR, medical billing and patient scheduling.
OpenMRS: Library of API calls and databases that is compatible with practices of all sizes.
Want to know whether free or open source medical software is right for your practice? Give us a call at (844) 686-5616 for a free consultation with a software advisor.
In addition to the above mentioned tips, you can also consider 3 other money-saving tips as mentioned below:
1. Check out demos & free trials
During your time demoing software, be sure to learn about all the features and costs involved and note down important points about your experience. You’ll also want to collect feedback from different members of your team that will be using the software.
2. Look into software bundles
Make a list of the features you need—they can often be purchased as add-ons to create a cheaper software bundle. But beware: It becomes really tempting for software buyers to purchase additional modules since the difference in monthly pricing does not appear to be too significant.
But check the total cost of ownership (TCO) and you will realize how much extra you would eventually pay. A small practice like yours should not risk going over budget. To evaluate software bundles, check for features that are add-ons and decide if they’re worth a long-term investment.
3. Choose the best deployment option
If you are low on budget, you should opt for cloud-based deployment that allows you to pay less initially when you start, and pay-as-you-go as you scale up. On the other hand, on-premise solutions offer complete control over your IT infrastructure—but have high upfront costs. It’s possible for cost of ownership to converge over time, so be sure to weigh out what’s needed for your business.
More than ever, software buyers are looking for ways to save money. By employing a variety of money-saving methods, such as those mentioned above, software buyers can cut costs at a number of different places in their budgets. These methods will not only help you avoid upfront costs but also recurring costs, if planned properly.
While this report intends to give you general tips on saving money when buying medical software, you can also read our detailed Buyer’s Guide on medical software.
Additionally, you can fill out this short questionnaire to receive custom price quotes of different medical software delivered to your inbox. Call us at (844) 686-5616 for a free consultation with a medical software advisor.