8 Types of Medical Software To Streamline Your Practice
As the owner of a small to midsize practice, it is essential that you understand the types of medical software most likely to be useful to you. Purchasing the wrong software can be a serious loss for your medical practice, resulting in wasted time and money and leaving patients' needs unmet.
To circumvent this being an issue, learn what different medical systems can do for your practice to streamline processes, resolve pain points you've experienced, and free you up to focus on your patients and their experience.
What is medical software?
Medical software is an all-encompassing term for a variety of systems that help your practice operate more efficiently, which results in better patient care and increased profitability. It includes software that allows you to keep electronic patient records, including information about their histories, medications, demographics, and other notes.
This type of software can also include scheduling to make it easier for your patients to set up appointments and imaging software to store and retrieve images. In addition, some medical software targets the more administrative parts of your medical practice, including billing, practice analytics, accounting, and patient engagement data.
The types of medical software
There are many different types of medical software that can help practices operate more efficiently. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common.
EHR software (electronic health record software)
Electronic health records, or EHR software, stores patient data, including past doctor visits, tests, procedures, diagnoses, and medication information. A digital EHR system is an essential tool for practices to ensure the continuity of patient care. They replace traditional paper-based medical records, as well as store and organize patient information, including visit notes, medical history, medications, and immunization statuses. EHR systems provide practice staff with easy access to this data, meaning they can see accurate and up-to-date information to help inform their clinical decisions.
The term EHR is sometimes used interchangeably with EMR (electronic medical record) or EPR (electronic patient record). EHR systems offer a wide range of features to help improve the clinician and patient experience, including automated scheduling, results tracking, prescription management, and report generation. Most EHR systems will also facilitate the sharing of information between practices and specialties, which helps create a seamless patient experience.
Medical database software
Whereas EHRs are designed to function as a set of notes on each patient, medical database software classifies information by diagnosis. This is very useful for medical professionals who want to analyze and compare similar cases.
In addition, medical database software is helpful when you are developing strategies for treating, diagnosing, and monitoring certain illnesses, and provides the ability to easily search within the database by diagnosis or symptom.
Hospital management software
Hospital management software (HMS) allows your medical practice to optimize administrative tasks. It can handle routine items on your administrative staff’s list, such as scheduling appointments, which saves valuable time.
HMS also sends out routine notifications to patients and facilitates file and image sharing. In order to comply with regulations around patient privacy, medical practices must use specialized management software that provides end-to-end encryption.
Medical diagnosis software
Medical diagnosis software (MDS) can help you to give patients the correct diagnosis. When you input information, MDS narrows down diagnoses and treatment options. It's a great way to support the work of a doctor and can also be used to predict illnesses and target preventative medicine.
Medical imaging software
Healthcare professionals today use many types of imaging, such as MRI and CT scans, to diagnose patients and plan procedures. Medical imaging software is used to manage, store, and display these images. It often has useful features including the ability to manipulate and analyze medical images, including adjusting their brightness, contrast, and zoom.
Medical imaging software also enables providers to securely share images, and annotate them with measurements, notes, and other relevant information.
E-prescribing software is a secure system that helps patients get the medications they need on time by allowing health professionals to send prescriptions directly to the patient’s preferred pharmacy.
E-prescribing software also normally includes an up-to-date drug database that has information on drug interactions, and supports the easy refilling and renewal of prescriptions. Lastly, some systems are able to integrate with EMR software to streamline the flow of data back and forth, providing updated patient information.
Medical research software
When you manage a medical practice, finding the time to keep up with the latest medical research can be tough. Medical research software allows healthcare professionals to apply recent research data to their patients to aid in diagnosis and treatment.
With the patient's consent, practices can also choose to securely share patient data to help with future research. This kind of software has many features that are helpful to researchers, including the ability to aggregate anonymized data.
Many medical practices implemented telemedicine services during the pandemic as a means of reducing COVID-19 transmission risk.It makes medical care more accessible for patients and more efficient for healthcare providers.
Telemedicine software allows doctors to communicate remotely with patients through video conferencing or audio consultation for their appointments, all while using a secure platform. They also provide patients with the ability to schedule their appointments, communicate more seamlessly with their healthcare providers, and pay for their medical services.
What are the benefits of medical software?
There are many benefits to implementing medical software into your healthcare practice. However, it is worth noting that different types of healthcare software will offer specific advantages to your medical practice. Let’s talk about some of the more general benefits you’ll experience.
Give more time to patients
Medical software can automate many back-office and administrative tasks, allowing providers to spend more time with patients. For example, using an EHR allows you to reduce the time spent on tasks such as data entry, documentation, appointment scheduling, and reminders, which enables your practice’s staff to focus their time on areas that directly impact the patient experience.
Medical software can also help improve the efficiency of patient visits, and help reduce the time patients spend in the waiting room or undergoing diagnostic tests. For example, medical imaging software gives providers real-time access to imaging results, allowing them to make more informed decisions during their patient’s visit. E-prescribing software can provide real-time information on formulary and coverage, reducing the time spent on insurance-related issues.
Medical software can improve collections by organizing the claims submission process and ensuring that accurate documentation is always available. Medical software also helps improve collections by ensuring clinicians and patients are aware of their insurance coverage and eligibility and copays at the point of treatment. Many EHR systems can even completely automate the generation of claims, eliminating manual data entry and reducing the risk of errors. This can lead to more accurate and timely claims submissions, improving the chances of successful reimbursement from the patient’s insurance company and reducing the time spent on collections.
Additionally, by providing healthcare providers with greater visibility into the entire billing and collections process, medical software is able to continue to improve on collections. For example, many EHR systems can provide detailed reports on collections and payment trends, allowing administrators and practice managers to track trends and identify areas for improvement.
Enhance patient care
Medical software enhances patient care by improving the accuracy and completeness of patient information. For example, EHR software gives clinicians access to a comprehensive patient medical history, including previous diagnoses, treatments, and test results, allowing them to make well-informed decisions about patient care.
Many types of medical software also allow healthcare providers to share patient information (with permission), such as imaging, test results, and notes, so that they can easily collaborate on care plans and help improve the continuity of care for patients who need to move between different providers and specialists.
Medical software also enhances patient care by helping to improve safety. For example, the real-time information on drug interactions, allergies, and dosage provided by e-prescribing software can help clinicians avoid potentially dangerous medication errors.
What kind of businesses should consider which types of medical software?
Which types of healthcare software are most likely to be useful to you depends on the type of medical practice you operate. All medical professionals must use a certified EHR to qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentives. If you run an inpatient facility, you'll also need medical software that offers bed management, long-term patient stay management, and UB-04 billing.
Different types of medical practices will also have different needs and requirements for their medical software. For example, radiologists typically require software with advanced medical image storage and manipulation abilities. However, family doctors are likely to have a broader range of requirements, including e-prescribing, patient communication, automated appointment scheduling, and telemedicine features. Before you start searching for particular software solutions, make a list of the pain points your practice is experiencing, so you can easily identify which software solutions will be a good fit for your business.
How do I find the right software?
Once you have realized that certain types of medical software could be beneficial for your practice, the next step is to find the right software products to meet the needs of your business. The right software could free up time for your staff, allowing them to give more of their attention to patients.
After making a list of the things you’re looking for software to solve or make more efficient within your practice, it’s time to start your search. If you need help narrowing in on what vendors will work best for your practice and its needs, chat for free with our software advisors, who can help you come up with a shortlist of top-rated solutions.