How to streamline your medical practice with a practice management software?
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Managing a medical practice is no easy feat. Considering that the provision of excellent patient care is your top priority, inefficiencies on an administrative level can hamper business and pose a risk to your reputation. This is when you need to turn to technology to eliminate those inefficiencies. A practice management software is a solution to all the administrative burdens that arise at your practice, from billing to documentation, client management to reports, and analytics. At a time when the rapid penetration of IT has changed business dynamics across all sectors, you, as a healthcare practitioner, must take the necessary steps to achieve operational efficiency by minimising errors and focusing on the financial viability of your practice.
What is Practice Management Software?
A practice management software is software that is designed especially for healthcare practices to help them run operations efficiently. Financial assistance, administrative functions, and connectivity with Electronic Medical Records are some of the top use cases of Practice management software. Did you know that the market size of practice management systems was $7.39 billion, and the CAGR is expected to grow by 4.5 percent between 2022-2030? The need to achieve operational efficiency, enhance documentation, and minimise errors account to be the factors behind the growing adoption of practice management software. Another factor that has brought about transformational changes is the Coronavirus pandemic. Owing to the same, healthcare practitioners are shifting towards automating healthcare workflows to provide exceptional patient-centric services.
Here’s what practice management can do for you:
Components of Practice Management Software
A practice management software allows for the seamless booking of appointments and managing schedules throughout the week across different locations. It also allows patients to book their own appointments as per their convenience and availability. Ensuring that a physician’s time is properly allocated for all the patients is something that comes across as a challenge to the clinic staff. Practice management software aims to eliminate that challenge, by providing real-time insights into the availability of the physician, thereby eliminating the possibility of double-booking.
Preparing billing statements and processing claims
The practice management software generates electronic claims and prepares billing statements. The system scans the claims and bills to make sure that they follow the regulations and proper diagnosis codes. In case of any discrepancy, the software sends a notification regarding the same to the staff. There is also the provision of an alert in case there are any payments due.
Organising patient data
With practice management system, the office staff can efficiently maintain patient records. Right from the basic information about the patient to extensive medical history, everything is available under one umbrella.
The software also provides valuable insights into how efficiently the medical practice is running. The staff or the medical practitioner can have access to data on various aspects of the clinic such as:
- Appointment no-shows
- Time taken to reimburse claims
- Performance of the office staff
With this information in hand, the practice can identify areas of improvement, cut down on unnecessary spending, and enhance overall efficiency.
How can practice management software help boost the efficiency of your practice?
To understand that, here are some examples that paint a clear picture:
- It offers better access to Electronic Health Records with the online pool of data you have to assess.
- It decreases inefficiencies pertaining to your medical practice and eases out the process of collecting and verifying documents.
- It minimises errors with respect to insurance claims and billing processes.
- It provides faster assistance regarding remittances, claims, and insurance coverage.
Advantages of Practice Management Software
A practice management software can significantly impact how you run and manage operations currently. Here are some key advantages of investing in a practice management software:
- Enhanced workflow
With software that helps you manage billing, scheduling, and intake procedures at the medical practice, you can accomplish tasks in a faster and easier manner, thereby maintaining a smooth workflow.
- Improved patient engagement
As a healthcare practice, it is important to keep your patient involves in the process, whether it is their prescriptions, follow-up care, or treatment plans. Not only can you book appointments but ensure that your patients are equally inclined towards their care by sending them reminders through text, phone, and email.
- Excellent integration
Data duplication, extensive transcription processes, ad billing errors are some of the most common challenges that a medical practice faces. An integrated solution can resolve these challenges. With a PMS, you can easily schedule appointments, check the eligibility of patients and verify their insurance.
- Better patient care
As a healthcare practice, delivering impeccable patient care should be your topmost priority. When most of the processes are automated and managed by practice management software, your staff can direct their time towards ensuring that the patients are being taken good care of. So practice management software will boost the productivity of your staff, leaving them less frustrated and more focused.
Disadvantages of Practice Management Software
While a practice management system offers a plethora of benefits upfront, it does come with some drawbacks:
- Added training costs
Training your staff to use the practice management software effectively can take weeks, sometimes months. To be able to streamline operations, you need to make sure that your staff is well-versed with the software, which means that you need to invest time and money to provide proper training. While you do that, you might experience a slowdown in operations. For that, you need to be prepared.
- Lengthy contracts
If you sign up with a particular practice management software, you might need to sign a contract that can bind you for a couple of months or a year. In such a case, if you don’t come to terms with the software after using it, you cannot make a switch until the contract that you made expires. So, to eliminate such a hindrance, make sure to compare different practice management software and focus on factors such as contract length and pricing.
- Hurts budget
Investing in practice management software can prove to be highly valuable, considering the benefits that it offers. However, such good things come at a cost, whether you’re signing up with a software provider for a cloud-based management system or hosting at your own location. While the former might require monthly subscriptions and frequent maintenance and updates, the latter might cost you thousands of dollars straight up. So, understand your operational needs, compare software, and then finalise the one that best fits your needs as well as your budget.
Differences between PMS and EMR
How to choose a Practice Management System?
With hundreds of practice management software in the market, which one is the best for you? To answer this question, you first need to understand that a practice management software plays a crucial role in the success or downfall of your business. To pick the software that serves you best, here are some factors that you need to keep in mind:
The first thing that you need to consider is the cost of the practice management software. Typically, a PMS costs between $300-$1000, depending on the vendor and the services that you choose. Ask yourself, what are the services that you really need. Check with your vendor, ask about the features of the PMS, and have them all written down to make sure that there is no setup or implementation fee involved.
The PMS that you choose needs to be optimised to the functions that you require. For instance, the functionalities required by a physician might be different from the functionalities required by a dermatologist. So make sure that the software that you pick can be personalised as per your requirements.
EASE OF USE
The usability of the PMS that you pick is absolutely paramount as the whole purpose of installing one is to improve the workflow. Since your staff will be using the software, you need to make sure that the software chosen by you provides easy navigation. Consult your staff and ask them what it is in particular that they are leaning towards.
Your software needs to seamlessly integrate systems in order to share data. For example, when a patient is treated, the EHR will automatically send the billing information to the PMS, based on the services that were opted for by the patient.
The practice management software must possess the ability to analyse data and create reports, for you to gain insights into the financial standing of your business and improve cash flow.
Transitioning into a new system can be a daunting task, especially if your staff isn’t familiar with the technical aspects of managing your practice. Pick a vendor that not only gives you a customized and efficient PMS but also provides training to everyone who will use the software.
With constantly evolving patient needs, it is important for you as a healthcare practitioner to offer better patient communication. Practice management software is an excellent way to boost operational efficiency and elevate timely reimbursements. So, if you want to make your practice more efficient and welcoming, then make sure to invest in the best practice management software.