Whether you're a physician, an administrator of a practice or a medical biller, you already know how much you rely on electronic health and medical record software, billing software, scheduling and task-management software. A high-quality medical PM program can help you stay on top of appointments, schedules, payment plans, copays, insurance claims and more. And as technology improves overall, so does medical PM software.
Each of the applications in our buying guide offer a cloud solution, which eliminates the need to buy licensed software. You simply pay a monthly fee and get access to the software as a service (SaaS) anywhere, as long as you have a login and an internet connection.
If you're running a practice with one doctor, 25 doctors or 100 doctors, medical office software is a must. This software increases your practice's efficiency when interacting with patients, other medical providers and insurance companies. Further, your staff saves on resources, and you can better care for your patients.
Medical practice management software handles many general, financial and administrative tasks in your practice. The best software has customizable and powerful scheduling abilities.
When considering specific software to integrate into your office, look for programs that can fully handle both front-office and back-office responsibilities as well as provide great security and support resources. Here's more about the features you'll want to look for.
There are six particular administrative features you'll want to pay attention to when seeking out medical PM software:
Automated appointment reminders. Most medical practice management software has automated appointment reminders so your staff doesn't have to use their time contacting and reminding patients. These reminders can be sent as emails or phone calls, which is an added convenience for patients.
Insurance eligibility. The PM software should have the ability to check patients' insurance eligibility. The best software lets you do this in real time when your patients arrive or even before appointments.
A patient portal. This online portal, or gateway, lets patients log into the software so they can edit their own information, see their balance and, in the best medical PM systems, make payments online. This reduces your workload, because a patient can preregister, modify their address or credit card information and all without having to call the office or do it in person. This can decrease wait times so patients spend more time with the physician.
Insurance verification. Insurance verification is necessary, and it's even better if you can handle it before a patient comes in for an appointment. You're able to quickly verify eligibility and determine the patient's copay and collect payment at the time of service.
Easy check-in and checkout. Almost every medical PM system we looked had this feature, which allows you to confirm whether a patient attended the appointment and paid a copay.
Document scanning. The ability of the software to scan and store documents within the system frees your office from unnecessary paperwork, and it makes it easier to locate necessary documents.
A good practice management system helps with both your practice's administrative and financial requirements. Good PM software makes collecting payments and filing insurance claims as easy as possible for your staff while using the least amount of resources.
Further, software should have the ability to scrub claims for errors so you don't waste resources managing claims denied for simple reasons.
Coding & Medical Record Integration
Most companies offering PM software have an electronic medical record (EMR/EHR) counterpart that integrates directly with the PM system. Some companies only sell both software options as a complete suite while others let you choose what you need.
If you already have an EMR system for your office and you don't want to switch, look for companies that partner with common EMRs and have the ability to integrate their PM systems with your current EMR system.
While not all PM and EMR systems are compatible, all solutions should follow basic safety and privacy standards. All medical software and hardware need to be compliant with guidelines set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Support & Hosting
Because medical PM systems are vital to your day-to-day operations, the software manufacturer should offer support that conforms to your practice's needs. If you work primarily during normal business hours, a company that offers live support during that time works well.
Additionally, you need to consider the type of hosting you need. If you don't want to buy and maintain extra hardware, such as servers, then a company that offers SaaS solutions will host the hardware and software for you.
As powerful as many medical office software applications are, you may still want separate software for medical billing. Medical transcription services are still in demand for many practices. And if you choose a medical practice management program that lets you choose an EHR/EMR program from another company, you can start your search for the best EHR software here. You can read our article on medical practice management software about the benefits of medical office software for your practice.