How to Choose a Practice Management System
Your practice can only run as well as your practice management system does. If you want your practice to run smoothly, manage patients, schedules, information, billing – you need to find a system that works efficiently and for your unique practice needs.
All good patient management systems have a few things in common: They are user-friendly, flexible, easy to implement and use, while still having an extreme amount of customization and flexibility built within the system. The best patient management systems do a few things that others don’t: They include the extra features such as cloud-storage options, permission settings, strong reporting capabilities, easy-to-update systems, medical billing integration, clear and accessible user interfaces, accompanying iPad/iPhone app. It all has to work seamlessly.
Before you choose a practice management system, ask yourself these key questions:
- How will this system work if my practice grows and changes?
- How much flexibility does this system offer?
- Can I customize forms and templates to reflect my practices unique needs?
- Will I have to purchase updates if my staffing increases?
- Will I have to buy additional storage if my needs increase?
- How will this system increase efficiency in our day-to-day patient management and scheduling needs?
- Does this system help and optimize my medical billing?
Before you decide on any practice management system, you have to know if you want a quality system that you can implement and use for many years or a solution that may work now, but doesn’t offer the flexibility you’ll need as your practice grows and changes.
As another reminder of key factors to look into, an efficient practice management system:
- Provides seamless service as your business grows.
- Has automation capabilities.
- Easily helps schedule appointments, do billing, manage patient records and generates reports.
- Is user-friendly for both patients and staff.
- Has been proven to work in real-world conditions.
- Provides a streamlined platform that allows you to manage every part of your practice.
- Provides value for your investment — allows your practice to run more efficiently.
- Is flexible and customizable for your unique practice needs.
- Can be fully integrated into practice without too much oversight.
- Optimizes medical billing.
- Provides cloud-based storage solutions and safety features to keep patient, and staff records safe and accessible.
Let’s go more in depth into these features.
Flexibility is key. Your practice needs will change over time or possibly even from day to day. Having a practice management system that changes with your needs is important.
Flexibility across devices is an important consideration. Being able to decide which device you use to take notes or review patient test results with– be it on an iPad while sitting beside them or from home on your mobile phone – is a great feature to look for and provides a lot of convenience instead of having to sit at a clunky desk with a non movable computer.
Customizable Correspondence Features
Flexibility is also important when it comes to patient correspondence. Some patients prefer appointment reminders via text while others prefer an e-mail or a phone call. A good practice management system will allow you to tailor correspondence to meet each patient’s needs. It will also serve as a tool to draw up and send patients their balance statements which then helps you accept payment.
Communication Flexibility with Patients
Patients should be able to contact their providers prior or after their appointment. With HIPAA-compliant secure messaging, patients can easily message their providers or provider offices anytime with questions or vice-versa.
No two practices are alike. Choosing a flexible practice management system to suit your practice’s unique needs is important. A customizable practice management system will feel as though it was created specifically for your practice because it is.
When a practice management system can be tailored to include your specific requirements, it is far more likely to meet all the demands of your practice. Compliance, as well as productivity, go up.
Custom Forms and Templates
A good system will customize your EHR with templates and forms for your specialty, saving you time by making them readily available.
A big part of practice management and medical billing is choosing the correct billing codes. With appointment profiles, providers can set up common procedures or diagnosis as profiles with their respective billing codes and easily select for quick billing.
Customizable Scheduling Features
Another useful feature to consider is the scheduling features of the system. Can you add examination rooms as your practice grows? Can you quickly view how many appointments a provider will have for the day? Is it possible to keep scheduling organized should your practice have two locations? Are you able to backfill appointments easily if patients cancel?
Streamlined Workflow and Check-In
A good practice management system will streamline workflow in a manner that just makes sense. Customization certainly comes into play here, but a good system will have a practical and user-friendly flow to it regardless of personalized settings.
One advantage of a good practice management system is the ability to predetermine whether your patients will owe anything out-of-pocket with real-time eligibility verification. This streamlines billing and simplifies the collection of payments in office. Another advantage is a system that is prepared for MACRA/MIPS, helps track claim life cycles with a live claims feed, and providers information on whether or not a claim has been submitted quickly and correctly.
Reports and Financials
An effective practice management system will make it easy to generate financial reports and analyze data to determine how your practice is doing financially. It will also give you business intelligence tools with real-time insight into how your practice is performing.
Patient Self Check-in
Practice management platforms should focus on streamlining and automating as much of the your practice’s patient check-in process as possible. With patient self-check in, your patient may verify his/her background information, answer basic questions, sign forms — all without the supervision of a receptionist or staff member. In addition, once a patient’s check-in information is approved, their information is synced to their EHR record, eliminating the need for data entry work.
Great Value: Save Time and Money
While there are many practice management systems that boast lower monthly costs, it might not mean the level of service and ease of use you’d expect any quality system to have. Many systems seem expensive at first, but the value you get from saving time, reducing no-show rates, increasing practice reputation to get more appointments booked may be all factors that give your practice huge returns for little cost.
It is also important to have support that teaches you and your staff how to use a practice management system to its fullest extent. Experienced and knowledgeable staff take less time to figure out how to do things on the practice management system and overall save the practice time and money. However, support from a practice management system doesn’t just mean a dedicated implementation specialist. This also means resources such as helpful videos, support documentation, and a customer success team.
Leader in the Industry
Is your practice management platform cloud-based? Do they have API partners to achieve many different goals? Are they partners with big tech organizations? While there may be many competitors in the EHR and practice management industry, many are built on legacy systems and are not up-to-date on technology. This means they may also not be as receptive to industry changes and needs. It is important to use a platform that is a leader in the industry and has the best technology and features to receive government incentives as well as provide the assistance you need as healthcare evolves.
Of course, every practice is different and features may not have been mentioned while some features might be more important than others. Either way, we hope you can read this guide and get a better sense of the best practice management platform for your practice.
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