If you work in the healthcare industry, you likely already know that your daily workload can be overwhelming! Healthcare workers and physicians have tons of administrative tasks to handle, such as billing, scheduling, managing insurance-related tasks, and much more. Luckily, as the healthcare space becomes more digital, there are now solutions available to help you manage your day-to-day duties more efficiently. Practice management software is one option to help your medical office boost productivity and tackle responsibilities more efficiently. But it’s always a good idea to analyze your medical software options before making a final decision. 360Connect is here to help! Check out this guide to understanding the top pros and cons of using practice management software.
What is the Function of Practice Management Software?
The purpose of medical practice management software (MPMS) is to provide an all-in-one platform for managing all a medical practice’s everyday tasks. Medical practices today have to manage operations such as medical billing and coding, insurance claim submission and management, overseeing financials, patients’ electronic medical records (EMR) and health records (EHR), appointment scheduling, and much more.
The best medical management software solutions today offer lots of different options when it comes to integrating with back-end systems. This way, instead of purchasing several different medical software to manage each necessary task, medical professionals can choose one good practice management software to access everything they need in one place.
1. Organization and streamlined workflow
Medical offices are often fast-paced workplaces with never-ending to-do lists. One of the biggest advantages to implementing and using medical practice management software is organization. When all your processes and tasks are accessible in one easy-to-access platform, you save tons of time, not to mention headaches, as you avoid toggling between different dashboards to get your work done.
Most practice management software systems provide you with customizable and buildable templates. Templates allow you to prioritize everyday tasks on your dashboard so you can get work done more quickly and efficiently.
This streamlined workflow provides tons of added benefits to practices. It reduces time spent doing administrative work, such as checking insurance eligibility, submitting claims, and scheduling appointments. When operations are more organized, you’ll have more time to spend on patient care and ultimately boost your practice’s revenue.
2. Automation and time-savings
Any good medical practice management software will have automation tools for your convenience. Instead of manually entering information into the system all day long, the software does much of the work for you. For many tasks, you simply enter the data once and the system handles the rest moving forward.
For instance, when a patient visits the office and schedules a follow-up appointment, you can enter that new appointment into the medical management software. Then, the software automatically follows up with that patient by sending reminders and alerts. Medical practice management software has tons of other automated options, such as supply inventory refills and workload reminders.
4. Improved billing process and fewer errors
Practice management software has built-in tools to set you up for financial success. The entire revenue cycle management (RCM) process is completely streamlined when using the software. Using one dashboard, you can collect patient information, check insurance eligibility, submit insurance claims, oversee claim acceptance or rejection, collect patient balances, and overall, ensure the financial health of your practice.
In addition, medical management software has tools to improve accuracy and reduce errors with the billing process. For instance, there is an ICD-10 coding system that helps you find the right coding for each medical procedure. There is also often a claim scrubbing tool. This helps to ensure the claim is correctly submitted and get reimbursed faster.
1. Lengthy contracts
One potential disadvantage of using practice management software is that you often have to sign a contract to use the software over a period of time. Some providers will offer month to month contracts while others may require closer to a year minimum.
The downside here is that if you are locked into a lengthy contract, and you want to switch to a different software, you may not be able to do so until your contract expires. Make sure to always read the “fine print” of the software provider’s contract. See how long they are locking you into using their software and under what terms. If you are a small practice, we also recommend taking a look at some of the top software providers for small practices and look into their pricing and contract lengths.
2. Learning curve
Because practice management software allows you to streamline your entire medical practice workload, it comes with many different functions and tools. As a result, training to understand how to use the software efficiently is almost always a must.
Many software providers will either provide training for free or at a small cost. However, learning a new software can be complex. It takes a while for staff to be fully effective at operating it. Training can take weeks to months to fully complete. After that, there will certainly be a learning curve for some of your staff.
While your medical office will certainly learn to use the software efficiently in time, there will be a period of time where your workload and operations may slow down a bit. It’s always good to be prepared for this.
3. May exceed some practices’ budgets
Practice management software is definitely an investment to help you run your practice more efficiently. Due to the high value it provides medical practices, it comes at a cost.
If you sign up with a software provider who provides a cloud-based practice management system, you will pay monthly subscription prices. This can cost your practice hundreds to thousands per month (depending on how many users). Monthly subscriptions also often involve additional costs, such as maintenance, upgrades, and more.
On the other hand, if you decide to host practice management software at your own location, it will cost you thousands upfront. Then, there will be no monthly costs moving forward. However, because of the extensiveness of the software, there tends to be high operational costs involved with running the server every day.
No matter whether you choose a hosted or cloud-based software solution, it’s important that you add up all the costs involved with running practice management software on a monthly and annual basis. Then, decide whether or not it fits within your budget.
Key tip: if you decide that using a practice management software does not fit within your budget, you might want to consider using a medical billing service instead. This can help you tackle billing efficiently while saving money on software costs.
If you are thinking of implementing a practice management solution at your medical practice, keep in mind that you can also partner with a medical billing service. Outsourcing medical billing can be a great way to cut costs when it comes to your operational needs.
Whether you’re looking to find medical software or a reliable medical billing service, you can use 360Connect to match with the top providers that fit your needs. Use our free comparison tool to compare prices for both medical software and services, and save up to 30%!