Before getting into the nitty gritty of what a Practice Management software is all about, let us define it first. In simple words, a practice management software addresses the day to day operations of any medical practice and allows the clinical user to capture patient demographics, maintain insurance payers list, schedule patient appointments, perform billing related tasks and generate user defined reports. This implies that an ideal practice management software should make front desk operations look like child’s play, but is that the case?
Many medical experts will have their own recommendations on which practice management software should be considered, but blindly implementing a software based on someone else’s recommendation can prove be a physicians Achilles heel. What most medical experts don’t realize is that each practice has its own customs, specialty and workflows, which is why they would pick the practice management software that best suits their existing workflows. Implementing a practice management software and the subsequent transition phase is something that physicians would rather avoid. The only drawback in such circumstances is compliance issues. There are many practice management software’s which might meet the practice needs but fail to comply with HIPAA rules and regulations. The sudden change to a more compliant practice management software creates havoc and the physicians ends up de-optimizing his practice rather than optimizing it. So how does one decide what to look for and stick to it?
here are many software’s in the industry today that offer their solutions for practice management but the key is to choose the right one. First step is classification. Practice management software’s are designed for small (1 -2 physicians), medium (5 -10 physicians) and large (10+ physicians) sized practices. A physician must identify the software’s which satisfies his requirements, decide if the practice needs a client server or cloud model, verify if the practice management software integrates with the EMR/EHR and then perform the tricky bit – schedule a product demo !
Before we get to the demo part, choosing the right model is the key. A client server model for practice management would mean that the practice would either have to acquire or finance server equipment, along with setting up workstations for its users which will have the practice management software installed on them. The primary disadvantage of running a client server model is the cost of running the server. This is where the SaaS or cloud model outshines the client server. The SaaS model decreases cost while increasing security and reliability. The only drawback is that protected patient data will be with the EMR/EHR vendor, which could raise unwarranted security issues.
Integration between practice management software’s and electronic medical records is often a key decision maker. During implementation it is considered to be one of the most challenging aspects faced by any medical practice. Few EMR/EHR vendors in the industry today offer a complete suite, which consists of both EMR and PM, but a fewer number of vendors exist whose practice management software would integrate with any EHR. The wise choice would be to identify the vendor who offers the complete suite and whose practice management and electronic medical records are top notch. Although this might seem like an impossible task, there are a few vendors out there who do provide such services. The question remains on how to identify them, and the answer to that question is simply KLAS. Recent unbiased surveys by the KLAS group have catered to this need. A quick glance at their survey will help physicians and office managers identify the leading EMR and practice management providers in the industry, and would expedite the overall selection process. Categorized by different specialties, practice size and other criteria, I would recommend medical experts to take part and review the survey to get the best value for their money.