What is Practice Management Software? And Why Do I need It?

Running a profitable practice and providing top-notch patient care is one thing, but keeping an organized schedule, verifying insurance eligibility, sending clean claims, keeping up with patient billing and integrating that information into an electronic health record system is a whole other ballgame. Those tasks can be incredibly time-consuming and cost you a lot of overhead, which will effectively eat into your bottom line, not to mention cause undue stress in your team.  

However, a quality practice management solution can streamline and automate all of those moving parts for you, boost your staff’s productivity, keep appointments filled, provide you with real-time analytics on the efficiency and performance of your practice and generally serve as the much-needed command center for your organization. Once you have it, you will wonder how your business ever made it without practice management software.  

The basics of practice management software 

In short, a practice management solution is the operational technology lifeblood of your organization. Its purpose is to make your job easier and streamline administrative day-to-day work, reducing time spent on paperwork, patient records, insurance claims, scheduling, billing, and other mundane tasks.  

For an industry already bogged down in regulations and paperwork, a solution like practice management software can be the turnkey solution that you need, giving you access to insights that you never thought you would see.  

After deploying this software, your clinical, financial, and operational workflows will never be the same. 

More quality time and better care for patients 

Let’s face it – the mission of your practice is not to fill out endless amounts of paperwork, inquire about the status of a patient’s bills or insurance claims, or reminding patients of their upcoming appointments. At the end of the day, you are there to take care of patients and improve the health of your community.  

However, if you leave the back end of your practice to administrative staff and do not complement their talents with comprehensive practice management software, that critical patient time could begin dwindling away. Constantly battling those tasks will not do you any good when your job is the health of your patients. That could mean poor patient outcomes, which will lead to your patients going elsewhere for medical care.  

If those time-consuming tasks are streamlined and automated with the help of practice management software, your physicians will have more time to devote to treating patients. And, when integrated with other medical software, staff will have access to a complete, well-organized view of the patients’ financial and insurance information, along with their clinical data.  

Improved workflow  

If your organization has ever struggled handing work off across departments, then you know just how complicated managing all aspects of a practice can be. For a practice to run as smooth as possible and avoid downtime, front desk, financial, and clinical operations need to be in lockstep with one another.  

With a practice management solution, the name of the game is efficiency. Imagine taking all those complicated processes and entrusting them to a single piece of software designed to streamline the work of your administrative staff. In addition, you can update everything about a patient’s case from one single platform, eliminating the need to convey those updates to different departments and causing more confusion.  

This takes that undue stress off your staff and helps the different departments of your organization run like well-oiled machines, which will ultimately help you focus on improving patient outcomes and ensuring you get paid on time.  

Clean up documentation errors 

One of the biggest pitfalls to any healthcare organization’s efficiency is human error when it comes to billing, coding, claims, insurance eligibility, and other financial parts of the business. Unfortunately, when errors happen, that means administrative staff must do that work all over again and spend countless hours manually finding and fixing those mistakes. That can impede growth and take time away from improving the business.  

Practice management software, however, helps ensure that no mistakes are made in the first place. Innovations like automated billing rules, collection capabilities, and real-time error alerts will help give you peace of mind that you will not have to rework claims or track down payments.  

On-time, filled appointments 

One of the most devastating things that can happen to a practice’s bottom line is an empty waiting room because the patient either forgot about their appointment or a canceled time slot was not filled. According to one study, missed appointments cost the U.S. healthcare system more than $150 billion a year. For individual physicians, that’s an average of $200 per unused time slot. While costs like payroll, real estate, and government mandates continue to pile up, you really can’t afford to have any empty time slots.  

Imagine having a piece of software that helps you keep a full schedule and ensures patients show up to their appointments. Well, you are in luck, because one of the main benefits of software management software is scheduling and appointment reminders. This software allows front desk staff to manage the organization’s schedule with online patient scheduling and automated patient reminders, so you can make the most of your workday.  

Scalability and interoperability 

Without a dedicated practice management solution – or with siloed programs causing a disconnect between departments – your organization will have a hard time growing without running into even more issues when it comes to finances and scheduling. You will likely have to add additional staff to handle that busy work, which will make your payroll balloon and keep you from investing in other areas of the business.  

However, cloud-based practice management solutions can work with organizations of any size and allow for growth without becoming prohibitively expensive. In addition, cloud-based systems eliminate the need to purchase costly equipment to set up the software. Instead, all the organization needs is an internet connection.  

 

The software can also integrate with other software, such as an EHR, revenue cycle management, patient experience, and others, giving you unfettered access into every aspect of your organization and a complete view of the patient from the time they make an appointment, through their interaction with clinicians, and to when payment is received.  

Never-before-seen insights 

You can only improve areas of your practice when you know exactly where you are being inefficient or underperforming. Without insight into productivity levels, billing, performance against your key goals, and patient outcomes, it will be very hard to make any meaningful growth, pad the bottom line, and expand your patient base. You need visibility into that data to make important decisions about staffing, facilities, scheduling and more.  

With modern practice management solutions, you get access to the data and analytics they need to make informed decisions about the future of your organization. With cloud-based solutions, you get access real-time operational, financial, and clinical reports via easy-to-read charts and graphs displaying metrics that matter most to your practice, like accounts receivable, outstanding bills, authorizations, claims, and more.  

Improved bottom line 

Most of all, practice management software will help improve your organization’s financial posture by eliminating inefficiencies in your administrative processes.  

An unorganized and dysfunctional back end of a healthcare practice generally leads to less-than-ideal business outcomes. If you are constantly running into billing, coding, eligibility and scheduling issues, you won’t be able to grow your practice and your patients could end up looking for care elsewhere. In addition to lost income because of finance staff errors, fixing those mistakes manually means spending even more overhead on staff to get the job done correctly.  

Rather than waste time tracking down payments and reimbursements, organizations can rely on practice management software to help keep revenue flowing while cutting down on costly administrative expenses.  

In summary 

In a highly regulated industry with a lot of moving parts that continues to evolve, you need a central command center platform from which to run your business. With all the stressors of today’s healthcare environment, a comprehensive platform that can help you run your business is critical. If you have been unable to grow your practice and your organization is plagued with operational, financial and clinical inefficiencies, then it is time to make a change and invest in practice management software.  

Avoid claim denials, increase revenue and empower your staff

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