Thanksgiving may be in our rearview mirror, but it doesn’t mean we can’t take some time to appreciate the things we have. Here at SelectHub, we’re pretty big fans of software, so we’re thankful for the many great vendors out there. If you work in a medical practice, chances are you’ve used physician practice management before. And if you have, then you’re probably pretty grateful that it makes your job easier.
Physician practice management software is one of the best things to happen to the healthcare industry. If there’s a healthcare equivalent to the invention of sliced bread, we’d say that physician practice management is the biggest thing since that. With the various innovations to this software, it’s helped change the day-to-day operations of medical practices forever. Patient satisfaction is going up, and the patient-doctor relationship is improving.
So let’s take a minute to appreciate some of the most important innovations in physician practice management, and how they’ve changed the game for healthcare providers:
Patient portals are probably the most useful tools available to healthcare providers today. One of the core features of physician practice management, they’re one of the biggest reasons that patient satisfaction is on the rise. In a nutshell, they give patients access to most or all of the health information that their primary care practices have. If a patient wants to check on everything they did in their last appointment, they don’t need to call your practice. Instead, they can simply log in and check their records.
Additionally, patients can ask questions via the portal. This saves them time, as they don’t have to make an appointment for a single question. But if they do need an appointment, they can use built-in scheduling software. This is not only easier for your patients, but it also saves your staff time, since they don’t have to answer the phone or do any manual scheduling.
Financial management is critical for medical practices because… well… it manages your finances. The only way you can succeed as a practice is if you properly manage your money, both coming in and going out. Luckily, physician practice management software helps you take care of several financial management processes. For example:
Medical Billing and Coding
Medical billing and coding is more than just sending an invoice to your patients. You first have to code all of the services provided and equipment used during an appointment. After that, you need to verify insurance and submit a claim. And finally, you need to track that claim, ensuring that you actually get paid for what you billed.
Physician practice management can handle all of this. Most of the leading vendors can verify insurance automatically, and send a claim right after an appointment is finished. Additionally, the systems track each claim, notifying you if certain bills haven’t been paid on time.
Revenue Cycle Management
The revenue cycle management process can be long and complex. To manage it properly, you need a solid process in place to make sure you get paid for every bill you send out. But who in the healthcare industry has the time to make and continue optimizing this process? Nobody, that’s who. Just leave it to your physician practice management software, which can manage the whole process for you. This functionality leaves minimal work for your staff to do, freeing up time to take care of other tasks.
Most categories of software work best when they’re integrated with other systems. Physician practice management is no different. From a medical standpoint, integration with an electronic health records (EHR) and/or an electronic medical records (EMR) system is a powerful asset. These integrations allow all of your medical practice’s most important data — both medical and administrative — to coexist. For example, you can more easily check a patient’s diagnosis and prescription information and compare it to a bill you sent out. This makes managing patient information both easier and cheaper.
From a non-medical standpoint, there are several other integrations that are quite useful. Integrating physician practice management with your customer relationship management (CRM) software helps you market to your patients with more relevant messaging. Integrating with an ERP keeps all of your data centralized and secure. And integrating with business intelligence (BI) software allows you to perform data analysis that can lead to improvements in your day-to-day operations.
The Cloud and Mobile Access
The somewhat-recent introduction of the cloud to physician practice management software opened up a plethora of new possibilities. For example, the patient portal that we discussed earlier is only possible thanks to the cloud. Without cloud technology, the only way patients would be able to digitally access their data would be if they were on the same local network as their primary care provider. And that, frankly, defeats the purpose of a self-service patient portal.
The much-more-recent introduction of mobile access to physician practice management software has helped all kinds of practices improve their patient care. While software helped partially replace paper, mobile access has helped eliminate it completely (or at least, it will in the not-too-distant future).
Before the addition of mobile access, many physicians and other staff would take paper notes because they didn’t want to lug around a laptop. Nowadays, with how light mobile devices are, physicians and other medical practice employees are much more inclined to bring them along wherever they go, so they can always work with the system when the need arises.
As we look to the future, there will no doubt be several more innovations that’ll make plenty of healthcare jobs easier. More processes will be automated, and practices will run smoother than ever. The most important thing, however, is that patient care continues to improve along with it. The more innovations that come to physician practice management, the more time is freed up for physicians to take care of their patients. At its core, that’s what the healthcare industry is all about, isn’t it?