A wise man named Forrest once said, “Life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get.” While it may be fine to take that approach to your own life, you want to know exactly what you’re getting when you buy medical software — it’s responsible for other people’s lives! Understanding the difference between medical billing software and medical practice management software is a crucial place to start.
Each healthcare practice has its own needs and goals. Some healthcare providers want to improve the efficiency of patient registration while others need to streamline the process of sending claims to insurance companies. In addition, there are many healthcare providers that want to use the latest technology to alert patients of upcoming appointments and bill them in a more timely way. Others may need some combination of these upgrades, or may even want all of them!
Medical offices and health care providers interested in making changes have a few options of medical software to choose from: EMR/EHR (electronic medical/health records), patient scheduling software, medical billing software, and medical practice management/patient management software.
One area that gets especially confusing is medical billing vs practice management software. These two types of software have a lot of features that boost the efficiency and reputation of a healthcare provider’s practice, but they offer different features that are important to understand.
This article will focus on medical billing management software and medical practice management (MPM) software. Check out our other articles if you want to know if your office needs both EHR and practice management software, or you can find the difference between EHR and practice management software. For everything medical billing and practice management, read on!
The Difference between Practice Management Software vs Medical Billing Software
Both these solutions offer a range of prices, features and deployments. Both will assist with ICD-10 and HIPAA compliance, ensuring patient data security. If you want web-based software for an orthopedic specialty, for instance, you’ll likely be able to find a variety of products that will work for you. But odds are, one will work better for your unique requirements than another, and we’re here to help sort out the differences.
Healthcare providers of many kinds use medical software to manage their revenue cycle. This includes activities like medical billing and coding, as well as sending claims to insurance companies. Medical billing software efficiently handles the billing process so a medical professional has accurate, up-to-date financial records.
Also known as medical accounting software or practice billing software, medical billing software tracks patient history through their billing encounters, offering users a complete record for every patient. This serves as a backup for EMR/EHR failures or inaccuracies. Medical billing software checks insurance eligibility when a patient comes for a visit, helping prevent pricey miscommunications and insurance gaps.
Alternatively, medical practice management software handles a range of tasks for your medical practice. These include scheduling appointments, recording patient data, storing health records and creating reports. It can also help automate and streamline repetitive office tasks, freeing up your office staff for more intensive work.
It’s important to note that some types of management software can handle billing procedures as well as administrative tasks for the office of a healthcare professional. Many systems that are sold as MPM software are also medical billing software, but the reverse is not true.
To help you decide whether to choose practice billing software or practice management software, we’ve broken down some situations that may be relevant to you:
When to Choose Medical Billing Software
There are a range of reasons that can contribute to whether or not you should utilize medical billing software. Practice size, budget, staff resources and other medical softwareare all important to take into consideration when deciding whether to choose revenue cycle management software or practice management software.
If you’re a healthcare provider that simply wants some additional help with the financial side of your practice, you may find that using a medical billing software or service meets your needs. This type of software offers healthcare providers instant access to any bill or claim. For instance, the manager of a pediatrician’s office can see when a specific bill was sent to a patient and check its status to determine if it has been paid. If it hasn’t, the person can see how long it’s been overdue.
All of this is done electronically, which cuts down on the amount of paperwork moving through your practice. Physicians and medical practice staff have more than enough on their plates without having to worry about data entry and tracking down patients who haven’t paid their bills yet. Medical billing software even automates many of these processes.
If you want to reduce the workload of people working on your staff, then billing software may be a good option for you. For example, a dentist who has a staff of five very busy people in the front office may be able to more evenly distribute work with the implementation of billing software. The billing process is almost completely automated, so there is no need to utilize employees’ time to type bills, proofread them and send them out.
In addition, this automated process cuts down on the number of errors included in bills and claims. In fact, there are many types of billing software that send up a red flag if there is a possible error on a patient’s bill or a claim to an insurance company. Catching an error before a document is sent out can save a healthcare provider both time and money. If you work in a busy, growing practice, this software can keep track of your finances with ease and efficiency.
If you like the sound of these perks but aren’t sold on a particular medical billing software, there are also medical billing services. These companies outsource the medical billing process and manage claim submission, tracking and completion for you. This can be an especially attractive option to large practices that have too high a volume of patient flow to realistically manage their own billing.
When to Choose Medical Practice Management Software
Medical practice management software is a good idea if you want software that handles both administrative and financial duties for your office. It lumps together the capabilities of patient scheduling software, EMR/EHR, medical billing software and patient management software into a single convenient system. This can be both good and bad for a couple reasons.
If you are a physician who wants to start a small practice, you may want to consider this software. It can easily handle the volume of patients you’ll be scheduling, treating and billing. MPM can then display it conveniently in a single interface since a small amount of staff will likely be performing those tasks.
In many cases, a doctor or dentist who is just starting out has a small budget. Practice management systems are also a more budget-friendly catch-all solution than a separate medical billing system that will have to be integrated with your EMR/EHR software and patient scheduling systems.
The budget-consciousness of an MPM solution applies to employees as well. Getting MPM software can help you avoid hiring and paying a large staff. Practice management software is also helpful for large practices. Physicians working in a large office can access their daily schedules in real time so they will know about patient cancellations right away. Many types of management systems for medical practices offer automated reminders to patients regarding upcoming appointments. This frees busy office staff from these and many other manual, time-consuming tasks.
Patient registration and approval of insurance coverage are simple with the help of this software. Healthcare professionals can access patients’ medical records and billing information even if they are out of the office. Many hospitals use this software because it allows physicians, nurses, X-ray technicians and others instant access to information that they can use to give each patient the best possible care.
Practice management software is ideal for any provider that wants to concentrate on treating patients instead of dealing with the everyday logistics that are a necessary part of any healthcare facility. Remember that when choosing software, it’s important to find a product that suits the needs of your particular office.
Both of these types of software can assist physicians in improving the efficiency and operation of their practice. Either way, the billing process is simplified and streamlined. Patient information and financial records are secure and easily accessible to streamline the process of caring for patients. And, most importantly, these software solutions help take care of the other stuff so you can focus on what really matters — taking care of patients.
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