Kathleen IrwinUpgrading or changing your medical billing software can be an overwhelming process, so it helps to have a free online resource like Software Advice to get you started in choosing the right software for your practice.
“We connect software buyers with software vendors by offering free phone consultations where we shortlist products that meet their specific business needs,” says Kathleen Irwin, Medical Market Research Associate at Software Advice. “Basically, we’re the first stop in the software selection process.”
We recently checked in with Kathleen to learn about today’s market for medical billing software, including the biggest concerns and frustrations of software buyers and the most in-demand features and functions. Read on to learn more:
Why are so many organizations interested in medical billing software right now? What are the most common reasons they’ve given for shopping around?
In previous years, a high percentage of prospective buyers cited reasons related to bringing their practice into the digital world or eliminating paper. This year, we noticed that more buyers (38 percent) are replacing existing medical billing software for a myriad of reasons. Some buyers just want to “see what’s out there,” while others are seeking features that their current vendor doesn’t offer.
What types of organizations are most interested in new software?
Healthcare professionals opening new practices, which accounted for 20 percent of our sample, are the largest type of organization that we can identify. Eighty-seven percent of our total sample was seeking an integrated suite of medical software applications which aligns nicely with the needs of new practices. When we consider Meaningful Use requirements, it makes sense that professionals who are seeking an electronic health record (EHR) to start their practice would also want to include medical billing.
What are the biggest concerns of those buying this software today? What problems are they hoping to solve?
As with practice management software buyers, medical billing buyers are primarily concerned with regulatory compliance and improving integration between different applications. For medical billing, this could mean wanting an ONC-ATCB compliant EHR that connects to an integrated billing application. Billing codes can be automatically transcribed from a patient file into bills or claims, which provides significant time savings for staff members.
What seem to be their frustrations with their current software?
Fifteen percent of buyers we surveyed were frustrated with systems that are outdated, such as DOS-based software or programs that don’t plan to update to the new ICD-10 codes. Another eight percent of buyers were concerned with the cost of billing services and planned on utilizing a new billing software system to bring billing back in-house.
What capabilities of newer medical billing software are users most interested in?
Over twenty percent of prospective buyers are looking for an integrated suite that includes mobile access from smartphones and tablets. Other billing-specific features that a significant number of buyers showed interest in included claim scrubbing (16 percent) and eligibility inquiries (15 percent).
In your study, you mention that many organizations are seeking mobile functionality to their billing software. Why is mobile so important? What issues surrounding mobile billing still need to be resolved?
Mobile applications for healthcare are poised to be huge. Other studies have shown that medical professionals are already using mobile devices to communicate with other staff members, so it won’t be much of a leap to start integrating mobile technology into workflows. Due to the mobile nature of jobs in the medical field (traveling between several exam rooms, clinics and even hospitals) makes mobile an ideal feature for this industry.
Complying with HIPAA and other laws that protect personal health information is a significant hurdle for new mobile app developers to overcome.
How important is integration with other applications to buyers? How does this benefit a practice?
Integrated suites provide a number of features that have the potential to provide practices with time and cost savings. As I mentioned above, medical billing applications that are linked to an individual’s health record can make recording billing codes easier.
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Last Updated on February 20, 2015