We all like to feel like things are under control, especially when it comes to our business.
When you’re running a physician practice, that’s a tall order. There are so many moving parts—from front office tasks like checking eligibility to tracking every part of the billing process to keeping a close eye on your overall financials. The importance of implementing a practice management system knows no bounds since they are essentially a one place stop to monitor all aspects of your practice.
Given the complexity of today’s medical practices, the only way to be sure things are under control is to use a full-featured practice management program. These systems have come a long way in recent years and can be an incredibly effective tool in helping a practice run smoothly and profitably.
Whether you’re considering purchasing a practice management system for the first time or replacing your current program, the primary consideration is how well it integrates with your EHR and billing systems. These three functions should work together seamlessly, with information flowing easily between them.
Here are four more key features to look for in a practice management system:
- Adaptability. The main problem with practice management software is its inability to be customized by the user. Most were designed for internal medicine practices, which means they aren’t a good fit for specialties like cardiology, oncology, or orthopedics. They’re an even worse fit for dermatologists, mental health practices, and physical therapists. Buying a practice management system designed for your specialty is an option, but buying a system that you can fully customize is an even better decision. Newer systems allow you to easily adjust what’s on each screen, ensuring you see the items germane to your practice and your role in it.
- Robust reporting. The next problem with practice management software is that you’re stuck with standard reports. You can’t create your own reports to show the items most important to you, and you can’t export the raw data to Excel to help you drill down into problem areas. Again, new systems offer far more flexibility, allowing you to adjust the reporting to fit your needs and “slice and dice” your data to reveal exactly where problems lie.
- Customizable dashboards. Dashboards are now common in practice management systems, but many still don’t allow you to choose which key performance indicators (KPIs) are included. Look for one that lets each user choose which KPIs appear on his/her dashboard.
- Revenue alerts. To truly stay on top of potential issues before they affect your revenue, your practice management system should send you alerts when certain events occur. For example, you can choose to be notified when patients are checked in but not checked for eligibility, when patients are seen but the visit isn’t billed, when denials are not followed up on, and/or when collections is below a pre-determined threshold.
Finally, as with any software you buy today, make sure your practice management system is cloud-based. The days of buying server-based software that have to be physically upgraded on each machine are over. Instead, buy a subscription that includes upgrades so your system always includes the latest technology and features.