If you're in the market for a new medical practice management software package, prepare yourself.
Choosing an MPM system will make medical school seem like it was a walk in the park. Here's what you're up against: Hundreds of vendors with seemingly similar software features and pricing structures that make cost comparisons a real challenge.
Yet despite the complexities of the MPM marketplace, you simply can't afford to settle for a solution that doesn't deliver the features your practice needs today or the expansion ability to address the obstacles you will face in the future.
From the outset, you should include your staff in the selection process. Solicit feedback from them about the features that they think are most important in a new application and let their input guide your search. Beyond that, there are a handful of other medical practice management software features you'll want to see in a decent solution.
- Patient scheduling. A comprehensive patient scheduling module is an anchor point of a quality system. These days, a simple electronic calendar won't suffice. Instead, look for applications that allow for multiple bookings per timeslot, eligibility verifications and multi-site abilities. Even if you don't need multi-site ability now, it's nice to know that you have it if you add a site in the future.
- Simplicity. If your software solution isn't easy to use, your staff won't embrace it. There are plenty of solutions out there that have been created to accommodate a wide range of technological proficiencies. Again, involve your staff in the selection process and let them demo products to ensure total buy-in.
- Billing & accounts receivable. Most vendors offer applications with seamless billing and claims features. In addition to insurance eligibility verification at the time of scheduling, look for software packages that provide claims error-checking, electronic claims submission and integration with accounting/billing software.
- Security & compliance. Any application worth considering has to take security and compliance issues seriously. It goes without saying that the system should be password protected with variable authorization levels for individual staff members. But it should also bring your practice into full security and billing compliance with HIPAA and other mandated standards.
- Reporting. Medical practice management software vendors promise the world when it comes to reporting. Although they'll say you can create your own customized reports, hold out for software that includes pre-formatted reports in areas like accounts receivable, patient demographics, diagnostic categories and staff productivity.