Back in the old days, patients would attend whatever doctor or hospital was nearest to them, and face sticker shock in the mail. Consumers have longed for more transparent medical billing practices for years. That was at least part of the impetus behind the No Surprises Act that began as of this year.
However, transparent medical billing can also provide benefits to you as a practitioner. Not least of which is the increased trust of your patients. One way that you can achieve better billing is with the right care billing software.
How can you choose the best medical billing software for your practice? Here are some things you need to consider.
The Modules Offered by the Billing Software
Certain pieces of care billing software can automate almost your entire practice, depending on the package you get. Specific modules offered may include:
- Appointment management
- Pre-registration of patients
- Medical coding support
- Payment reminders
- Medical insurance claim management
These modules and more can streamline your entire medical practice, making it easier to manage. If you specialize in a particular type of care (aged care, for instance), you may require a more specialized program. This aged care billing software can make it easier to work with older clients.
Both you and your patients will access the data stored in your billing software on a variety of platforms. It’s not enough to have the program on your Windows desktop at the appointment desk or in the office. You need phone and tablet functionality as well.
The more platforms that people can use your billing software on, the more likely they will be to pay their bills on time and stay on top of their own healthcare.
The Cost of the Software
Naturally, if you’re just starting out, you can’t afford to drop a fortune on medical software. So, as you browse for the right billing system, make sure that you keep your budget in mind. After all, you wouldn’t want to buy more software than your practice needs.
This can also prove a point of contention when a developer refuses to be transparent about their pricing. If this happens during your search, run, don’t walk, away from them. That is an enormous red flag.
One of the greatest concerns any medical practitioner should have about their billing software is whether or not it is HIPAA compliant. Now, per US law, every piece of medical software has to meet HIPAA compliance standards.
Still, it never hurts to check. Better to be safe than sorry and staring down a fine of up to $25,000 total. Or worse, potentially losing your license to practice medicine and your practice overall.
Another crucial thing to consider if you’ve got an established medical practice is the learning curve for the care billing software itself.
You’ve more than likely had this experience at least once before. Someone well above your pay grade in an old job decided to change the entire system used for orders, billing, or transaction processing, and then no one could get any work done because no one could figure out how it worked.
You don’t want the medical billing software that you order to have too steep of a learning curve. If it’s too steep, you could lose good employees over an inability to master it. Plus, it increases the chance of mistakes.
Existing System Compatibility
Another factor to consider if you already have an established practice is whether or not your new billing software can work with your existing patient management systems. This is one situation where it’s much easier for practices starting fresh, as they can have their pick of the litter, so to speak.
If you already have an EHR/EMR system set up, you need to check whether the billing software you want to use is supported by or compatible with the current system. The last thing you want is to waste all the money you spent on something that you can’t use.
Updates and Support
On any piece of software for any industry, the level of support and frequency of updates are crucial. A piece of billing software can suit your every need to perfection, but if it lacks support from the developers, it’s all but useless. After all, you and your employees are doctors, not computer scientists.
Keeping your patients’ data secure requires a constant slew of updates to patch any potential holes in the system. A program not receiving consistent updates is a program that poses major risks for data breaches. Don’t let this happen to your medical practice.
You should also ensure that the parent company is easy to reach in the event of a disaster. After all, nothing is worse than having to sit on hold for hours on end when your system bugs out.
The Level of Software You Need
Let’s think about this logically. If you’re a hobbyist, an amateur photographer, what’s going to be best for your photo editing needs? A full subscription to Photoshop or a lower-cost alternative?
The same logic applies to your medical billing software. Smaller practices that see fewer patients don’t have the same needs as specialists or large practices that track thousands of patients each week. Take a moment to ask the provider if this care billing software comes recommended for practices the same size as yours.
Care Billing Software: Let’s Review What You Should Know
Choosing the right care billing software requires the same amount of research and care that patients expect from you. You need to ensure that it’s affordable and suited to your practice size while offering the features that you need. You also need to check that it’s properly supported and HIPAA compliant.
From there, as long as it’s compatible with your existing system and easy to learn, you’re sure to get the right medical billing software for your practice. If you found this article helpful and would like to learn more about billing or other software, check out our blog for more content like this.