Searching for medical software is one of the good news and bad news scenarios.
The good news, you have several types of software available to handle your electronic health records (EHRs) and practice management requirements.
But the bad news is also that you have so many types of software from which to choose. If you’re not accustomed to choosing software, aren’t comfortable with new technology, or have limited time to spend on this search, you might be wondering how to proceed.
Fortunately, you could help find the right software for your medical practice. To do so, you might want to ask yourself a few questions.
What will it cost?
When buying anything, the first question many of us have is, “What will it cost?”
It’s an important question, but it’s often not easy to answer. The answers could be especially difficult when you’re weighing different types of medical software.
To start, you’ll need to determine what you want your software to do, and then budget from there. Think about the features you really need for your office and look for software that delivers those options.
Can you buy a software package that offers many of these features, or will you need to buy different components separately, like ordering à la carte items from a menu in a restaurant?
Will you be buying the entire software system at once, or will you be paying for it through regularly scheduled intervals with a subscription? Does the cost of the software include updates, technical support, or other features?
Answering these questions and others takes time. But answering them in the present can prevent headaches and unseen costs in the future.
Could you and your staff learn it easily?
Good software is usable software.
Before buying a system and making major investments in time and money, consider testing the software first.
Ask the manufacturer if it offers demos (demonstrations) of how the system could work in real-life scenarios. You might want to ask if your staff members could see, access, and enter sample electronic health records (EHRs) during these trial periods.
Check out some software demos and reviews online. For official assistance, search for and watch videos and reviews from the manufacturers. For unbiased opinions of how these software systems actually work and shortcuts about them, you could check out other online sources.
Does the manufacturer offer support?
Product support could mean the difference between a good system and a great one.
Many manufacturers offer demos and other assistance when you’re onboarding or beginning to use their systems. Some provide representatives who could help you throughout your office’s use of their EHR or practice management systems.
Other manufacturers include contact information for information technology (IT) workers who could provide assistance.
Technology is ever-changing. Even IT professionals need to study to keep informed, so it’s understandable that people outside the industry might need occasional assistance.
Working with professionals could help you better understand and use medical software, especially if you encounter problems.
Is it customized to your practice and specialty?
Talking with other professionals could help you find the right software fit.
More specifically, you could ask other offices that practice the same type of medicine about the technology they use.
Depending on their fields, specialty practices could function very differently. Practices that focus mainly on surgeries operate differently–pun intended–than general practices that feature mostly in-person checkups and tests. Appointments are different, the EHRs are different, and so are the billing and insurance procedures, among other things.
So, if you’re an eye care practice, ask another eye care practice about their EHR and practice management systems. The staff members there might give you tips about what to look for in a system and what to avoid.
Could it help you manage your billing?
Effective EHR and practice management systems could also help you manage your billing and financial needs.
Billing is complicated. Look for software that could provide revenue cycle management (RCM) assistance to deal with insurance companies, forms, claims, appeals, and other communication and paperwork related to billing.
Such assistance could help you save valuable time and help your office run smoothly.
In addition to helping manage your finances, the right software could also help your practice increase them. It could indicate where your patients are living so you could determine where to target your healthcare marketing. It could track your office’s sales of medical supplies so you could determine what sells and when. This information could help you build your practice.
Does it integrate with other systems and practices?
Connecting with other practices is another way to enhance your own.
The software could let you do that. If you’re working in a medical specialty, there’s a good chance that you’re working with general practitioners. You might refer patients to other specialists, surgeons, or laboratories.
Electronic health record and practice management systems could coordinate with these other health care providers so everyone receives the same, accurate information. This integration among different practices’ systems is known as EHR interoperability.
When systems are interoperable, everyone could see which procedures have occurred, which ones need to be scheduled, which prescriptions have been issued, and when everything has occurred.
Thorough records like this could prevent delays, procedures that are scheduled multiple times or not at all, prescription interactions, and other inconvenient or dangerous occurrences. Everyone will be on the same (digital) page.
Will patients be able to use it?
Your practice and other practices aren’t the only ones who need to be able to use your new system.
Patients need this ability too. Choose EHR and practice management software that you believe your patients could use or could use with a little assistance. Then, provide this assistance
You might want to designate one employee as someone your patients could ask for help accessing and understanding their records. Be sure to provide the necessary time and tools that this employee could require to work with patients and ask for additional help if needed.