We all have daily tasks and “to-do” lists. These tasks vary day to day, but the nature of needing to get them done does not. So hypothetically, let’s say you are due for an oil change, your car is filthy and in dire need of a wash, and your gas light is on. So would you rather make three different stops to check these items off your list or make one stop? Wouldn’t it be more efficient and make more sense to go to one place that can take care of all your needs instead of three? Now, let’s take this car analogy and relate it to best practice for your business. In this article we are going to explain why and all-in-one practice management software is the best fit for your office as opposed to contracting with multiple vendors.
Practice Management Software
Practice management software deals with the day-to-day operations of your practice. It allows your staff to capture patient demographics, schedule appointments, maintain lists of insurance payers, perform billing tasks, and generate reports. Although these components all have different importance and roles within you clinic, they are all integral. Also because efficiency is key to running a successful practice it’s vital that each component work together. Now, lets take a closer look at each key component:
The scheduler is key for your front desk staff and is the first step in your revenue cycle. The scheduler you select should host features such as patient demographics, insurance information, patient financial responsibility, and make scheduling and organizing appointments easy. In RevFlow, our scheduler is not independent from the EMR and billing components of the application. We have reporting available that can tell you which patients have been marked arrived for their appointment, but do not have a completed treatment note. This type of actionable reporting can help you to monitor and make sure your clinicians do not get too far behind in their documentation. We also gather data from the scheduler and offer analytics to help you better understand your appointment trends (cancels, no-shows, etc.)
Electronic Medical Record (EMR)
The EMR is used in the treatment of the patient and used by the clinical staff in your office and supports billing and charges. Before you set out evaluating different EMR platforms you should first evaluate your practice. What are your office’s existing key workflows, what features are important to you and the other clinicians in your office? How much training will you need? What are the terms of the service agreement? And one of the biggest questions- is the EMR you’re considering interoperable with the other practice management software your office is currently using? If your EMR doesn’t speak the same language as your other software applications, it may be time to reconsider your selection and find a better fit for your practice. Your EMR should not stand alone. It should work in conjunction with your entire practice to deliver you the best overall result.
Typically when reviewing different practice management software platforms, the billing functionality is last to be considered when really it should be at the top of your list. Let’s be honest, this is what keeps the doors open. It is what brings money back to the clinic after the services are provided to the patient. Whether considering keeping your billing in-house or outsourcing, make sure the platform that is going to be used is built for your specialty. If you’ve been in business a while you know that physical therapy billing is a completely different animal from let’s say physician billing. If your billing platform was not built for physical therapy, you or your biller is probably spending a lot of time in your clearinghouse auditing and correcting charges. Not only is this very time consuming, but it could also result in the charges billed to the insurance company being out of sync with what was documented in your EMR. Not good.
Best-of-Breed Is Not The Best
Proper planning of an integrated business management system often takes the backseat to short-term revenue acceleration goals. As a consequence, various applications (“best-of-breed”) are installed at different points in time resulting in a disjointed and inefficient practice with integration issues. For example you may have found a particular scheduling software that hits all the marks on your wish list, but at the end of the day it only performs specialized functions related to patient appointments. It is limited by it’s specialty. To fulfill all the needs of your practice, if you decided to go with a best-of-breed approach, you would need to find a separate vendor for your EMR and practice management and billing platform. Multiple vendors means multiple contracts and fees, redundant data entry, and maintenance and integration challenges.
Now lets review a fully integrated or all-in-one practice management software option. This option provides a comprehensive integrated solution. A one-stop-shop more or less. This is much like our oil change, car wash, and full tank of gas analogy at the beginning of our article. Not only is it more streamlined, but it provides a uniform data pool, meaning your staff is using only one system. The use of a fully integrated system promotes transparency and reliability in a practice and it also reduces redundancies and errors. Less system errors means less billing errors, which in turn provides a more consistent money flow. There is also a notable cost savings when using a fully integrated suite. Reduction of maintenance and licensing costs, less upkeep, and lower, or for our clients, no upgrade fees.
As you evaluate the differences of each of these practice management components it can be tempting to use separate software to fulfill independent needs in your practice. This “best-of-breed” technique at first may seem like the right approach, but when implemented proves to be inefficient and costly for your business. A fully integrated practice management software like RevFlow additionally makes training, maintenance and upkeep more streamlined. If you’re interested in learning more about our practice management software and billing services contact us today.