Top Advantages of Implementing an Integrated EMR and Practice Management System
Practice Management Systems (PMS) offer providers a dynamic solution to coordinate all organizational tasks and processes through improved workflows, added efficiencies and a myriad of other benefits. This article will provide an in-depth examination of some of the key benefits clinics of various sizes and specialties can expect by implementing a robust practice management system.
Practice Management Primer
Practice management is the process of “managing all business aspects of a medical practice including financials, human resources, information technology, compliance, marketing, and operations.”
Medical practice management software is defined as “a category of healthcare software that deals with the day-to-day operations of a medical practice,” which includes “capturing patient demographics, scheduling appointments, maintaining lists of insurance payers, performing billing tasks, and generating reports.” Medical management systems often integrate with electronic health records (EHR) based on the practice’s needs.
There are some key considerations in selecting PMS software, which we explore in detail in a previous blog post, so be sure to check out our “Best Practices for Choosing Practice Management Software” as an important complement to this article.
12 Reasons Why a Practice Management System is Beneficial for Your Clinic
There are a variety of tangible and intangible benefits associated with implementing practice management systems in clinics of all sizes. Outlined below are 12 of the key benefits providers will realize by implementing medical management software.
1. Streamlined Workflows and Processes
The most valuable, and most widely reported, benefit of practice management software is added efficiency; specifically, in regard to workflows and processes. In a fast-paced, dynamic care environment, adding efficiencies and streamlining processes has a direct impact on throughput and the clinic’s ability to achieve quality patient outcomes.
Medical practice management software offers a standardized system for maintaining peak performance – minimizing errors and redundancies to help staff operate smoothly and efficiently and reduce patient wait times. The software’s monitoring and reporting capabilities also help in the early identification of issues for troubleshooting and proactive interventions.
2. Improved Practice Organization Allowing Focus on Quality Patient Care
By systematically organizing medical practices, practice management systems allow providers to focus on quality care rather than burdensome, administrative tasks. This benefit is achieved by assuming and automating processes such as scheduling, billing due dates and patient tracking. As the documentation required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) increases, this function will become increasingly important to providers.
3. Enhanced Automation Leading to Increase in Efficiency, Productivity and Profitability
PM software better leverages staff time by automating standard tasks. For example, PMS is often capable of automatically sending appointment reminders and maintaining sufficient supply inventories, which are triggered to automatically re-order when inventory is low.
4. Improved Billing Processes Leading to Faster Reimbursement
Medical management systems streamline payment processes and facilitate faster reimbursement. This added efficiency is achieved through the system’s ability to verify insurance eligibility early in the process when the patient’s appointment is scheduled. PM software also provides billers with critical access to patient records and reports, which can be searched to address questions and fill in critical gaps in claims information. Such access greatly expedites the reimbursement process by minimizing the “back and forth” between practices and billing entities that can often result in costly delays.
Medical practice software can produce and send electronic bills and an e-commerce component allows providers to collect payments online. The software can even proactively identify claim errors that could potentially delay payment so that proactive measures can be taken.
5. Enhanced Documentation and Fewer Errors
As healthcare technology evolves, digital systems for medical documentation have become the norm. This transition to paperless record keeping combined with a growing emphasis on documentation – both within Medicare standards and insurance practices – has established appropriate documentation as a priority within all claims and billing processes.
Enhanced documentation is a key benefit of practice management software, as the technology provides a standardized system that effectively reduces errors compared to hand-written provider notes. Documentation can often be done via mobile device, such as a tablet, at the patient’s bedside or at the point of intervention. The ability to instantly document, chart or code further helps minimize errors that may otherwise occur when lags exist between the point of care and documentation.
6. Comprehensive, Turnkey Compliance Solution
Virtually every PMS solution is designed around healthcare mandates and regulatory requirements, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules, the HITECH Act and various provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Maintaining compliance is a constant priority for medical practices, and implementing medical practice software can help ensure that all facets of your clinic are in full compliance.
7. More Focus on Quality Care
By streamlining and automating processes and administrative tasks, medical management systems allow providers to focus on the most important factor in the care equation – the patient. The less practitioners have to worry about standard tasks and processes, the more time and energy they are able to devote to the patient, which in turn yields better outcomes and fosters an environment in which quality care – and not documentation, scheduling or various other considerations – is the top priority.
8. Advanced, Hassle-Free Scheduling
Practices nationwide can attest to the fact that practice management solutions take the pain out of scheduling both patients and staff. Intuitive scheduling and calendar tools allow medical personnel to input appointments and make calendar adjustments without fear of double-booking or scheduling during a time slot when a given provider is otherwise unavailable.
The scheduling module in many systems also includes alerts, such as patient balance due or authorization, which helps proactively address potential patient issues prior to the appointment and lessens the burden on front office staff.
9. More Accuracy and Better Error Reduction
Through the aforementioned billing and scheduling features, practices have the ability to quickly and easily update patient records and information. From direct links to update contact information in appointment reminder emails, to intuitive programming that auto-corrects erroneous entries by staff, medical software is a trusted tool to ensure patient information is accurate and up-to-date.
The fact that practice management systems are integrated with insurance and billing processes ensures that changes made in one system are reflected in the other components “talking to” the PMS as well.
10. More Versatile and Scalable Technology
As demonstrated by the aforementioned features and benefits, medical office software is equipped to manage a range of practice functions and challenges. In addition, the barriers to entry for implementing a PMS solution are few – generally all that is required is a networked system of computers and a reliable internet connection.
Medical management systems can be implemented in practices of all sizes – solutions are available for small, midsize and large offices alike. The technology is also scalable, as its storage and processing capabilities are not limited like a traditional, physical storage room. Systems exist capable of accommodating even the largest and most demanding practices with the help of massive databases and unlimited storage.
11. Improved Patient and Provider Satisfaction
It should come as no surprise that medical personnel view streamlined, reliable processes as an important benefit. Standardized workflows and automated features help providers work more efficiently and effectively, which in turn improves their overall satisfaction.
For patients, the ability for a physician to instantly access their records and make informed decisions with the benefit of their medical history at his or her fingertips is a key benefit and driver of patient satisfaction. Providers can also be certain that the renewed focus on quality care enabled by PMS software mentioned above is noted and appreciated by their patients.
12. Seamless EHR Integration
Any discussion around the benefits of a practice management system would be incomplete without mentioning electronic health record (EHR) integration. Practice management solutions can be effectively integrated into EHRs, allowing practices to consolidate virtually every function needed to manage the practice, its patients and providers under one system. An integrated solution provides a seamless user experience for both providers and office administrators.
As the U.S. healthcare system continues to evolve and practices of all sizes increasingly transition to value-based care models, the critical role of practice management systems in streamlining and coordinating efficient and effective care will continue to grow.
While the prospect of implementing a new technology solution and training staff on its various functions may be initially overwhelming for some, the benefits outlined above far outweigh the challenges associated with rolling out a PMS.
If your practice could benefit from standardized workflows, added efficiencies and proven methodologies designed with both HIPAA compliance and quality patient outcomes in mind, a practice management system is essential.
Proven Experience, Scalable Solutions
At RevenueXL, we know how beneficial medical practice management software can be for offices of all sizes. We designed PrognoCIS, our medical billing and practice management program, to make your care process simpler and more efficient than ever through custom workflows, intuitive user screens, scalable solutions and seamless integration.
The experienced team at RevenueXL can identify the “must have” features for your PM system and help you realize the benefits outlined above. Contact us today to schedule a live demo and discuss a custom solution for you practice.