Medical Practice Management Software Buyer's Guide
The Best Medical Practice Management Software is All About Centralization
By: Bergen Adair, Market Research Associate
Medical practitioners and staff want to spend their days healing the sick and the injured — not filling out forms, scheduling patients or worrying about billing. Medical practice management software (aka practice management or PM) is the foundation on which a successful medical practice is built. Without accurate billing, scheduling, reminders and outreach functionality, a healthcare facility cannot run at maximum efficiency or successfully treat a full population of patients. In the most recent iterations of practice management applications, vendors have expanded functionalities to offer a complete suite of everything a medical practice needs in a single system.
- Medical practice management software combines scheduling, charting and billing in a single interface
- PM helps reduce physician burnout and manage population health
- The basic features to look for in a PM solution are EHR/EMR integration, scheduling, billing and population health management
- Choosing the right PM system for your practice involves requirements gathering, peer review, shortlisting and vetting
What This Guide Covers
See how the top 10 Medical Practice leaders fare against the most common key requirements
Benefits of Medical Practice Management Software
The best practice management software will help medical practices manage their time and patient flow in an orderly manner. By combining scheduling, charting and billing functionality, users don’t have to bounce between programs to perform necessary tasks. This not only improves efficiency — which equals money in your practice’s pocket — it also helps reduce burnout and frustration from users. When your practice staff is happy, they can do their job keeping your patient population healthy.
What is Population Health and Why Does it Matter to Practice Management?
Population health is an emerging concept wherein the care of patients is managed by a provider, group or health system in a more multi-faceted and comprehensive way. Commonly, population health is seen as managing patients outside of the clinical moments where they are present with a healthcare provider.
Compensation models from government (Medicare, Medicaid) and commercial payers are adapting to the population health model. The compensation for providers is now moving towards outcome-based and standards-based reporting on the management of patients, regardless of the number of times a patient has been seen. This is dynamically different from the traditional model of providers charging for each visit to a clinic by a patient regardless of their chronic disease or other identifying factors. With the growth of population health, new tools are required to ensure patient care is effectively coordinated and providers monitor quality and utilization benchmarks.
A new practice management application should be able to support population health activities and goals. PM systems offer a variety of tools and support to ensure patients are adequately identified, billed and scheduled for routine and acute moments of care.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top Medical Practice Management Software
Medical Practice Management Implementation Goals
Move Away from Paper Records
|The charting features of an EMR, EHR or PM offer a pretty simple goal: transfer from paper records to digital ones. This helps practices be more organized, as digital records can be searched and stored in a fraction of the space that paper files require. PMs are also more environmentally sustainable, as they don’t use paper. The best practice management systems improve the ability of your practice to communicate and integrate with other practices and hospitals, streamlining patient care across providers.|
|Speaking of communicating with other practices, improving communication in the medical world is a huge bonus of practice management systems. The old joke that doctors have the worst handwriting of any profession is well known for a reason, and eliminating pharmacy errors and miscommunications due to illegible handwriting is just one of many medical practice management software benefits. PM solutions can also make it easier to communicate with other providers such as hospitals and specialty practices, offering a more complete understanding of a patient’s medical record.|
Streamline Staff Workflows
|Whether a patient is booking an appointment online or a physician is taking notes on an encounter, your practice staff shouldn’t have to bounce around between systems to get it done. Because EHRs and EMRs are somewhat notorious for integrating poorly with other systems, getting a practice management system that offers everything in one package can eliminate integration headaches.|
Improve Patient Care
|At the end of the day, patient care is the end-game for medical practices, and practice management helps achieve this in a variety of ways. PM systems help reduce wait times in the lobby and allow patients to schedule their own appointments online — and who doesn’t want to get in and out of the doctor’s office faster? Patients can also access their records via a patient portal, giving them insights into their treatment and forming a partnership between care providers and patients.|
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top Medical Practice Management Software
Top Practice Management Software Features and Functionality
PM systems offer everything from basic clinical documentation to paperless check-in solutions. Because of the expansive breadth of offerings that now seem commonplace, clinical practices and providers in search of medical management software must evaluate these applications by identifying the key needs of their practice. Looking primarily at the core offerings of the application, such as the provider comfort, usability and reliability, you can select a system that is right for your unique practice.
|Patient Scheduling||Important to the selection of a new practice management application is the ability to accurately and adequately schedule, bill and identify patients who are covered by a contract with shared savings opportunities. This includes patients who are covered by government-subsidized health insurance (Medicare, Medicaid), those who have elected to purchase supplemental insurance (Medicare Advantage) as well as those who are on commercial insurance that has value-based care components.|
|Billing Modules||Accurate billing features are a vital aspect of a practice management application. The International Classification of Diseases, version 10 (ICD-10) was rolled out in the United States in 2016, and it is imperative that your practice management systems support billing ICD-10 codes. More and more payers, including Medicare/Medicaid (CMS), are offering value/risk-based contracts that must meet specific requirements in order to be eligible for shared savings and enhanced payments.|
|EMR/EHR Integration||Many PM systems are now offered by EMR companies. This offering of a unified solution provides one base for scheduling, coding, billing, clinical documentation, EMR functionality, registry creation and patient outreach. However, in many cases, a combined EMR/PM system may not be truly integrated because the original code base of the applications could have been produced by separate organizations and then merged through acquisition or strategic partnership. Providers must be thoughtful about which PM system they select and whether or not to choose a combined PM/EMR solution.|
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top Medical Practice Management Software
Advanced Features of Practice Management Software
Increasingly, practice management applications have built out more capabilities focused on population health that aim to enhance a provider’s revenue and their ability to treat more patients successfully. As the US healthcare market pivots to a value-based payment model, in lieu of the traditional fee-for-service model, new opportunities are now available to ensure that revenue opportunities are maximized and the coordination of care for patients is shared both within and outside the confines of the physical clinical location.
|Population Health Monitoring||A new practice management application should be able to support population health activities and goals with a variety of tools and support to ensure patients are adequately identified, billed and scheduled for routine and acute moments of care.|
|Insurance Eligibility Verification||In order to effectively decrease days in accounts receivable and improve cash flow, it is imperative that practices have the ability to verify a patient’s insurance eligibility before the patient is seen. practice management systems allow clinical staff to verify insurance eligibility for either a flat monthly fee or billed by transaction. Insurance eligibility checks should be completed in real time and the output should be easy to read and understand to ensure there is no ambiguity for reception or billing staff.|
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top Medical Practice Management Software
The Software Selection Process
Finding the right PM application is driven by understanding the specific features that are required to ensure a clinic runs smoothly. There is no one-size-fits-all product, and choosing the best medical practice management software for your organization will require a combination of identifying your needs, seeking guidance from peers and shortlisting vendors.
Look to local organizations and groups that best represent similar interests like HIMSS, MGMA, AHIMA, or a specialty-specific local or regional organization to learn more about efficient PM applications. These organizations should offer relevant advice about how to maximize the efficiency of your processes, which may depend on your size, ownership makeup, specialty and other factors. Once specific areas of improvement have been identified, engage with the resources within the organization that are responsible for those areas. Begin by identifying goals for this technological and operational investment.
Properly structuring the selection process for an upgraded or new practice management system is important to keep priorities in line, timelines and budgetary constraints in check, and to ensure all important considerations are addressed during the process. Below are six steps to help you select the best medical practice software for your organization.
Step 1: Identify Key Stakeholders to the PM Selection Process
Medical practice management solutions are critical to practice operations and the financial success of the clinic. Moreover, there are significant aspects of risk and fraud that need to be considered. Due to the nature of this acquisition, it is imperative to identify key personnel from all areas of clinical and financial operations and include them in the vetting and decision-making process.
Step 2: Assess Existing Workflow and Revenue Cycle Features
The identified team for this project should prepare for the selection process by evaluating, assessing and studying the current workflow and revenue cycle process for the clinic. Understand the features and functionality that are currently in use, the processes that appear outdated or inefficient, and the areas that could benefit from automation or attention.
Record and understand all current practice management expenses. How much does it currently cost to code, bill, adjudicate and report on expenses and overhead? What do you pay for scheduling software, coding/billing software, and personnel? And, what metrics are being used to effectively evaluate the success and efficiency of current practices?
Step 3: Identify Desirable Features
After evaluating the workflow and current operations, determine if there are completely new functionality or feature sets that would be of interest or value to your operations. Most likely, new PM applications are available with a host of new and different features than what is currently in use today at your location(s). Without consideration of vendor, identify the features that are of interest to you. Remember to consider other resources and personnel as well, including the patient, as to what would make the experience of engaging with the clinic most valuable. Consider hosting a brainstorming session and identify ways to engage your entire staff to gain a wide variety of perspectives into what works and what doesn’t.
Step 4: Identify and Compare PM Systems
Identifying potential PM partners can be accomplished in a number of ways. Depending on your organization’s relationship to complementary or community resources, it may be most beneficial to catalog the vendors and products currently in use by your peers and identify the most highly respected and successful PM systems in use in your networks. As well, issuing a Request-for-Proposal (RFP) will garner attention from interested vendors to submit their bids and information regarding products that could suit your needs.
It is important to include all of the identified needs from Stage 3 as part of any RFP you publish. It is also worthwhile to ask your shortlisted vendors for a trial or demo to preview the software functionality for yourself and have your staff take it on a test run. If the system can’t perform the tasks you need it to during the demo, you can be fairly certain it won’t be the right solution for your practice.
Step 5: Compare a list of Medical Practice Management Software Vendors and Conduct Demonstrations and Site Visits
Create a formal RFP that outlines your specific requirements for a new PM solution. Include specific information vendors will need from your practice that reflects the workflow you currently or ideally would like to create. Require vendors to detail the functionalities and features of their product in direct support of the ideal workflow and to include pricing information. Also, request to see examples of the vendor’s work and a list of at least three references that you can call. Do additional research on these firms’ reputations and ability to deliver their work on time, within budget and as promised.
Step 6: Final Selection and Contracting
After a thorough review of all supporting documentation from the vendors, weigh each product's system features vs costs and make a selection that will yield the most benefits. Make sure your contract with the selected vendor is thoroughly vetted by a legal team to protect you and ensure the product will be delivered as intended. Then, begin to implement the new system with a thorough plan for employee training and reap the rewards of improved efficiency and functionality.
Expert recommendations and analysis on the top Medical Practice Management Software
The process can seem daunting, but getting the right all-in-one practice management tool is a crucial step in making your practice the best it can be. This medical practice management software comparison can be used as a jumping-off point to guide your decision-making. And don’t forget that although patient care is the ultimate goal of medical practices, it isn’t always the utmost concern of medical software vendors. Bringing the search back to the core goal of improving your patient care will help keep you headed in the right direction!
Optum (formerly known as OptumInsight) is a solution designed to help health organizations manage their clinical and administrative tasks. With features to help with scheduling, prescribing, billing and more, a variety of practices use it to streamline workflow, provide greater care and increase their overall revenue.It allows healthcare professionals to spend more time focusing on patients and less time dealing with time-consuming clerical tasks. Patients and physicians are able to communicate with one another, access medical information online and more.
Nextech enables specialty practices to automate and streamline administrative processes and workflows. It aims to drive productivity and revenue while abiding by compliance laws and enhancing the patient experience.It offers several solutions, including EMR, practice management, revenue cycle management (RCM), patient engagement and compliance.
Serving nearly one million medical professionals around the globe, eClinicalWorks is a popular EHR system with solutions for clinical documentation, practice management, patient engagement and more. Medical practices rely on eClinicalWorks to help perform tasks like scheduling, revenue management, and data analytics.Like similar software, eClinicalWorks offers medical charting and documentation to eliminate the need for hand-written documentation. Healthcare organizations are using eClinicalWorks to increase their revenue as well as their quality of treatment and service.
AthenaHealth is a set of fully-featured suites designed for healthcare organizations to improve workflows and increase the quality of care they provide. A number of medical facilities use these to help with scheduling, billing, revenue management and more, but also take advantage of its charting and medical capabilities. It’s cloud-based, offering robust deployment models and enhanced flexibility with a mobile app that keeps clinicians agile.Best suited to clinics of any size, it comes feature packed. These allow clinicians and other health providers to focus primarily on patient care and treatment without compromising clinical efficiency or productivity. Patients can use them to communicate with their physicians and take more control over their care, providing the tools clinicians need to get the job done.
DrChrono is a platform for organizations ranging from smaller ambulatory clinics to larger hospitals to enterprises. It includes configurable medical forms, e-prescribing, scheduling, and more with access to over 40,000 labs. Organizations can use it to manage every aspect of their patient intake to streamline everyday operations and focus on quality healthcare.
CareCloud Central is software used by health organizations to track, manage and optimize financial as well as administrative processes. Medical practices of all sizes use this solution to manage their workflows and optimize the completion of daily tasks. It handles a variety of common and time-consuming tasks to save physicians time and money. By streamlining these operations, health facilities are able to increase their daily traffic while providing greater care and a better patient experience.
InSync is used by ambulatory health organizations of all sizes, from smaller clinics to larger, multi-location facilities. A variety of medical specialty practices use this to streamline their operations, such as behavioral health, substance abuse, OB/GYN, pediatrics, physical therapy and more.Health professionals use it to speed up the process of charting and documenting patient information while ensuring such data is accurate and up-to-date. It allows physicians to increase the number of patients they are able to treat per day without sacrificing quality care in the process.
ICANotes enables users to take simple, comprehensive notes. It’s built for behavioral health specialists, clinicians and back-office managers to integrate easily into a user’s workflow and deploy just as fast. It’s ideal for practices of any size and budget is hardware and software agnostic and facilitates a paperless practice through its digital note-taking and billing tools.
Azalea health is used by a variety of health organizations, from ambulatory clinics and rural health facilities to larger hospitals and health systems. It is used to streamline operations and increase the quality of care provided while raising revenue as well.This is used by health professionals to deal with scheduling, remote treatment, patient communication and more. Its interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, allowing physicians to access everything they need with just one simple screen.
CentralReach is a single one-stop solution to organize all practice requirements from scheduling to billing to authorization and claims management. It increases the productivity of the practice by bringing all the ABA critical workflows in one place. It has different offerings tailor-made for new and small practices and large and multi-site practices. It is specifically designed for behavioral health, speech therapy, speech therapy, multi-specialty and PK-12 education industries.
RXNT is a cloud-based healthcare solution provider, which was recognized on the annual Inc. Magazine’s list of America’s fastest growing private companies. It offers a full suite of capabilities such as practice management, health records, e-prescribing, patient engagement and billing for physicians and medical billing professionals. It has been designed for time-starved medical professionals as it allows them to handle clinical and practice activities quickly and easily from the iOS and Android apps on mobile devices. The support team is US based and can be contacted via phone, email and online chat.
CureMD EHR handles a number of a healthcare facility’s administrative and clinical tasks, from appointment scheduling and patient documentation all the way through the billing and payment process. This cloud-based solution is suitable for a variety of healthcare organizations and specialties of all sizes. Health facilities can easily access and update a patient’s medical information as well as automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks. All of this works to help a practice increase revenue while providing more quality health care.
EMDs provides healthcare-centered technology to doctors, nurses, administrators and caseworkers. It can help clinicians, therapists and caseworkers track their patients across different medical institutions, as well as provide a comprehensive overview of important clinical history.Aprima EHR (recently acquired in 2019) comprises the backbone Its parent company’s EHR offering. It’s got a single database to simplify healthcare administration and provides a flexible deployment model — cloud-based, hybrid, or on-premise.
PrognoCIS provides both cloud-based and locally hosted systems. It enables general medical practices and ambulatory specialty medical care settings. It has customizable templates, allowing physicians to modify their workflow according to their requirements.It is compatible with all devices and includes telemedicine, Medical Credentialing, e-faxing and texting. It seamlessly integrates with PrognoCIS EHR and allows for quick and easy billing management.
Centricity is a software solution by Virence Health designed for ambulatory medical practices. Aims to yield health care that is personalized to each patient’s needs in order to provide more quality treatment and better patient outcomes.A variety of ambulatory clinics use the Centricity practice solution to streamline day-to-day operations and increase revenue. Supported specialties include breast health, cardiology, neurology, ICU, oncology, electrophysiology and more.
Centricity Practice Solution is a highly usable and exceptionally customizable solution for ambulatory practices. The Centricity EMR module enables you to practice medicine your own way and helps you tackle industry change head on. Put the power of Centricity technology, along with the exceptional service from Quatris Healthco, to work for your practice today.On its own, or paired with Centricity Practice Management, Centricity EMR is a powerful solution for your practice.
Based in the cloud, Prime Suite EHR provides electronic healthcare services to clinicians and other specialists. The company features a full suite of practice management, analytics, public service and EHR technologies, enabling users to handle large volumes of patients and growing practices. It’s ideal for practices of all sizes, and because it’s based in the cloud, it’s hardware agnostic.
WRS Health offers an integrated web-based solution for medical practices. It streamlines clinical, business and patient workflows, allowing doctors and other medical professionals to focus on patient care. It provides customized billing, transcription, bookkeeping and clinical compliance services. It comes pre-loaded with templates for different medical specialties. Initial visits and follow-ups are enabled by content organization and workflow. It has a six-tier EHR content module that has disease templates and global visit templates. It has customizable electronic superbill with ICD/CPT codes for every discipline.
Meditab by IMS is a medical specialist tool built around charting, billing and scheduling. Tailored to fit 40 plus areas of medical specialization, it’s a deployment-flexible option for practitioners seeking the total package when it comes to patient experience and medical charting.It is dually certified and meets the needs of federally qualified health centers and ambulatory practices. It has local professional implementation, training and support services.
Kareo Billing is a software system designed for independent practices and medical specialties. Health organizations use this particular solution to help build relationships with patients while providing the highest quality of care.A wide range of specialty clinics use this system to handle daily operations such as scheduling, managing claims, billing and payment, revenue management, and more. Over 60 million secure patient records are currently managed using this platform, and that number is growing.
Zoobook is a solution specially designed for addiction and mental health treatment facilities of all types, including inpatient, detox, outpatient and residential. It helps medical facilities increase their revenue, reduce their expenses and improve clinical outcomes. It is structured around boosting counselor productivity, patient attendance and retention and increasing referrals. It helps establishments increase customer satisfaction, thus receiving more revenue and achieving competitive advantages. It also helps businesses comply with industry regulations and audits by ensuring that they follow documentation guidelines.
Harmony Medical is a medical records software that physicians and administrators use to deliver patient care and receive compensation. It has an advanced interoperability module that is customizable to meet the practice’s unique needs. It is advanced, easy-to-use and provides data security. It can be integrated with other medical suites or used in a standalone environment.
Practice Fusion is an ambulatory solution used by smaller, specialized health clinics to handle a variety of tasks such as charting, scheduling, medication prescribing, labs and imaging, revenue management, and more. It delivers care to over 5 million patients each month and enables medical practices to boost efficiency and overall revenue.
Allscripts is a practice management solution for healthcare organizations of nearly every size and specialty, from smaller, ambulatory practices to larger hospital systems with multiple departments. Health facilities use Allscripts to help with clerical and administrative work as well as the day-to-day operations.Health organizations using Allscripts have noticed an increase in their revenue and traffic. Staff can use Allscripts to manage appointments, schedule staff, and manage billing and payment information. Patient information such as demographics, appointment history and patient notes can also be accessed online.
Clinicient offers a customizable, flexible occupational speech and physical therapy EMR and billing software. It is an integrated web-based EMR for outpatient rehabilitation therapy practices that offers services like patient registration, scheduling, medical recording and documentation and billing solutions.It lets users manage end-to-end clinical operations in one place. Beyond this, it allows for personalized user profiles. It lets the practice spend less time charting and more time paying attention to the needs of the patients.
NextGen Healthcare provides practice management solutions that support a patient-centric revenue cycle, enabling practices of all sizes to succeed in today's complex healthcare climate. Our real-time clinical and administrative workflows help reduce physician burnout and achieve value-based reimbursement goals. Available on any device or platform, our powerful functionality helps automate registration, appointments, medical billing, claims processing, and reporting.
McKesson is a global leader in healthcare management solutions, healthcare technology, specialty care, retail pharmacy and community oncology. It partners with medical supply manufacturers and providers, pharmacies, governments and bio-medical companies to provide medical, surgical and pharmacological supplies. Beyond this, it helps community specialty practices increase profits, improve patient care and boost productivity. It helps increase efficiency and improves patient care times. McKesson has invested over $1.5 billion in partnering with and acquiring physicians to give opportunities to the business to grow. It supports independent physicians, solo practices and medical practices.
NueMD Practice Management software can help a practice deal with revenue cycles, build efficient internal practices, and more. This medical practice management software works independently as a part of an office's IT infrastructure, and streamlines operations with a web-based medical billing model allowing doctors and administrators a free hand for other kinds of work.
TherapyNotes is a cloud-based solution specifically tailored for behavioral and mental health facilities. Treatment centers of all sizes rely on it to automate tasks, streamline daily operations and optimize workflows to improve the quality of healthcare with accurate documentation. Key features include billing, electronic health records, a calendar and a client portal.
Valant is designed specifically for mental health practices to help manage operations and streamline workflow. Behavioral health clinics, agencies and clinicians use it to help provide greater quality care and improve outcomes.Healthcare professionals use this to increase their productivity and efficiency, saving time without sacrificing quality treatment. It automates tasks and provides physicians with analytics and insights in real time with the click of a button.
CareLogic is a cloud-based electronic health record system designed for mental health organizations. It is configurable and empowers healthcare service providers with a suite of clinical, administrative and financial capabilities. It takes care of scheduling, treatment planning, service documentation, e-prescribing, consumer engagement, billing and analytics. It goes beyond documentation to cause better client outcomes with the help of clinical inclusions designed to extend the reach and depth of service. It also increases staff efficiency as it is integrable with their workflows.
When it comes to medical treatment, no two doctors are exactly alike. Praxis EMR focuses on this concept to provide a solution that can learn from its users, allowing each physician to practice medicine uniquely and in a way that makes sense to them personally. While many other systems swear by templates, Praxis is quite the opposite. The company embodies the idea that templates are a waste of time and only lead to more mistakes. This is why the program uses artificial intelligence to learn from users. This allows physicians to practice with their unique needs at top of mind rather than limiting their expertise to what’s included in a built-in template. For this reason, the system has consistently been a market leader when it comes to EHR user satisfaction.
hCue is an offline and cloud-based integrated healthcare platform to manage medical records and doctor appointments. It streamlines and manages clinical workflows to boost the efficiency of clinics. It also has a Doctor Appointment family module, thus connecting patients and doctors. It manages doctor appointments, stores critical patient data and connects pharmacies, hospitals and laboratories. The suite comprises EMR, EHR, Clinic Management and Pharmacy Management. It gives doctors an online profile to build their online brand. It integrates with hCue Payments to receive payments for appointments. Its pharmacy management division is AI driven and it helps keep inventory levels low and reduces working capital requirements.
PatientClick is a cloud-based multi-platform suite with an easy to use interface, patient portal and customizable dashboards to manage administrative work and patient care. It supports telemedicine, e-Rx, patient portals, patient scheduling and more. It can be customized to fit the requirements of multi-practice specialties of all sizes, including internal medicine, gynecology, neurology, orthopedics and more. It also offers multi-provider and secure communication tools.
EHR Your Way serves practices and hospitals of any size and can be tailored to fit any general or specific need. It’s full-spectrum, covering practice needs from EHR charting to practice management for professionals working in the behavioral and physical health fields.
Pricing & Cost Guide for Medical Practice Management Software
See the Price/User for the top Medical Practice Management Software… plus the most important considerations and questions to ask when shopping for Medical Practice Management Software
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