Medical Clinic Software: Essential Features and Differences

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The use of medical clinic software, also referred to as medical practice management software, has become increasingly popular throughout recent years. As health organizations look to become more efficient, medical clinic software vendors, too, are constantly adapting to meet this goal. Medical facilities use these solutions to streamline workflow, automate tedious tasks and provide greater quality healthcare.

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Medical Clinic Software Features

 

For both small family practices and big clinics alike, the benefits of a properly implemented medical clinic software solution cannot be understated. The ability to automate a number of your administrative and management tasks can completely change the way practices allocate their time and resources.

Inefficient time management is a big problem in the medical industry. One of the biggest struggles faced by healthcare professionals involves the ratio of time spent with patients — that it’s too low in comparison to the time spent dealing with administrative tasks. This is a trend that’s been consistent for the past 50 years and, until recently, there didn’t seem to be an easy solution.

Without an efficient and digitized system, it’s easy for clinics to get stuck in an endless cycle of paperwork that needs to be filled out, sorted, stored and handled by a staff of administrative employees. With the innovations in practice management software, this doesn’t have to be the case any longer.

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What Is Medical Clinic Software?

The main purpose of medical clinic software is to help clinics and medical practices efficiently handle their day-to-day operations.

Medical clinic software, otherwise known as medical practice management software or simply MPM, can completely change how medical organizations run their operations. It provides efficient solutions for billing, scheduling, outreach and reminders for patients. It also allows clinics to automate the numerous time-consuming tasks that otherwise require manual labor, saving precious time that used to be wasted.

In some instances, medical clinic software offers extensive features that go beyond the scheduling and revenue-cycle functions. They can incorporate electronic medical records (EMR) systems into the functionality.

The Difference Between Medical Clinic Software and EMR Systems

While electronic medical records (EMR software) systems are very connected with medical clinic software (they’re often provided by the same vendor, using the same patient data), they serve different functions at the medical facility.

To put it simply, EMR systems are used for clinical aspects of the practice, such as managing medical records. Medical clinic software, on the other hand, focuses on the administrative and day-to-day operations of the medical practice. Integrating the two can sometimes be challenging, as medical practices often require assistance by the vendors to ensure a smooth implementation of each solution.

With that being said, solutions that combine EMR and medical clinic software solutions are growing in popularity. Many EMR vendors now incorporate medical clinic software features, such as scheduling, medical billing, documentation and outreach, in combination with traditional EMR features, such as clinical documentation.

What Are the Essential Features of Medical Clinic Software?

Medical practice management software needs to have a wide range of features in order to satisfy the needs of today’s medical clinics. While there’s an abundance of software solutions available on the market, the provided functionality needs to match up well with the needs of the practice.

Carefully analyzing the core functions, as well as consulting on the process of implementation can help medical clinics make more informed decisions and reap the most benefits from these systems. While the ultimate goal of any medical clinic software is to reduce the time spent filling out paperwork and increase the time of patient interactions, there are many features that come with the best programs on the market.

Here are some of the top MPM software features that should be included in any comprehensive medical clinic software:

Scheduling

With the technology available today, it’s inexcusable for medical practices to continue wasting time by making appointments manually over the phone or at the front desk. Modern medical clinic software allows you to completely automate appointment scheduling tasks, making them as simple as pressing a few buttons.

Instead of having to rely on spreadsheets or paper records, medical clinics can have an all-in-one solution for all appointments. MPM can log new patient appointments according to the schedules of each doctor, maintain a history of all past appointments, send automated appointment reminders and follow-up with patients. The software can assign a patient with the correct physician, exam room and specialty equipment needed, preventing delays. Patients can also cancel or reschedule their appointments easily online.

Practicesuite Dashboard

 

This not only saves a lot of time, but can also significantly reduce expenses. Missed appointments can end up costing hundreds of billions of dollars to the U.S. healthcare system. With the help of medical clinic software, missed appointments can be reduced to a minimum.

  • Patient Appointment Scheduling
  • Appointment Reminders
  • Online Scheduling
  • Dynamic Scheduling
  • Color-Coded Calendar
  • Patient Intake Forms
  • Telehealth Appointments

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Billing/Payment

Most medical clinic software allows practices to efficiently handle all of their billing tasks in-house rather than outsourcing them. The system can quickly submit claims to payers, respond to rejections, collect and analyze data that helps evaluate fiscal numbers, and generate comprehensive reports.

One of the biggest and most robust tools involving billing/payment includes claims management. Insurance claims can be a very time-consuming task for medical administrators, and medical clinic software makes it much simpler. The system can help make the entire process run almost completely autonomously, freeing up a lot of time for other tasks such as properly answering patient questions or dealing with other administrative issues. Insurance claims can automatically be swept and scrubbed of any mistakes or coding errors which often lead to denied claims. This leads to higher first-time acceptance rates. In addition, claims can be tracked, and denied claims can be automatically resubmitted.

MPM software can check to make sure a patient’s insurance is eligible and verified beforehand. Tools are available to provide financial checks on patients as well as track balances. Many solutions will provide patients with options for payment plans as well.

A certified medical coder on staff may still be required in order to bill through the medical clinic software and comply with the numerous regulations. However, this is a far cheaper expense than completely outsourcing the billing process. Medical billing software can be purchased separately from your MPM. However, many solutions provide tools fully capable of managing billing and payment.

  • Insurance Verification
  • Claims Management
  • Paperless Claims
  • Automated Billing
  • Patient Statements
  • Credit Card Processing
  • Denial Management
  • Collections
  • Patient Financial Checks

Patient Information

One of the biggest advantages of MPM software, especially when considering a physician’s time, is the accessibility of patient records. Medical clinic software allows physicians to easily access patient information such as medical history, medications, diagnoses, allergies and more. Rather than having to sift through paperwork to find a patient’s record (if it even exists), users can access this sensitive information with the click of a button.

These systems also capture personal information such as a patient’s name, address, contact information and insurance details. By giving physicians access to a patient’s entire medical history, less time is spent on background questions, allowing for more focus to be placed toward providing treatment. If a patient switches providers, for whatever reason, their medical information can easily follow them, enabling each clinician across a patient’s medical spectrum to connect and share up-to-date, accurate data with one another.

Intergy EHR Dashboard

Patients can update their personal information online in addition to viewing lab results, requesting prescription refills and communicating with their physician. Additionally, education materials and preventative guidelines are often provided for patients, allowing them to play a bigger role in their overall healthcare and treatment process.

  • Patient Demographics
  • Patient Portal
  • Medical History
  • MPI (Master Patient Index)
  • Medication Lists
  • Insurance Information
  • Allergy Lists
  • Lab/Imaging Results

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Reporting

The ability to quickly generate and store reports in one place makes it easy to ensure good communication between the clinic, its patients and insurance companies. The leading medical clinic software systems have comprehensive reporting functionality. Users can use pre-made reports or create their own, compiling administrative data and patient information into convenient, easy-to-read reports.

Reporting allows your staff members to extract data on financial performance and a patient’s financial history to identify performance gaps and trends as well as make financial estimates.

Many MPM solutions come with built-in reports in addition to enabling users to create their own customized reports. The user-friendly dashboard lets data to be easily-interpreted through visualizations such as graphs and charts.

  • Custom Reports
  • Built-In Templates
  • Ad-Hoc Reports
  • Physician Dashboard

Inventory Management

Inventory management in medical clinics can be a complicated process. Making sure that numerous supplies, such as durable medical equipment (DME) or pharmaceutical samples, are in stock and conveniently stored can be a challenge. Medical clinic software can streamline the process by providing an efficient way to track inventory orders, manage inventory storage and generate comprehensive reports — all without the need for manual data entry.

With easy-to-use barcode-scanning equipment, clinics can significantly reduce the time and number of people required for inventory management.

The cost containment features of the software allow tracking inventory from purchase order to the delivery to the patient. This provides valuable data, helping make more accurate cost-per-patient predictions.

Communication

An increasingly popular feature regarding health clinic software revolves around patient-physician communication. For patients, communication tools include instant messaging, phone appointments and automatic reminders for check-ups or preventative care visits. As more and more patients demand increased communication with their physicians, healthcare organizations have to do their best to meet this need.

Practice Fusion Dashboard

More recently, telehealth appointments are becoming more and more common. Think about it: Why would you schedule an in-office appointment with a physician just to ask for a prescription refill? This not only wastes the patients time, but it wastes the time of healthcare providers as well. Physicians are able to accomplish many more minor patient tasks by doing so electronically or over the phone.

  • E-Prescribing
  • Online Patient Check-In
  • Patient Communication
  • Electronic Fax Function
  • Internal Messaging
  • Notifications and Reminders
  • Video Chats

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Top Practice Management Software Vendors

We’ve created a list of the best PM software options to help you in your search. Let’s break down those options:

NextGen Healthcare

NextGen provides in-depth practice management focused on improving the patient experience. It easily integrates with Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems and can be used from any device. The solution provides several functions: scheduling, claims submissions, front-and-back office administration and patient collections.

Centricity Practice Solution

Centricity focuses on creating a healthcare experience that is personalized to each patient’s needs. They specialize in ambulatory clinics and offer on-premise or cloud deployment. Key features include appointment management, E-prescribing, health analytics, billing management and a self service portal.

Kareo

Kareo was created for independent practices and medical specialties. Cloud deployment makes it so you can use the system anywhere you have internet access. It is used to manage scheduling, submitting claims, billing and payment, revenue, and more.

CureMD

CureMD offers a multitude of functionalities for users and integrates with their EHR system. A customizable dashboard offers several capabilities: scheduling, billing, point of sale, E-messaging, denial management, document management, collections and eligibility. It allows you to book appointments online, speed up the check-in process, send texts to patients to confirm appointments and more.

NueMD

NueMD is a robust, cloud-based PM software. It handles billing, patient registration, patient scheduling, reimbursement management, patient statement, claim scrubbing, reporting and analysis. Updating patient details such as their billing history is made very simple with this solution.

AdvancedMD

AdvancedMD offers front office software, billing software, claims management, scheduling software and reporting software. The system is designed to maximize revenue while improving provider performance.

eClinicalWorks

eClinicalWorks is an EHR system with solutions for clinical documentation, practice management, patient engagement and more. This solution is particularly helpful with billing and they offer separate solutions for practices and hospitals.

drChrono

drChrono is an EHR system that offers an end-to-end practice management solution. They aim to help run a patient-first practice and offer a patient portal which offers online scheduling, appointment reminders, and more. The system also supplies you with the tools to drive profitability and customize your app with their APIs.

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Wrapping Up

Medical clinic software, or MPM, is used by healthcare organizations of various sizes and specialties to improve their operational efficiency and provide higher quality patient care. These solutions help organizations manage their administrative tasks, allowing physicians to focus more of their energy on dealing with patients. While an MPM isn’t a necessity, facilities who choose not to implement these systems can expect to fall behind.

Knowing what tools you do and don’t need is the first step toward increasing your organization’s productivity. Remember, every health organization is different, as is every practice management solution. Determining your unique needs and wants prior to your selection process is vital.

Still have any questions relating to medical clinic software? How has your organization benefited from the implementation of these systems? Let us know below.

Madeline ReinboltMedical Clinic Software: Essential Features and Differences

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  • Steele Honda - June 5, 2019 reply

    I like that you said that carefully analyzing the core functions can help medical clinics make more informed decisions and reap the most benefits from software systems. I think that would also help a medical clinic choose the right phone system as well which I think would be important to have along with the right software system. I think having those two things would help make sure that your medical clinic would run smoothly and that patients could be taken care of correctly.

    Evan Heier - June 17, 2019 reply

    Thanks for the response. I agree, daily operations and patient treatment can both improve if have all the functions necessary for your specific health organization.

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