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Practice Management Software Explained
Practice management (PM) software is a category of software that handles the daily operations of a medical practice. It allows users to enter and track patients, capture patient demographics, schedule appointments, maintain lists of insurance payers, process insurance, patient and third party payments, perform billing collection tasks, and generate reports for the administrative and clinical staff of the practice. Typically, using practice management software also allows for easy storage of large sets of data including lists of diagnosis and procedures, lists of insurance companies, referring physicians, providers, and facilities. Medical practices and offices benefit greatly from the implementation of practice management software through improved efficiency, the elimination of paper files and overflow, more proficient workflow and reducing the overall carbon footprint generated from outdated administrative practices.
Practice management software is often confused with electronic medical records (EMRs) systems. While some of the actual information in a PM system and an EMR may overlap, like patient and provider data, in general the EMR system is used for clinical matters, while the PM system is utilized for administrative and financial matters.
Practice management software begins by capturing demographics as a new patientís information is entered, and continues to populate with vital information as the patientís history is created. Practice staff manually enters any information that their particular software does not automatically capture. Some practice management systems, like e-MDs, have the ability to automatically verify the patientís eligibility for receiving benefits from their insurance company by linking to a clearinghouse using an electronic data interchange connection.
Another useful component is the appointment and calendaring schedules that allows staff to create and track all past, present and future patient visits. PM softwares can be differentiated by the options provided via its scheduling model: whether it allows double-booking through a booking model; or if its scheduling model has a color-coded feature that allows healthcare providers to conveniently block off and identify times for patients, breaks, out-of-office, etcÖ
One of the elements to explore when selecting a PM system, that will have the greatest impact on your time and money savings, is how proficiently it processes claims and statements. After a patient visit, the PM system sets up charges. Most charges are entered using a Health Care Procedure Coding System (HCPCS), or its subset, the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT). Diagnoses are indicated using International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes. Using an automated software process electronic claims are submitted either directly to the insurance payer or through an electronic claims clearinghouse. Once a claim is adjudicated, an Electronic Remittance Advice (ERA) is submitted to the payer. Practice management software also contains ways to print and mail a practiceís statements and may contain a way to interface with third-party patient statement printing companies.
The process of running a medical practice requires some introspection, and practice management software contains efficient reporting capabilities. This allows users to extract detailed data on financial performance and history. Most PM systems have both pre-set reports, as well as a custom design feature.
The future of the healthcare industry relies on technologies like practice management software to efficiently manage any medical practice. e-MDs offers a host of affordable solutions for physicians and facilities looking to modernize or enhance their administrative and financial systems with the latest practice management software technology. e-MDs is committed to providing operational solutions and delivering the clinical tools needed to succeed in todayís medical field.
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