Practice Management Software (PMS) has become the administrative core of many small and medium size medical practices. For most physicians, their choice of the type of Practice Management Software is based on their particular workflow needs and the data intensive areas in their practice. The software covers areas of your practice administration such as staff reports, patient billing, and services performed, as well as patient demographic and health record details. The PMS is also ideal to help staff by simplifying the processing of electronic insurance claims and appointment scheduling.
There are several Health Information Technology companies that make general and specialized software programs to fit each medical practice’s needs. There are a number of vendors, such as Allscripts, Leonardo-MD, Practice Fusion, Kareo and Future Health Software, just to name a few. The software packages that they provide can be custom integrated for complete functionality and ease of use. The best vendors are noted by their reviews and customer recommendations, but it is important for you to do your due diligence and have the software fully demonstrated before purchasing it.
Some vendors of PM software will provide all-in-one packages that cover all aspects that a medical practice would need to function smoothly. Often some vendors will provide a particular 3rd party software, which may be considered top-of-the-line, and integrate it with their own package. For example, if you feel your practice needs better medical records software than what your vendor normally supplies, then you can have that option given to you. Of course that 3rd party software might not run as efficiently because it is not perfectly integrated as the vendor’s original software package.
The Practice Management Software packages are linked to the EHR systems, so it is likely that if you are happy with your EHR vendor’s products then you will use the same vendor’s PMS. Sometimes the PM software data capture will overlap with the practice’s Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system, but mostly it is meant to capture data related to the physicians’ patients and the running of the office. There are three kinds of practice management software, each designed with the same purpose in mind, but made to run on either computer desktops, client servers, or directly over the Internet.
The advantages of the computer desktop include the security of having all the data kept in-house. If the physician’s practice is small, and the number of computers linked to the software is kept to a minimum, then the advantage is found in the cost savings. A smaller practice can mean smaller PMS expenditure. If the practice grows or expands, then the desktop version may need to be up-graded to a client-server or internet-based service.
For medium companies the PMS can be easily provided through a client-server. The ability to link numerous access points throughout the practice means that the staff can all share the same data and workload from multiple computers within the practice. The reliability of the client-server as well as the advanced security provided does offer some peace of mind, but the costs that are required to lease or outright buy the server equipment can be expensive.
The latest practice management software to be developed is now offered through an internet service. The internet-based software offers the practice more freedom, such as not needing to deal with or pay a client-server, and access from anywhere through any computer, but it does have a singular drawback concerning security. Physicians are aware that keeping private patient data on the internet-based service may not be the best idea, even with some high-level security assurances.
The accuracy and efficiency that PMS offers is a boon to medical practices which use them. The amount of collectable data, especially in the larger practices, is astronomical. It would be hard to imagine the amount of work and time spent to gather and organize the data without the help of a PMS. It is so very important to choose the right PMS for your practice because no matter what, it will help you save money and make money at every turn.