Medical practice management (MPM) software is designed to streamline the day-to-day tasks of operating a medical facility. These software systems give doctors and medical practitioners access to various records, including: patient billing information, appointment schedules, office reports, and insurance claims and statements. A wide range of medical professionals can benefit from medical practice management software, including hospital workers, independent practitioners, emergency room doctors, and specialty medical providers.
Not to be confused with…
While comprehensive medical practice management software is designed to handle all back office and administrative functions at a medical facility, there are some stand-alone applications commonly mistaken for an MPM:
- Medical scheduling software coordinates appointment and office schedules for doctors, patients, and staff.
- Medical billing software covers patient billing activities and insurance claims processes.
- Electronic medical records (EMR) software automates the clinical side of a medical facility. Specifically, it maintains patient records such as allergies, medical history, immunizations, charts, prescriptions, and more.
While the first two examples are commonly included in an MPM system, EMR software (also referred to as electronic health record or EHR software) is usually independent and integrates with the facility’s practice management software. While the MPM handles the back-office and administrative activities, the EMR tracks patient medical data.
Note: The Federal Government has mandated that all medical facilities adopt an EMR by 2014. If your practice has already purchased an EMR, look for an MPM that will interface well with your existing system. If you are considering purchasing both systems for your practice, it may be simpler to implement a system that includes EMR and MPM rather than two separate systems.
What features are included in Medical Practice Management Software?
The ultimate goal of MPM software is to reduce the time a doctor spends on paperwork so that he or she can spend more time with patients. As such, medical practice management solutions often include functionality to assist with these common medical administrative tasks:
- Patient Billing: Medical practice management solutions can assist with preparing patient billing statements, sending electronic bills, and collecting and processing payments. On top of this, many solutions integrate both customer billing and employee payroll in the system.
- Appointment Scheduling: Instead of using a paper calendar or Excel spreadsheet, many medical practices use software to better organize their appointment schedules. Not only does MPM software log new patient appointments, but it can track doctors’ schedules, monitor appointment history, and even send automated appointment reminders and follow-up notices to patients.
- Patient Registration: New patients typically fill out a form or questionnaire with demographic information about themselves including their address, insurance information, and contact info. Medical practice management software allows office administrators to enter and store that in the system. In some cases, patient information can also be transferred from to an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system or to the patient’s insurance company for verification.
- Reporting and Document Management: Because medical facilities often have a large amount of paper documentation, MPM solutions include functionality to help organize and manage all that paperwork. Doctors can scan patient prescriptions, bill payments and other documents into the system. Most systems also allow admins to pull comprehensive reports to better track office-wide activities.
- Claims Management: Before medical practitioners submit insurance claims for services rendered, they can use an MPM system to scrub and edit the data to ensure that it meets national insurance claim standards. They can also use the software to submit claims electronically, check claims status in real-time, verify benefits information, and track overdue claims. Note: HIPAA-compliant solutions can also help speed up insurance claim reimbursements because they are pre-approved by the insurance providers.
- Inventory Management: Stocking and distributing medical inventory takes a lot of time, but MPM software can streamline the process. Tracking inventory orders, assessing inventory and supply levels, and managing inventory storage is all streamlined with MPM. You’ll also be able to generate inventory reports, eliminating manual data entry, and track items dispensed to patients.
Here are other features that may be included in an MPM:
- Multi-physician capabilities
- Electronic medical records or HL7 bridge (interface)
- HIPAA compliance
- Transcription capabilities
- Medical specialty-related features
- Prescription writing
- Clinical claim scrubber
- Mobile access
- Inventory management
- Medical supplies control
- Online code sets
- Reality value units (RVU) calculations
- Payer contracts analysis