Medical billing software can be critical for upgrading your business, standardizing procedures, and training employees about the billing process. It’s an important investment, and one that you shouldn’t make without fully considering the exact needs for your business. There are multiple popular software programs available today, each with different offerings and features.
Benefits of Billing Software
When you make an educated decision about your billing software, it can save time, help employees track tasks, procedures, and payments, and give you a broader picture of where your business is at with regard to claims. Analyzing this information, which is readily presented in most software programs, helps business become more efficient, process information more quickly, and build profit. In addition, since medical billing software was created specifically for the use of medical professionals and practices, the programs are easy to customize exactly for your needs.
- Added bonus: With the advent of the cloud, most programs connect via the cloud, so that you can view and analyze your billing data from any device with an internet connection.
Make an informed decision by evaluating which setup will be most beneficial for your individual needs. The following factors should be considered when choosing your medical billing software:
You’re still responsible for keeping patient information private. Ask questions and read reviews about the security system or features that come with the software. You’ll want to ensure that all patient data is protected
Bear in mind what various features are attached to the product and how often you’ll need to upgrade those. Typically, many of today’s updates can be completed over the computer, but it’s certainly worth asking about the upgrade process. You’ll also want to find out how usable those upgrades will be for staff, or whether there will be any additional training required.
Depending on how well your office is staffed to handle information technology, you may prefer to work with a company that will come out to your office to handle initial upgrades and any issues that result from them.
Obviously, many companies are focused on their bottom line and want to choose a billing software scenario that’s reasonable and results in a cost savings for their company. There are other factors that must be considered, however. Simply because something has a rock-bottom price doesn’t mean it’s the ideal scenario for your office.
Ask critical questions about what all is included in your package, for example. If IT assistance or upgrades are not included, factor in those costs to your total budget. Perhaps something has a low initial cost, but you’re locked into a year-long contract. Or perhaps something is reasonable for the first few months as part of a deal, and then the price skyrockets. Read reviews online and ask those important questions of the provider before you sign or agree to anything.
Support is a vital part of any medical billing software. Find out how much support is available (for example, an ideal setup is one that has a telephone line or an online chat to resolve quick issues). Find out whether that support is rolled into your cost, or whether you’re limited to how many times you can request extensive assistance or in-office help, too.
Usability or Ease of Use
Perhaps a program looks complex to use at face value, but the price is cheaper. Don’t forget to factor in any downtime or training time that you’ll have to spend with staff educating them on the new program. During this time, billing may backlog and employees can get frustrated or overwhelmed. Over the long run, you’ll also want something that is easy to explain to new employees or staff that they enjoy using as well. If the software is web-based, ultimately the setup will likely be simpler, too.
How to Compare Billing Software
There are several ways to compare medical billing software in addition to evaluating each of the features above.
Determine your use first.
For example, if you’re trying to manage one office’s billing procedures, you might not need a system equipped to handle the volume of a hospital or larger practice. If you want more data than billing included in the system, you’ll be searching for an all-encompassing product. Create a list of your goals for the software and match it against each program’s feasibility.
There are numerous different types of buyers, including integrated suite buyers, inpatient care providers, outpatient care providers, outsourced services, or cash-based providers. Knowing who you are and exactly what you need is half the battle.
Research the companies
Either research the companies yourself or appoint the person in charge of billing to investigate which one is the best fit for your needs.
Certain features might jump out at you during your research, so keep a list of “must haves” as well as things you can live without. If a feature’s not going to be regularly used, it’s probably not worth it.
As mentioned above, it’s more than just considering the “bottom line”. Determine the hidden costs and what you’re willing to invest in both the short and the long run.