Healthcare Practice Management Systems: Making Them Work for You
One of the biggest decisions your practice will make is the choice of Practice Management Systems. It will be an expensive decision as well. Like all technology, Practice Management systems cannot just be plugged ion and magically perform. Training, work-flow, set-up options, personnel choices, and a host of other choices must be carefully thought through.
Your practice management system is your healthcare practice’s pathway to the revenue stream. Your biggest dollar investment is probably your practice management system (although now, your EHR and IT costs may exceed PM)
- Your primary contact with payers is your practice management system.
- Your ability to contract with those carriers productively depends on your analysis of codes and payments within the practice management system
- Your daily, weekly, monthly, yearly revenue reports originate in the practice system data. Your analysis of that data helps you to plan strategically for the future.
- Data analysis will help you identify lags of payments, under-payments, denial trends and how efficiently your follow-up teams are working the accounts receivables.
- Your ability to comply with ICD 10 without loss of cash flow will begin with your practice management system.
- Your assurance that every charge has been captured is in the practice management system.
- All of your charge and payment history resides in your practice management system
- All of your patient data (apart from clinical data) resides in your practice management system
- Your ability to talk to patients about their charges and their insurance questions depends on the practice management system
- When the CEO calls about a specific patient who has called them, you go to the practice management system
- When a physician wants to know how much is paid for a specific procedure, your answer comes from the practice management system
- All of your business operations is dependent upon the practice management system, from appointment scheduling to issuing the final bill.
Has the point been made yet? Your investment in the practice management system and people who operate that system is what keeps the practice going. It provides the revenue to pay the bills and the people. While it is indeed a cost center; it is the vehicle revenue centers are dependent upon for proper handling of charges, denials and payments.
How efficiently your practice manages the system and the people primarily responsible for the system determine the financial success of your practice. Making it work for you in a way that makes sense for your practice is the primary responsibility of the business office manager or office manager. Too many times, people try to plug old work-flows into new systems and then say the system won’t work because it doesn’t work the exact same way the old one did. While all Practice Management Systems performs the same basic functions….they all do it in different ways. Learning as much as you can about the way your practice management was designed to work will help you make good decisions about work-flow changes. And trust me, there will be work flow changes.
Every manager must test the various scenarios that are unique to that practice against the design of the PPS they have chosen. Things like the number of tax ID’s, multiple ARs’ (accounts receivables) lock-box arrangements, partner arrangements and how the revenue is split must be taken into account. Most of all, take a hard look at the reporting function flexibility. You need the ability to create whatever report you need, when you need it. Canned reports really don’t matter anymore. Everything is custom.
Download our resource, “6 Tips to Maximize your Practice Management System” and get some great tips on how to manage the system in a way that takes full advantage of what the salesman told you when you bought it. Whether you have had your system for many years or have recently purchased it, this resource will benefit you and your practice.