A casual search for “practice management system” on Google returns over 16 million pages. A random click on a search result with a software catalog will take you to 350+ variants of practice management solutions. Why so many?
One reason is the market for practice management software should reach $739 million by 2029 according to MarketsandMarkets’ research, and many healthcare software vendors want a piece of the pie. Another reason is different medical practices have different specialties, which in turn call for distinct functionality in software.
Prior to exploring the key features that PMS should have, let’s refresh the basics of what a practice management system is.
What Is a Medical Practice Management System?
A practice management system, or software, is usually a cloud-based solution that helps organize and optimize day-to-day operations of a medical practice. It deals with scheduling appointments, billing processes, report generation, patient data management, and other activities.
In short, PMS aims to address the challenges related to administrative tasks and allow healthcare organizations to support their medical services.
Key Features of PMS
With so many options of PMS out there, it might be hard to choose the right one for your needs. Yet, there are several essential features that a practice management solution should have to be efficient and help you streamline the delivery of health care.
Let’s take it to pieces and analyze the key aspects of a PMS.
A practice management system is rarely deployed to a clinic or a private practice where no integration is necessary. Often there will be several third-party solutions in use that PMS must integrate with. EMR is a good example.
In fact, integration with an EMR is considered one of the most challenging aspects of the medical practice management system implementation.
A decent PMS solution should include an easy way to integrate with existing infrastructure, such as a CRM system, task management, or an accounting platform, etc.
It’s vital to make sure the practice management system you are considering easily integrates with third-party healthcare solutions via an API. A good sign that you have found an appropriate PMS is a large network of partner development companies that can customize the PMS in question and build on top of it.
2. Improve Workflows
Medical practices deploy PM systems for obvious reasons. One of the reasons is to simplify and optimize workflows and processes for admins and physicians with a help of feature-rich practice management software. Indeed, a thoroughly designed PMS can automate a lot of routine tasks and take some burden off of a practice’s staff.
To effectively automate your company’s processes you should be looking for medical practice management programs with this minimal list of functionality:
- Scheduling and tracking appointments
- Inventory management
- Task management
- Billing and financial analysis
- Patient portal
We will touch base on some other features of an efficient PMS solution below. The list above should be a good starting point though.
Modern practice management systems are essentially cloud-based solutions, hosted elsewhere outside of your practice’s premises. Having your files off, somewhere in the cloud, is definitely a risk. Do the due diligence and inquire into the security policies that a PMS vendor follows.
A secure practice management software must meet privacy and security requirements.
In addition, PMSs that incorporate a billing module and allow processing of ACH, credit, and debit card payments must comply with PCI requirements.
4. Insurance Verification
PMSs that automate such a tedious and convoluted process as insurance verification immediately stand out from the crowd. The automated process of insurance verification allows staff to estimate payments and collect them at the point of care.
Practice management systems with integrated insurance verification can convert time-consuming routines into real-time revenue producing platforms by providing:
- Insurance verification prior to all appointments
- Pre-authorizations before every test or procedure
- Tracking available and expired benefits
5. Mobile Presence
Being able to track staff’s performance on the go may be a delight for the practice’s management. However, it’s even more important to let your staff perform basic operations on their mobile devices.
Practice management systems that operate on iPhones and Android smartphones are getting more and more attention in the professional medical circles. The minimal set of features for a PMS mobile app should include appointments scheduling and reports.
6. Marketing Reach
Being able to run marketing campaigns right outside a PMS is a rare case. This is a privilege of sophisticated platforms. Using marketing and management tools built into a PMS will allow you to track ROI per patient or per scheduled appointment.
An adequate practice management system with a marketing module would allow you to track and measure the results of your marketing campaigns:
- Tracking of cost per patient and conversion rates
- Campaign management to increase the number of new patients
A bonus feature is when a PMS is integrated with a marketing platform that provides access to third-party tools for finding and buying ad campaigns aligned to your target audience. You will be able to review the statistics of each ad campaign and monitor your ROI.
7. Call Center Integration
In medical practices, a lot is happening over the phone: from the initial conversation with a patient to appointment scheduling to payment collection, etc.
Having a PMS that integrates with a smart call center increases patient volume and builds stable revenue streams. Some of the immediate benefits of a PMS integrated with a VoIP call center are as follows:
- High call-to-appointment conversion rate
- Calls recording for evaluating staff performance
- Adding call records to patients’ profiles
- Automatic patient recalls
- Fewer no-shows and optimization of schedule for maximum revenue
Some smart contact centers allow to communicate with patients, providers, and employees via phone, email, and text messaging. This variety for communication channels makes a medical practice more flexible in terms of reaching out to clients and responding to their requests.
Actionable dashboards with comprehensive reports is another characteristic of an efficient PMS. Being able to analyze your practice’s fiscal health and staff performance is critical for knowing where your practice stands financially.
Detailed reports and gathered analytics can go a long way to helping you project and even improve your cash flow. They provide such invaluable data gems as insights into your patients’ key demographic characteristics or inform you on your best-performing physicians.
Order Your Practice Management System Now
Practice management system today is an absolute must-have for any medical practice. An efficient PMS keeps medical offices running smoothly and facilitates everything from appointment scheduling to revenue cycle optimization, medical IoT data gathering, monthly report generation, and seamless integration with EHR/EMR systems.
Velvetech has extensive experience in building multifunctional PMSs for medical and dental practices. We have successfully delivered complex PMSs that integrate with VoIP call centers and automate companies’ vital processes.
Get in touch to discuss your PMS needs. Velvetech will be happy to build for you an efficient practice management system or customize your existing medical program or software tools.