If you own a medical practice, you’re probably used to hearing the term Practice Management Software (PMS) frequently. At times, you might have even been advised to start using PMS.
This raises the question - what is the purpose of practice management software?
Read on to learn about:
- What is Practice Management Software?
- What is The Purpose of Practice Management Software?
- Benefits of a Practice Management Software
- How Does Practice Management Software Work?
- Choosing a Practice Management Software For Your Private Practice
So let’s dive right in!
What is Practice Management Software?
Let’s start with the basics: what is practice management software?
Practice management software is a type of healthcare software that manages the day-to-day operations of a medical practice, such as:
- Scheduling. Allows you to track the schedules of clinical staff.
- Online booking. Let your patient’s book appointments online quickly and easily.
- Billing. Helps you track and manage all payment processes.
- Reporting and analytics. Allows you to generate reports and analyze critical data.
- Stock and inventory management. Helps you keep track of all medications and consumable items.
If you want to know more, check out our in-depth explanation of what practice management software is.
Now that we know exactly what it means, let’s go over the purpose of practice management software in detail.
What is The Purpose of Practice Management Software?
According to Harvard Business Review, most doctors have no business or management training. The problem with this is that business and management is a big part of running a medical practice.
When it comes down to it, this is the exact purpose of practice management software.
Practice management software is designed to assist you with handling all administrative and business processes of a medical clinic by providing all of the features we have highlighted above.
A PMS will help you with tasks such as:
- Scheduling patient appointments.
- Performing billing procedures.
- Generating reports.
- Communicating with patients.
- Hiring and training medical and administration staff.
Benefits of a Practice Management Software
Practice management software is widely used nowadays—and for good reason!
For starters, PMS makes managing a clinic more efficient. It allows you to free up the time of your reception staff, generate reports with ease, and make better medical and business decisions.
The right practice management software allows you to:
- Spend less time on administrative tasks such as patient bookings, keeping track of patient history, and more.
- Have a faster and easier billing procedure by generating invoices and keeping track of payments.
- Reduce no-shows by sending automated appointment reminders to your patients.
- Improve communication with patients by helping your marketing team send targeted SMS or emails to specific patient segments.
- Centralize your data in a single software where you can access patient information, check the past month’s revenue, or review the efficiency of specific marketing channels.
- Do online consultations through telemedicine so that the service you offer your patients is not confined within your office.
- Manage your medical practice remotely; most practice management software are run on the cloud and can be accessed from different locations.
There’s much more to practice management software.
To get the full picture, it’s helpful to understand how practice management software actually works.
How Does Practice Management Software Work?
What makes practice management software so effective is its many tools and features.
We have compiled a list of the core features of a PMS, along with brief explanations of how they can contribute to running a medical practice smoothly and efficiently.
#1. Allows Online Booking
If you want your healthcare practice to be competitive in 2021, online booking is a must.
Most clinics nowadays offer online booking, so patients come in expecting to have this option. Especially as it is fast and easy for patients to make an appointment at the click of a button, instead of having to call in and wait for an available receptionist.
So, online booking improves the overall efficiency of your service and decreases the rate of no-shows.
#2. Allows Telemedicine
Telemedicine is another crucial feature of practice management software.
There are many reasons why a patient might not be able to come in for a physical visit. They might have limited mobility, live far away or be traveling, be in quarantine or self-isolation, or simply prefer the convenience of an online consultation.
But these shouldn’t be reasons for a patient not to be able to consult their doctor.
With telemedicine, you can connect with your patients by video for an online consultation with just one click, no matter where they are in the world!
This simple tool can also be used to:
- Attract new patients who can't physically come in
- Give second opinions
- Do follow-up appointments and renew prescriptions
#3. Allows Online Payments
Handling payments can be tricky for both your practice and your patients.
Patients might forget to pay their bill, leave their wallet at home, or cancel an appointment if they are short on cash at that moment.
Online payments, however, allow your patients to pay while booking their appointment online. The feature also gives them the option to:
- Make a minimum deposit
- Pay the full amount in advance before their appointment
- Postpone payment until a later time
This tool will reduce the rate of cancellations and no-shows while also making the process more convenient for everyone involved.
#4. Includes EHR
An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a great feature that comes with some medical practice management software. And there are many reasons for this.
While PMS handles the business end of things, an EHR helps your practice provide better patient care by:
- Keep your patients’ health records secure better than any paper based system.
- Store a complete history of patients’ health, including services rendered and treatment programs, which they will be able to take with them to any medical practice.
- Organise patient information so that it will be easier for your staff to use.
- Use consultation templates to take notes and automatically insert patient information.
- Automatically generate prescriptions, referral letters and other documents.
And much more!
To find out more about the benefits of EHR and how it can improve your medical practice, be sure to read all about Medesk’s EHR features!
#5. Automates Payroll Calculations
Like in any other kind of business, running a medical practice also involves handling the payroll of your staff. But this isn’t always easy.
For example, if you’re doing the calculations by hand, or even using a spreadsheet, there’s a large chance of human error or miscalculations. Moreover, payments can be overdue, you might overlook some changes in payment regulations, or you may forget to track overtime or holidays payments.
Luckily, most practice management tools come with payroll features which help automate a big chunk of the process.
With a payroll calculations tool, you can:
- Generate reports for specific time periods.
- Split payment schemes into fixed and bonus aspects.
- Work out the commission due using fixed values and percentages.
- Offer different bonuses depending on the service or product involved.
- Create bonus schemes for clinicians and admin staff alike.
- Learn which services and practitioners are most popular with patients.
- See cancellations and other negative outcomes in relation to practitioners and services.
- Find out how many patients attend one appointment and never come back.
- Discover how much revenue is being earned in each situation.
- View profitability ratings in percentage points for your clear understanding.
#6. Includes Training and Support
Practice management software can be difficult to use if proper training is not provided. Your clinicians are not IT professionals - they'll need some time to get used to the PMS and take full advantage of its features.Therefore, the right PMS also includes ongoing training and support for you and your staff.
By keeping your entire team well-trained and up-to-date with all the tools and features of your PMS, they will feel more satisfied with their work, make fewer errors, and avoid feeling burned-out.
And, of course, when your staff is well-trained and content, they are far better equipped to provide top-quality care to your patients.
#7. Includes Reporting and Analytics Tools
A reporting and analytics tool is essential in helping you make good business decisions for your medical practice.
The best practice management software has built-in decision-making support tools that help you understand what you're doing right and what you can improve. For example, it can tell you which times are the busiest in your clinic so that you can make sure you always have enough staff on duty..
And this is just one of the many benefits these tools provide. Some essential reporting uses are:
- Allowing you to gather information from a variety of sources such as patient records, health packages offered, services rendered and products sold, invoices and payments, or lab orders.
- Allowing you to generate QOF and CQC reports; for example, you can see the percentage of patients aged 40+ with a blood pressure measurement taken in the past 5 years, at the click of a button.
- Helping you discover what's popular in your clinic. E.g. with a single click, you can see which services are getting the most bookings, which physicians get more patients, and so on.
- Helping you understand how well your marketing is performing. You can, with a single dashboard, see the cost, profit, and number of patients driven for each marketing channel.
#8. Offers Medical CRM
When running a medical practice, it’s important to realise that your patients are also your customers.
A customer relationship management (CRM) tool allows you to keep track of patient data and interactions with your staff. You can follow each patient’s journey all the way from initial introductions to end of treatment.
For example, you can record the purpose of each visit with appointment tags, such as "post-op", or click on an appointment and fill out consultation notes templates with all sorts of useful fields such as drop-down lists, yes/no switches, or pre-selected buttons.
Medical CRM help your medical practice achieve:
- Increased patient satisfaction and more successful marketing.
- Fewer cancellations and no-shows with automated pre- and post-treatment communication.
- Lower administrative costs with reduced manual data entry.
- Improved chronic disease management through a well-documented medical history and treatment response.
#9. Allows Stock and Inventory Management
Another area where the business end of practice management really shines is in its stock and inventory management tools.
These tools make it much easier to manage all incoming goods, including medications and consumable items. You can also keep track of what has been used as items can be automatically written off at the end of each appointment.
The stock and inventory management tools have the following features:
- Purchase and sales reports which are automatically generated after any stock operation is performed.
- Automated write-offs of any items used in an appointment.
- Reports on important information such as the actual cost of individual services and materials at any time.
#10. Includes Billing and Financial Reporting Tools
81% of physicians say that difficulty in communicating payment accountability to patients is their biggest challenge when it comes to billing.
This statistic is understandable, considering that physicians are more preoccupied with the healthcare aspect of a clinic rather than the financial.
Practice management software provides billing and financial reporting tools that can help you automate the payment process and handle all of your accounting activity online.
Choosing a Practice Management Software For Your Private Practice
Thinking of trying out practice management software for your healthcare practice? Try Medesk!
Medesk is an EHR solution with built-in practice management software capabilities.
It is among the top practice management systems currently available on the market, with one of the easiest-to-use user interfaces, as well as the best value for the price!
With Medesk you will get:
- Evidence-based medical decision-making tools to help make diagnoses and choose the best treatment options.
- A robust patient portal where patients can schedule appointments, access their lab results, and more, all in one place.
- Telemedicine, allowing you to conduct online consultations with your patients no matter where they are.
- Simplified reporting with 40+ templates to generate data-filled reports in minutes and help keep track of your clinic’s performance.
- A simplified prescribing tool to make prescribing faster and more convenient for both you and your patients.
- Medical CRM to streamline all your patient communication. set up automated SMS and email communication in minutes!
And so much more!
If you want to see if Medesk is the right practice management tool for your medical practice, try our free trial today!