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Medical Practice Management Software For Less Headaches

Medical Practice Management Software – The Cure for Private Healthcare Headaches

While doctors are often seen as differing from other professionals, due largely to their vital and invaluable role in maintaining the health of other human beings, their lives are not composed entirely of life-saving dramas and the gratitude of patients and their relatives. Those who choose to relinquish the more sheltered employment of a registrar or consultant within the sanctuary of a clinic not only surrender their right to a monthly salary cheque, but must also assume responsibility for administrative tasks in exchange for their apparent independence. Not surprisingly, many choose to tackle medical practice management with the aid of a computer and a software package or two.

That said, just how effective a given package may prove to be will be determined by the extent to which it is able to free a busy GP or specialist from their non-core activities. In addition, it should also assist the user to improve the turnover and cashflow, upon which any private practice, together with the partners and any employees will generally be solely dependent. It is possible, for example, to save a little time by setting up a spreadsheet to help manage the day-to-day operation costs of the practice and perhaps to manage the payroll requirement for a nurse and a receptionist or two. Such tasks, however, fall far short of meeting the full range of medical practice management requirements. To do so, a far more sophisticated software package will be necessary.

The fact is that there are a number of perfectly good, off-the-shelf products that can tackle some of the admin tasks, such as maintaining an appointment diary that has pop-up and audible reminders. A simple database program could be a useful way to keep patient records that can be accessed in a flash. Unfortunately, such applications tend to run in isolation with no interaction between them and so data such as personal contact information often needs to be loaded on multiple systems, which creates a high risk of data disparities.

In practice, to be effective, a medical practice management software package must be designed to integrate as many of the administrative functions as possible, Access to these functions should be by means of a uniform, user-friendly interface, while all data accessed, processed, and stored by each function needs to be maintained by means of a single, shared database. Needless to say, given the confidential nature of much of the stored data, access to the system will need to be effectively secured with usage limited to those issued with personal access credentials. In addition, some means to define which of the many functions of the medical practice management software a given user will be able to access might also be a useful feature.

One of the most demanding aspects of practicing independently is balancing the books. The ongoing costs of maintaining healthcare services are substantial and must be met from the income derived by patient billing. While it is a relatively simple matter to invoice patients for any co-payments due, claiming the considerably larger proportion of their bill for which a medical aid is responsible is a far more complex procedure. Without the aid of medical practice management software primed with the detailed requirements of each medical aid fund, it is far too easy to make a minor mistake that, all too often, will result in delayed payment or a repudiated claim. Patients too, may pay late or even default, and steps to recover outstanding amounts may be necessary.

To do so, however, requires someone to monitor the billing process constantly in order to spot the defaulters and to initiate the recovery process. Not only does that process take time that could be better spent on core activities but, unless handled with tact, it could jeopardise patient relations. Just one more benefit of a comprehensive medical practice management software package, continuous monitoring of payments is fully automated, as are the various stages of the recovery process where such action may be indicated. In exchange for all this invaluable functionality, one might expect to pay heavily. While there are several packages on sale, there is also a means to avoid the upfront cost of an outright purchase and all of the technical responsibilities that ownership entails.

V Professional Services offers doctors affordable, remote, Web-based access to all these functions and more with an offer of medical practice management software as a service.

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