According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 86.9 percent of office-based physicians currently use some type of electronic medical record (EMR) or electronic health record (EHR) system. Though this relatively high number is likely in part due to the implementation of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, using this type of practice management software also provides a number of practice and patient-based benefits.
For instance, using an EMR or EHR enables healthcare practitioners to keep all of their patient data in one convenient location, where it can be accessed via any device that is connected to the program. It also allows for ease of patient scheduling and billing via a highly automated, patient-centered processes. EMRs and EHRs also provide DCs the ability to quickly and easily compile all of the reports required to run a successful, legally compliant chiropractic practice.
But which integrated applications should your software offer, better streamlining the process and providing the most benefits? The answers to this question can be broken down into four basic categories: revenue cycle enhancement, patient engagement tools, multiple specialist adaptability, and linked diagnostic equipment.
Revenue Cycle Enhancement
TechTarget explains revenue cycle management (RCM) refers to the software-based process that healthcare professionals use to track a patient from initial registration to full and final payment for all services rendered. This includes a number of different actions, from capturing the charges to remittance processing to third-party follow-up. The more efficient this process, the greater your ability to collect monies owed.
Using a practice management system that utilizes an automatic payments system assists with (RCM) by enabling direct withdrawal from the patients’ financial accounts. The process improves cash flow because it’s immediate, seamless and guaranteed.
Also, integrated credit card processing further enhances the process by eliminating re-entry of payment information. This saves time and improves transaction accuracy. Better yet, a processing system that allows the patient to complete their payment transactions saves even more time for both the staff and patients.
It also helps to choose software that links directly to a clearinghouse. This improves the efficiency of claims processing and minimizes the potential of missed claims.
Patient Engagement Tools
Other applications to look for when selecting a chiropractic practice management software should be related to patient engagement. Healthcare IT News shares that benefits of improving this portion of your business include increased patient satisfaction levels, a higher quality of care, and improvements in regard to your office’s financial and operations efficiency.
Applications that help to support a high level of patient engagement include those that offer online services. For example, enabling patients to complete necessary forms online or to use an online schedule, allows patients to complete intake information at a convenient time. This option saves administrative time as well, freeing your staff to take care of more important office duties.
Automatic appointment reminders serve the same purpose, encouraging appointment attendance in a way that is more convenient for the patient. Whether by email, text, or phone, these reminders can dramatically reduce no-shows. One study found that missed appointments dropped from 12.08 percent to 0.56 percent when text appointment reminders were sent.
Multiple Specialist Adaptability
Statista reports that, as of January 2017, roughly 70 percent of American adults believe in the positive effects of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Since chiropractic is just one modality falling under this umbrella, it’s not uncommon to have an office that provides additional CAM services. Choosing practice management software that supports these other modalities then can help streamline the process for patients and practitioners alike.
For instance, if your patients can engage in acupuncture or physical therapy at your facility, imagine how much easier it would be for them—and your staff—to be able to schedule their appointments or keep their record within the same system. And if this system could also seek reimbursement for all of the modalities offered, it makes it more fiduciary sense.
Consider this factor when selecting your practice management software. Even if you don’t offer different modalities now, having a system that allows this can save a lot of time and frustration in the future.
Linked Diagnostic Equipment
Another area of consideration when choosing chiropractic practice management software is its ability to link to your current diagnostic equipment. This will not only speed up the data entry process, but it also reduces the likelihood of entering the information erroneously by either transposing numbers or filling in the wrong fields.
Three pieces of equipment used most often in a chiropractic setting include digital range of motion tools, digital posture tools, and digital x-rays. Thus, by ensuring that the data is able to transfer seamlessly to your practice software, you’re able to save both time and potential problems when using these devices.
Choosing practice management software that offers these integrated applications can make life easier for you and your patients, both now and as your chiropractic business continues to grow.