So where can you invest and get a near guaranteed return? The answer is practice management software with EHR and billing. If you just said to yourself, “all software is alike,” then you haven’t looked lately. We’re not talking here about some little billing program of the past, nor are we talking about billing programs pretending to be management software. What we’re talking about is the new breed of software that not only does billing but has sophisticated centers for insurance follow-up, interoffice messaging, patient messaging, management statistics, full financial reporting, patient appointment management, narratives, SOAP notes, inventory management, proper patient accounting and even the ability to run multiple clinics from one software package.
Some of the ways you receive a return on your investment with software may be obvious, but some are not. A new software package can reduce the amount of time spent on processing patient paperwork, writing notes, writing narratives, generating reports and statistics, sending out re-bills and tracers, following up on insurance companies and posting payments. Properly designed software packages can reduce input errors, also freeing up time.
I recently did an investigation in an office that was seeing around 200 office visits a week. I totaled up the time spent on office activities that I knew could be handled better with proper software. These activities amounted to about 66 hours a week when done with their old style software and the paperwork for what the old software didn’t do. I then made the same calculation using modern full management software and the difference was staggering. A mere 5 hours was all that was required using the new software package. As you can see the investment in a full practice management software package could produce a high return in a very short time, and this is just in staff savings.
Proper software can also get you paid faster and at a much higher collection percentage. The first office I installed practice management software in saw an incredible increase in their collection percent. On average they collected 102% of their services rendered for the next year. This was because they had enough information properly organized to collect the moneys they were owed. This is not unusual, as I have seen it over and over again.
Another way to get a return on your investment is through patient retention. With a properly designed computerized appointment book you will know who showed and who didn’t. You will know who left the office without a future appointment. You will even know whom to call today as they seem to always miss their appointments. How many times have you come out of an adjusting room and said to your staff, “Hey, what ever happened to Irene?” With a properly designed computerized appointment book this should never happen again.