It is important to pick a billing software that is right for your needs. Ask yourself the following questions before purchasing a medical office billing software:
• Are you a medical office or billing service? This makes a difference in the capabilities you will need in a software.
• Are you a specialty practice? Some softwares are for a specific specialty. For example, Lytec has a chiropractic version. RLI is a software specifically for optometry offices.
• Do you need a multi-user software or is a single user ok? Some medical office billing softwares have a limit on the number of users that can be using the software at one time. It is important that you know the limit and that you consider your needs, not only right now, but in the future. If you purchase a software with a limit on the number of users, you may want to find out if you can upgrade to more users down the road.
• What are the aging report capabilities? For billing services this is a HUGE deal. Unfortunately for many medical offices, aging reports are never run, which is an area where they lose a lot of money. Whatever your situation, you will want to know what the aging report capabilities are. (One of the offices we bill for has a very expensive program. However, in the aging reports, it doesn’t show the date of service, it shows the last date the account was adjusted. Also, the report does not separate charges by the number of days old. It only runs a report showing everything that is outstanding. There report makes it almost impossible to follow up on the oldest charges.)
• What is the cost of the software? The old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is usually true, and applies in the case of billing software. Again, you will need to consider your specific needs when determining how much you should spend on your software. If you are a solo practitioner who sees patients part time out of your house, you will not need a terribly complex program, but if you are a 5 doctor medical office, you will need to look at an appropriate medical office billing software.
• What are the report writing capabilities? Sometimes it is necessary to create your own report. For example, you may have a form that is required but it is not a standard insurance form. If you have to fill out a number of them a month, it may be worth having a report in your billing software that does it for you. (One of our practices had to submit Medicaid claims on their preprinted forms. It was very time consuming, and they did quite a volume of them weekly. We wrote a report in Lytec to fill the forms out, and it was a HUGE time saver!)
• Is the software user friendly? Most softwares today are user friendly, but you should do a demo of the program before buying. You may also want to find out if hands on training is available. It may be beneficial to you to hire someone to train your staff. A lot of times, offices don’t use even a fraction of the billing software’s capabilities, because they were never trained properly.
• Does your software allow for more than one practice? If you are a billing service, you will need to be able to bill for multiple practices from the same software and be able to keep them separate. Or maybe you are a medical office with more than one location, and you want to keep them separate. In any case, make sure the software you are buying has the capability.
• Do you need an appointment scheduler? For billing services this feature is usually not required. Most software comes with it built in, but some are much more elaborate and easy to use. If you have a busy medical office, this feature will be important to look at.
After answering all of the above questions, make yourself a list of the features that you will need in your software. A list will make it easier when you begin your search. Compare your list to the list of features and you will be able to eliminate softwares that will not work for you and narrow your list down to ones that will. Then you can decide based on price, ease of use, and extra features that are not necessities for you.
When we started our billing service, we tested a lot of different demos of medical office billing software. At the time we started there were still programs that ran on DOS? (There’s a term you don’t hear a lot anymore!) We wanted a medical office billing software that definitely ran on windows, and was user friendly. As a billing service, we would need to train people on it as we grew.
Listing the features that were important to us was very helpful in choosing our software. It helps to eliminate options that won’t work.
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