9 tips to choose the best medical billing and coding software
There are many important decisions to make about your practice or organization. Who should you hire? Where can you find the most skilled talent? How will you handle all fast and furious changes coming at medical providers today? Among all these challenges, the software you use might slide under the radar. But taking a hard look at medical billing and coding software now, before you choose and implement it, can save everyone a great deal of frustration later.
Considerations when choosing medical billing and coding software
There are many options out there for medical billing and coding software, and each of them is competing hard for your business. Here are a few point that can help narrow down the contenders.
1. Talk to your staff. Before you make any moves to purchase new software, speak to those who will actually be using it. These include the medical billing and coding professionals, physicians, managers and administrators, and anyone else who might make use of the software. Ask them for a wish list of what they would like to see in the software, and use that as your starting point to research the options.
2. How easy is it to set up and use? Some software is very easy to set up, but takes a long time to figure out how to use. Other software is very intuitive, but setting it up can be a nightmare. Look for a system that is easy to use, as well as one that comes with hefty customer support for those set-up snafus that are sure to happen.
3. Just how current is it? Codes can change or be updated often, and you need to know that your software has the latest and most current versions. It should also offer a reliable way to update the codes quickly, usually through easy downloads. Look for a version that offers ICD-10, HSPCS and CPT codes.
4. How reliable is electronic claims submission? You want to submit a claim once, get paid, and be done with it. Look into software that offers seamless claims submission, has the all-important ICD-10 updates, and is H7 compliant. Not only will this make insurance claims easier and faster, it can also facilitate integration of billing with electronic health records.
5. How much does it cost? Remember that the most expensive is not necessarily the best, and it's possible that much of that high price tag might be for bells and whistles no one will ever actually use. Besides that, look into the actual costs. Is there a contract that requires a monthly or annual fee? How about set-up costs? Is there a charge for customer service after a certain period of time? Round up the total cost before making a decision.
6. What kind of training is offered? Even the most seasoned billing and coding experts can be a little lost when they first look at a new software program. What kind of training is offered during those first few crucial weeks? Is there some sort of training program available for those who are hired in after the initial "getting to know your software" phase?
7. What about security? Most medical software companies will tout security as a selling point, but don't just take their word for it -- make them prove it. Look for key components like data encryption, audit trails, scheduled backups, and multi-level user authentication. Talk to an IT professional about reviewing the security claims to make sure they are legit.
8. Do you meet the technical requirements? Pay close attention to the IT requirements of the software and make sure you can meet them before you take the plunge. The last thing you want is a sophisticated software that demands an upgrade of your current IT structure, as that means much more money paid out and a great deal of time lost.
9. Is web-based software the right move? Many companies today offer web-based or cloud-based services that can streamline your billing and coding, but is it right for your office? Though online options might seem the easiest, be sure to speak to representatives at length about what happens if the system goes down, how to obtain training, customer service expectations, and more.
Your people matter
Even the top-rated, most popular software is only as good as those who are actually using it. Today's advanced, sophisticated software requires medical billing and coding experts with the proper knowledge and training to use it, as well as someone who can readily adapt to the new procedures and protocols that might come along with the change.
Make sure everyone is on board with those changes -- the last thing you want is a pricey software that your staff is slow to adopt. Talk to everyone on your staff throughout the process of narrowing down the options, comparing the software and making the final decision. Remember that the more engaged your staff is with the process, the more likely they will be to embrace the change.
"Choosing the Right Medical Billing Software for Your Practice," Advanced Data Systems Corporation Blog, May 10, 2014, http://healthcare.adsc.com/blog/bid/289550/Choosing-the-Right-Medical-Billing-Software-for-Your-Practice
"Choosing The Right Medical Billing Software For Your Practice," EMR Consultant, August 20, 2013, http://www.emrconsultant.com/emr-education-center/medical-billing/choosing-the-right-medical-billing-software-for-your-practice/
"How to Choose the Right Medical Billing Software for Your Practice or Business," Kareo, Joann Doan, August 10, 2014, http://www.kareo.com/blog/2010/08/how-to-choose-the-right-medical-billing-software-for-your-practice-or-business/
"10 Features to Consider When Choosing Medical Billing Software," MedTran Direct, Accessed August 10, 2014, http://info.medtrandirect.com/blog/bid/109998/10-Features-to-consider-when-choosing-Medical-Billing-Software