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Medical Software

Practice management software keeps the medical office running smoothly, and the wrong package can wreak havoc with billing, scheduling, and other essential business processes.

Practice management (PM) software runs the business side of healthcare, from scheduling patients to billing to generating monthly reports, so picking the right system is crucial for any size medical practice. Unlike with electronic health records (EHRs), selecting and overseeing a PM system isn't typically the physician's domain. In a large practice, it typically falls on the office manager's or IT manager's shoulders.

While physicians may have little to say about choosing a PM system, they sure do pay attention to it when problems occur. When they don't get paid, or they receive constant complaints from back-office staff, these programs suddenly become top of mind.

Medical Software

But how do office or IT managers know if they're choosing the right PM software system for their business? Rosemarie Nelson, a principal with the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) tells InformationWeek Healthcare that a major decision point is picking a PM system that works well with the practice's EHR.

"Oftentimes it isn't which EHR to buy or which practice management system to buy; sometimes it's which bundle to buy because the physician wants a tightly integrated solution," Nelson said. She added that the EHR is more the driver than the PM system. "You pick the EHR that fits you because billing is billing, so chances are the PM systems that works for that EHR will be just fine," said Nelson.

However, when choosing a PM software system it's still a good idea to determine if you want to go with a single vendor system that's natively integrated with an EHR, or a best-of-breed system that requires an interface.