Essential Technology Every Medical Office Needs
Medical offices are always a flurry of activity. Patients checking in, office staff on the phone with insurance companies, pharmaceutical sales reps trying to get past the reception desk to hawk their drugs. It can be a madhouse for the office manager using a myriad of tools. Luckily, there is no shortage of medical office technology to help you get a handle on the madness that can envelope this environment.
But as you are deciding between these options, are you need to be thinking about what you actually need to accomplish. The main keys to running a medical office involves a few key digital components, these include vital sign monitoring, practice management, medical records management, and clinical documentation.
Vital Sign Monitors
While this bridges hardware and software, the Monitoring UI needs to be clear and concise during critical moments in emergency situations. This can be as simple as heart rate monitoring, to as complicated as brain scanning software.
There are huge implications that come along with this type of interface because the costs of poor usability can be life or death.
Think about it this way… for a consumer product poor UX/UI can lead to poor customer retention, low conversion rates, and mistakes on orders. Whereas poor design on a medical interface can lead to a catastrophically incorrect diagnosis from misinterpreting data.
If the device or software is difficult to use, the user is more likely to use it incorrectly. And with the users being doctors, the incorrect usage of a digital product gets transferred to the patient in the form of physical harm.
Practice Management Software
Part of running a successful business means setting meetings and getting paid for your work, and medical offices are no different. But add in the complexity of insurance companies and their accompanying co-pays, deductibles, plans, and group numbers, and suddenly it’s easier said than done. Without a robust software system in place, it’s virtually impossible to keep everything straight.
In addition to storing standard information like invoice numbers and payment information, there are five important medical billing features to consider when choosing your practice management software:
- Appointment Setting
- Insurance Verification
- Prescription Safety
- Patient Records
- Security Protocols
By selecting a software tool that includes these essential features, you can ensure that your patient’s’ financial and medical information is safe and secure.
SaaS (Software as a Service) Examples
Medical Record Storage and Retrieval
Client record keeping is important for any business, but for medical offices, it’s an absolute necessity. Chances are, if you manage a large practice with multiple doctors, you already have an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system in place.
But, for smaller offices that are outgrowing paper-based systems or are preparing for substantial growth, selecting an EHR tool that can scale with your medical office is an absolute necessity. Especially when transferring records from different medical offices.
Clinic Documentation Software
Particularly for physical therapists, chiropractors, or other medical professionals who prescribe treatment plans, keeping accurate notes on patient progress is essential. Clinic documentation or clinical notes software is invaluable for tracking appointment history.
The good news is that this software can be relatively inexpensive to purchase as a stand-alone system, so the decision to purchase really depends on the volume of notes you need to store. If your note-taking tends to lean toward basic annotations per visit rather than extensive observations in progress, you would do well to find an EHR or appointment booking system that includes notes as part of patient data storage.
How to Sort Through the Options
Upon understanding what software you need for your practice you will likely come across the debate about whether you will want to employ a Software as a Service (SaaS) or custom-build the product.
This is always a challenge, but we can tell you without question there is a fair amount of variability based on individual medical office complexity. You would certainly want to work with your IT director to analyze the available software options as well as understand where a custom solution would be more efficient.
In a future post we’ll give you some key signs that will help you know whether you need a custom or SaaS solution for your office. But for now start to think about the software we discussed above and consider implementing it if you have not already!