Technology has changed the world of medicine and medical practice in many ways. One is the use of electronic medical practice management systems. These combine electronic medical records with various automated systems to make managing a medical practice easier.
There are so many different systems that it’s hard to make any certain generalizations, but there are the essentials that are important to know.
- Ideally, the best medical practice management system is integrated: it can handle all the needs of your practice. If the system you choose doesn’t have a feature you need, then you may have to install more software and work with several different programs, which is not a great result.
- Systems can be either cloud-based (stored on a central server that can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection) or server based (stored on a local computer that handles all the information).
- Some cloud-based systems are accessed from an internet browser, and others are accessed from a downloadable program (application) that can be installed on any computer and used by whoever accesses the system. Web-based cloud systems are often not as user-friendly as program-based ones.
If you’re just starting a chiropractic career, you probably don’t have the money to hire much staff to handle billing or appointment reminders. A good medical practice management system can do that for you, saving you both time and money.
It’s Sold to You but Is It for You?
There is one catch: almost every medical practice management system currently in existence is designed for medical doctors, not chiropractors, which can make a huge difference. Doctors and chiropractors can share common billing systems or appointment reminders, but they are looking at different aspects of examinations and their results. Most systems are often missing essential elements of a chiropractic exam, including range of motion, orthopedic tests, posture analysis, and outcome assessments.
Some medical practice management systems can be customized by you to include those items. But doing that often forces you to work against the system’s original design, which can be frustrating for staff. Also, having to modify your medical-based system to meet your needs can require a great deal of time and money, something many new practices do not have.
Using a system designed for chiropractic can save you in this frustration. A system designed specifically for chiropractors means less customization by you. It also means the features are designed to work the way that you want them to.
How to Spot a System Built for Chiropractors
It’s unfortunate, but there are countless systems built for medical practices that have been retrofitted for chiropractors. You need to be on the lookout for these systems. Clever marketing can make you think that the system is ideal for your practice. A deeper dive into its features will tell you otherwise. There are several things to look for when reviewing chiropractic software. Let’s go over a few of these things to help you find a system that has been truly designed for chiropractors.
- The system focuses on the aspects needed to run a chiropractic practice first and foremost: billing, online scheduling, online intake forms, appointment reminders, etc.
- Claim submission and reconciling should be simple and support diagnosis pointing.
- SOAP notes should be fast and auto-SALT (same as last time) elements that you want, such as charges, diagnoses, etc. New exam entries should pull from previous ones at the click of a button.
- SOAP notes should also contain chiropractic-specific sections, such as a spine section, outcome assessments, posture analysis, range of motion exams, and more.
- Patient flow management should be easy through the use of a virtual front desk.
- Reports should be available to track receivables, inventory, employee wages, payments, visit counts, etc.
Not all chiropractors will need every feature available, but any system that gives a wide variety of options will often be best in the end. When doing your analysis, make sure to look at the features available and how they are implemented. Too many systems boast about their feature list, when in reality, they are useless because they are too difficult to use.
Advantages of a Chiropractor-Designed System
A practice management software built for chiropractors has several distinct advantages. Since all the input categories are designed for chiropractors, there are no redundant or worthless features that create “bloat.” The system will also be designed to fit into daily chiropractic practice and easily adjusted to whatever your practice is currently doing.
By using a medical practice management system that is specifically designed for chiropractors, you can save both time and money. You will spend less time customizing and building your system, and your staff will be much happier. There is also less chance of needing additional software programs to perform all the duties to run your practice.
To learn more, check out a demo