Medical Practice Software Guide

The writing is on the wall: You can’t streamline, automate, and scale your practice without the right technology. Industry changes and consumerism have reshaped patient expectations, making up-to-date technology essential to provider success.  

About EMR/PM Systems

“EMR”, “PM, and “RCM” are common acronyms you’ll encounter when shopping for software systems for your practice. But what exactly do they mean?

Electronic Medical Record (“EMR”) Software

EMR refers to a system, or the part of a system, which handles clinical activities. Another way to think of an EMR is as a digital replacement for paper medical records. Key elements of an EMR system include diagnoses, procedures, and treatments.

Some examples of clinical tasks performed in EMRs include:

  • Creating provider notes
  • Prescribing / e-Prescribing
  • Reviewing test results
  • Entering diagnosis codes

Typically, EMRs can interface with other clinical systems, such as external labs.

Practice Management (“PM”)

PM software handles the non-clinical, or business side of healthcare. Billing and administration tasks take place within the practice’s PM system. Examples include entering patient demographics, capturing insurance information, scheduling patients, and billing.

RCM Software

Revenue Cycle Management (“RCM”) software aims to boost practice efficiency, increase reimbursement, and improves cash flow but automating various administrative functions. Examples of RCM software functionality include

  • Pre-visit insurance eligibility checks
  • Copay collection (remotely or on-site)
  • Tracking claims status
  • Enhanced reporting on collections and denials

There can be substantial overlap between RCM and PM systems, as many PM systems perform some of the same functions.

Bundled vs. Unbundled

Some practices use one company’s EMR software with another vendor’s PM software. This “unbundled” approach involves an interface between the EMR and PM products.

“Bundled” options refer to EMR/PM/RCM all-in-one software. In general, a single bundled solution may offer more functionality, because the parts were designed to work together. 

So why do some practices prefer unbundled EMR and PM software solutions? A practice’s providers may prefer a particular EMR system, while the practice’s administrators prefer a different PM system. The practice may opt to use both products to “get the best of both worlds.”

Mergers and industry consolidation may also lead to unbundled software solutions. Parent companies or hospitals may require a practice to use a particular PM system, while the practice may continue to use a separate EMR. Other practices might try to stretch their current system capabilities by adding on RCM software, as an alternative to doing a complete new system implementation.

Ready to Find Your New System?

Whichever product(s) you choose, the goal is to gain efficiencies for the practice. To see demonstrations from top EMR, PM, and ECM vendors, fill out the form.