First and foremost, eliminate any product that does not provide all these functions in a fully integrated fashion, as explained below in the section ‘Integration vs Cooperation’. These products will not provide the detailed reports that you need to monitor and control the operation of your practice and often require additional, cumbersome steps on your part to keep them synchronized.
Scheduling: eliminate products that do not display patient financial status and allow for collection and posting of patient payments at check-in. Schedules must also provide alerts for exceptional situations, such as expired prescriptions and approved visit limits, and provide seamless access to other program areas.
Billing: eliminate products that do not provide charge validation, via Medicare LCD’s, CCI Edits and other custom rules. In addition, eliminate products that do not provide for direct billing of carriers or that do not provide support for processing ERA’s (Electronic Remittance Advice / 835's).
Documentation: eliminate products that do not have the flexibility to adapt to your style of patient documentation and do not generate clear, concise correspondence to physicians and payers regarding evaluations, treatments and patient status.
Reporting: eliminate products that do not give you unencumbered access to all of the data that you have entered into the Scheduling, Billing and Documentation pillars. In order to effectively manage a practice you must be able to correlate data from all aspects of the practice, not only with canned reports but also with views on the data that allow you to easily filter, group, sort and summarize data in ways that address unexpected and special circumstances. A complete practice management system must also eliminate the need for externally tracking practice data.
Unified vs Integration
There is a big difference between applications that are Unified vs those that are integrated parts. Integrated applications are typically structured as shown at right where each area of the system maintains its own data and conventions are established for what subset of information is to be passed to a cooperating module. Often the sales representative will explain it as information flowing from one part of the system to another. Often times the integrations are one way, meaning that information may move from the Documentation system over to the Billing system but if Billing makes changes to the charges that information doesn't flow back to the documentation system. In extreme cases you will find that you have to log into each integrated part individually.
Reason for this type of structure vary from vendor to vendor but most often it is the result of the vendor purchasing different parts of the system and then connecting them together via an integration approach.
Unified System / Single Source
In a Unified System all parts of the system utilize the same data. All data is stored one time and shared between all modules in the system. These types of systems are typically always written with all parts in mind and information is easily available from all parts of the system. For example, it makes it possible for the schedule to be fully aware of things like patient balance and current insurance. It also makes is possible for the EMR to know that a visit has been checked in and is ready for notes and charges. Most importantly however; it allows the reporting module to be able to report across all aspects of the system.
Clinic Controller: Therapy is written 100% by A2C Medical. We also provide 100% of the support, in-house. And we take sole responsibility for aspects of the software..
To you this means that if you have a question, you only have one call to make. If you are having a problem, it is our problem, not some other company’s problem. And since it is 100% in-house, we can remedy it quickly and efficiently.
The other benefit of single source is that if your operation requires software customization, we will be able to accommodate your needs quickly and at the lowest cost, without having to rely on cooperation from external companies.