The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality explained that three main goals are driving the current paradigm shift in the health services industry. Regulators and business leaders in recent years have sought to reduce overall costs, improve patient experience and also address health on a population level.
For private practices, becoming more efficient and convenient when treating patients is key for two important reasons. The largest organizations have expanded in recent years, taking over a larger proportion of the market. As Becker's Hospital Review found, 40 percent of physicians work for a hospital or a practice owned by a larger health network. At the same time, however, PricewaterhouseCoopers stated retail clinics and urgent care facilities are becoming more popular. Together, these trends put great pressure on private practices.
Smaller organizations can leverage health IT to make meaningful change. Electronic health records and other clinical resources are capable of improving care quality, but there are tangible ways to address administrative overhead as well.
Practice management software gives smaller organizations the essential tools to modernize and deliver the best available care to patients. Improved workflows and capabilities can help a private practice stay competitive in a changing healthcare landscape. Investing in the right system is essential. Here are three key elements to prioritize when choosing a practice management solution:
Competing with the biggest health organizations can be difficult because as Becker's Hospital Review stated, larger providers and networks have the capital to integrate the latest technologies and solutions, while private practices simply can't afford to upgrade systems as quickly or as regularly.
For that reason, practice management software has to be affordable. The best IT partners offer different packages and solutions to better fit a provider's budget. Cloud-based operating systems are especially beneficial because total costs are lower. Rather than paying for servers and hardware, installation and upkeep is inexpensive and straightforward.
The clarity that comes with such a system can't be overstated. Practice management software that is easy to install and operate is essential for smaller providers that can't necessarily absorb a lapse in productivity during an integration period. The most intuitive interfaces are a top priority because they allow physicians and administrators can quickly and reliably adopt the platform into daily workflows.
Beyond the initial stages, a simple design helps maximize the benefits such a system offers. Patient data, billing information and administrative management are more accessible with a platform that is clear and easy to use. An organization won't benefit from the promises of smoother reimbursements or simplified scheduling if staff members can't easily navigate the software. A digital platform is comprehensive yet simple.
Flexibility makes a practice management software most valuable to smaller organizations. Not only is it possible to minimize disruptions, but providers can sooner realize benefits and new opportunities, especially when a solution fits into existing processes and not the other way around. The most flexible practice management software offers two key features.
First, the best platforms are mobile and provide access from laptops and mobile devices alike. In this way, doctors, administrators and other staff can more easily update records, reach important data and communicate with colleagues without being tied to a single desktop computer.
Second, insightful data reports give providers a chance to re-evaluate aspects of their businesses. As such, small practices can adopt new strategies based on specific needs and trends and use a practice management software as the lynchpin in new workflows.
For smaller practices to succeed in this changing healthcare landscape, care must be as efficient and cost-effective as possible. The right practice management software is key in that pursuit.