When I go clothes shopping, I usually head straight to the clearance rack (I love a good bargain), but—as my husband loves to remind me—there’s a solid reason some of those items didn’t sell for full-price. Sure, sometimes the manufacturer made too many—or a particular style didn’t sell as well as planned. Most of the time, though, the discounted items are simply poor quality—and that’s why it’s crucial to be able to spot the difference between cheap and inexpensive. The same is true for billing software. To make sure you aren’t stuck using the billing software version of fast fashion, be sure to look for these must-have features:
According to WebPT President and Co-Founder Heidi Jannenga, there are some pretty big benefits to integrating your EMR with your billing software, including:
- Increased front office efficiency
- Decreased coding errors
- Improved reimbursements
- Easily accessible attachments
- Improved access to financial data
If your EMR vendor also offers a billing software, you should be able to check the integration box pretty easily, because the two systems should integrate seamlessly. But if you’re using two different companies, integration isn’t a guarantee—and if your systems don’t communicate effectively, you’re in for a rough ride. Have you ever played a game of “telephone?” If so, you know the secret message whispered by the first person always gets muddled in some pretty hilarious ways by the time it gets to the last person. But when the game is being played by your EMR and your billing software—and the message makes or breaks your bottom line—suddenly, those mix-ups aren’t so funny.
To talk physical therapy billing, you almost have to know a whole other language—one that’s full of acronyms and often-vague regulations (like FLR, PQRS, ICD-10, the 8-minute rule, and the therapy cap)—and your billing software has to be fluent in that language to ensure your reimbursements don’t get lost in translation. And I’m not just talking national regulations; each speciality and geographical region has its own rules with which your software must comply in order to properly process your claims.
Moreover, your billing software must be able to adjust to changes in health care—and we’ve seen a lot of those over the last few years. And with the introduction of outcomes, value-based payment models, and the push for PTs to become primary providers, the winds of change keep blowing harder. So, you should select a billing software that’s able to quickly adapt.
A horrible support team can make even the best billing software a bit of a nightmare. Technology isn’t perfect, and you’ll likely have to call support for something at some point. You don’t want to dread that call, and with this kind of investment, you deserve to have well-trained, efficient, and friendly support staff at the ready.
While a great support team can make a decent software bearable—and can push an already-awesome software over the top—it simply can’t fix the root of the problem. If the billing software is so buggy that you have to call into support weekly (or worse, daily), run away. Oh, and skip the server-based software altogether; you’re way better off heading straight to the cloud. With a server-based system, you are the support team—and ain’t nobody got time for that.
As a business owner, you’re always on the lookout for ways to cut costs. It’s tempting to choose a cheaper option, but you often get what you pay for—and when we’re talking about billing software, the results of a bad buy can be disastrous. After all, while a twisted side seam on a $5 t-shirt is annoying, a cumbersome, non-compliant claims process can destroy your bottom line.