Most of us have lists of tasks and to-dos—you know, the things necessary to keep our professional lives moving in the right direction. While these activities might vary from day to day, the nature of needing to get them done does not. But, there are so many different ways to go about accomplishing your to-dos. For example, if you’re running a physical therapy practice, your overarching tasks may include:
- tracking outcomes data,
- completing defensible documentation,
- scheduling patients,
- marketing your practice, and
- billing and collecting payments.
While you could attempt to tackle each task individually—and all of the smaller tasks that fall under it—that would take a lot of effort, in addition, of course, to the effort that goes into providing excellent clinical care. Instead, consider adopting software that can help you breeze through your tasks—and achieve your goals. Here’s what you need to know about physical therapy management software:
Practice Management Software
Practice management software can help you address the day-to-day operations of your practice. Among other things, it allows you and your staff to:
- capture patient demographics,
- schedule appointments,
- create defensible documentation,
- maintain lists of insurance payers,
- share information with referrers,
- perform billing tasks, and
- generate reports.
Efficiency is the key to running a successful practice, so it’s vital that your practice management software integrates all of these different components. Otherwise, data from one won’t translate into another, and you’ll end up having to do double the work. Here’s what your practice management software should cover:
Comprehensive scheduling is crucial for your front desk staff—and it’s the first step in your revenue cycle. The scheduler you select should be integrated so it can organize patient demographics, insurance information, and financial responsibility—and make scheduling and organizing appointments easy. It should also come complete with reporting functionalities that can track patient no-shows and cancellations, and notify staff when a checked-in patient has an incomplete note. This type of actionable reporting can help you ensure your clinicians don’t get too far behind in their documentation.
Compliant and defensible documentation is an absolute must, and an electronic medical record—as part of a practice management platform—should support your practice’s documentation and compliance needs. To do that, your EMR should be designed for physical therapists, stay fully up-to-date on the latest regulations and requirements, and offer a cloud-based experience, so regulatory requirement updates are seamless and automatic. It’s even better if your documentation solution is well-integrated with your billing, so patient demographic information and CPT codes transfer to improve clean claim rates.
It’s unfortunate (but true) that many physical therapy practices leave billing for last when they’re evaluating practice management platforms. And it really should be near the top of your list. After all, your ability to submit claims and bills and receive prompt payment is what enables you to keep the doors open and the lights on—and continue serving your patients. Whether you’re planning to outsource your billing or keep it in-house, you need a billing solution that excels at PT-specific billing, because physical therapy is completely different than billing for another specialty. If your billing platform was not built for physical therapists, then you or your biller is probably spending a lot of time auditing and correcting clearinghouse charges. Not only is this very time consuming, but it also could result in the charges you bill being out of sync with what’s documented in your EMR—and that’s not good.
While you could cherry-pick different software platforms that provide different functionality, they might not integrate well—and that could mean the information in your EMR never makes it over to your billing software. That would require your billers to start from scratch for every new patient—and double-data entry is a leading cause of billing errors. That said, you don’t want to choose a platform that forces you to use all of its features and functionality when that’s not what’s best for your practice. Instead, opt for a comprehensive suite of practice management tools and features that all integrate well—but aren’t mandatory—from a single company you trust. If you want to do your own thing with billing, but use a best-in-class EMR, then that’s your choice. And if you want to opt in for a top-notch EMR and full-service billing—then more power to you. (Hint: WebPT does all this and more—including, providing our Members with the very best patient relationship management and marketing tools on the market. Learn more about WebPT Reach here.)