By Lea Chatham, Editor-in-Chief, Getting Paid Blog
One trend that keeps coming up in study after study is that medical practices are looking to upgrade their billing technology. The latest survey from medical billing software research and reviews site Software Advice suggests that 40% of practices are currently planning an upgrade and another 19% are concerned that their current system isn’t compliant.
Electronic medical billing is nothing new. Most practices use some kind of electronic system today. In fact, only 13% of practices said they were still using manual paper processes for billing today. However, many of the older systems are becoming outdated and lack the features practices need to stay on top of changing reimbursement models and government mandates like ICD-10.
The top reasons for replacing existing software were no surprise. The top 10 were:
- Regulatory compliance
- Improve integration
- Eliminate paper
- Current system outdated
- Bring billing in-house
- Improve efficiency
- Need ICD-10 codes
- Current system cumbersome
- Current system missing features
- Current system poorly supported
While integration wasn’t number one, it was highlighted as another hot trend. According to the study summary, “Integrating a medical billing application with an EHR can also be highly beneficial for medical practices—especially as a time-saving measure, since billing codes can be automatically transcribed from patient records to claim submissions or patient bills. Eighteen percent said their current system’s inability to integrate smoothly with other applications, such as EHR and practice management (PM) solutions, was a motivating factor.”
In fact, nearly 90% of buyers said they preferred an integrated suite of medical software. In the survey, those buyers discussed their reasons including reduced data entry, increased accuracy, and fewer rejected claims.
The importance of improving claim accuracy and reducing denials also showed up in the list of top requested features. More than 30% of those surveyed said their top-requested features would be eligibility verification and claim scrubbing. As getting paid gets more challenging, these are two features that can significantly reduce denials, speed reimbursement, and reduce average days in A/R. As a result, practices can ensure steadier cash flow and more quickly transfer patient due balances and get statements out the door.
The Software Advice study findings mirror other recent surveys. In both 2013 and 2014, the Black Book Rankings also showed a tendency among practices to upgrade technology to meet changing regulations and improve overall billing. Those studies also found that many buyers were looking at integrated solutions.
Upgrading and integrating medical technology for billing, practice management and electronic health records has many documented benefits. So it is no surprise that this trend is growing. If practices are to stay independent and competitive, they will need to access the best solutions to ensure they get paid for the care they provide and can position themselves for whatever changes lay ahead.