Best Medical Billing Software
Medical billing software allows you to create invoices and schedule patient appointments. Discover some of the best medical billing software.
Medical billing software refers to any program relating to invoicing and payment collection. Medical billing software is different from other financial software because of the complexities involving health insurance. This includes adhering to government regulations set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Many medical billing programs are designed to be compatible with other financing programs commonly used in hospitals.
Another reason hospitals require separate billing software is due to the complexity of medical coding. There are many different types of medical coding, with different abbreviations for diagnosing, clinical treatments and inpatient treatments. There is also additional subset of codes that provide more details on patient treatment. When it comes time to bill a patient, all this information must be translated by a medical biller and turned into a simplified invoice for both the patient and insurance agencies. Medical billing software greatly simplifies the process and ensures patients are charged the correct amount.
Common Medical Billing Software Features
There are many different medical billing programs to choose from, each with their own benefits. There are some common traits shared by all medical billing software. Insurance claims and payment processing are the key features for any medical billing software. Most programs also include options for appointment and payment plan scheduling, generating billing reports and creating custom forms for both patients and insurance agencies.
On-Site vs. Cloud Deployment
Medical billing software falls under two categories, on-site and cloud deployment. On-site software requires additional hardware, such as a server, which is installed directly at the medical facility. With cloud-based software, you install a program onto the computer and access a digital network, where all your information is stored remotely.
On-site software is typically more expensive because you must also pay for the additional hardware, which must be maintained by the medical facility. On average, it costs between $7,500 and $10,000 for on-site software. To access any information, users must be directly connected to the network. While there are some solutions to remotely connect to the network, this requires additional tech setup.
One of the benefits of having on-site software is total control over the network. With a cloud-based system, if the network crashes, there is nothing you can do until the network host addresses the issue. Because cloud-based software is not tied to the medical facility, you can access the files outside of the facility, if you have the software installed on your computer or phone. This allows many medical billers to work from home. Most cloud-based software charges a monthly membership for service. Basic accounts cost around $30 to $100 a month, but some of the more advanced memberships cost between $200 and $400.
Because the network is managed by a third party, you are not responsible for updating the software. It is more common for smaller facilities, such as physician offices, to use cloud-based services. Larger facilities, such as hospitals and medical labs, often use on-site software because they already have an IT department in place to maintain the software. These facilities are also more reliant on having their own system because they are too busy to risk having the data temporarily unavailable if something happens to the network host.
PracticeSuite is considered one of the industry standards for cloud-based medical billing software. Part of what makes PracticeSuite a popular program is how well it integrates into other programs. PracticeSuite is constantly updated to support additional programs, and as of writing, there are over 150 medical billing programs and 60 general finance programs compatible with PracticeSuite. The program itself is highly customizable, with different templates for each type of medical facility.
If you use the program across multiple medical facilities, you can create individual profiles for each location. The automated payment schedule keeps track of missed payments and can alert both the facility and patient about the missed payment. Individual users can create and customize their own profiles, as well as share information with other users.
PracticeSuite offers a free 30-day trial to try out the program. A basic account costs $99 per month, but there are advanced tiers with additional features, which cost as much as $400 per month.
Kareo was one of the first medical billing systems to offer cloud-based support. Unlike most other medical billing software, it is primarily targeted towards smaller practices. When you create a new invoice for a patient, you can add alert and contact notes about the patient. This also allows you to setup custom payment plans for all your patients, which you can share among other users. The program is designed with a simplified tab-based system, allowing new users to quickly master the program.
Kareo does not have a base price. Instead, you must contact Kareo directly to determine a pricing plan. During this process, the company asks you several questions about your practice, including the size, number of employees and what treatments your facility specializes in.
DrChrono is an on-site medical billing system primarily used by larger practices and hospitals. In addition to managing invoices, the software also includes electronic health record (EHR) software. This software is used to create a digital version of patient files. The two programs work in unison. When a patient record is updated, the invoice is adjusted in real time to include the new treatment costs. This also allows you to access medical records from a singular dashboard instead of navigating through multiple programs.
The software also has more options for patients, allowing them to schedule future appointments while paying their existing invoice. Patients can also save their information, reducing how much paperwork they must fill out during future visits. Like with Kareo, you must request a quote directly from DrChrono. Because it includes EHR software, it is typically one of the most expensive medical billing programs.