Doing research for your medical insurance billing software options can be a time consuming process--but if you don't do your homework now you may choose the wrong medical claims billing software for your business and cause numerous problems in the future. The time you spend up front doing thorough research is well worth the effort.
Many leading medical billing programs software enable you to do insurance claims filing (both electronic and by paper), patient billing, scheduling, as well as provide detailed reporting and accounts receivables. Many medical billing programs will have options available for specific specialties such as dentists or electronic medical records (EMR) which are becoming very popular.
As if you didn't have enough decisions to make, you will also wade into the debate of whether PC based software or WEB based software is better. Here are some of the pros and cons of each:
PC BASED SOFTWARE
This is the traditional PC or client based medical insurance billing software which has been around for years and is still the most widely used.
Control--The medical insurance billing software is actually on your computer so if the software company goes out of business you are still able to continue billing in most cases. (Although you would not have any technical support should you have a problem with your software).
No monthly fees--Typically you would only have a reasonable yearly and/or support fee and potentially an additional charge if your medical insurance billing software vendor releases a newer version.
Not dependent on the internet- Especially beneficial if you live in an area that does not have reliable high speed internet access.
Larger upfront costs--While the cost of medical insurance billing software varies significantly, the initial investment can be thousands with some being well over $10,000
Limited access to data--It is far more difficult for your doctors to have access to their data. This often requires frequent calls from the doctors or their patients needing information about an insurance payment or a patient's balance. It also requires you to supply more weekly and/or monthly reports for your doctors.
Installing and maintaining software--You will be responsible for installing the software and any updates and patches. You will also need to perform manual data backups and secure the data to meet HIPAA standards.
WEB BASED SOFTWARE
With the evolution of the Internet, you can now easily find a wide variety of medical claims billing software.
Limited upfront fees
Easy access to data--You and your doctors can access your records safely and securely anywhere you have a computer and high speed internet access.
Unlimited users--most offer this feature at no additional charge.
No software to buy or install
No upgrade costs--The majority do not have additional yearly or upgrade costs, (but you know the drill, always check the fine print).
No server needed
Automated data backup online
Chance to Go Paperless
Monthly fees--The monthly fees vary significantly between web based medical insurance billing software providers which and can be cost prohibitive if you have a lot of small doctors.
Dependent on the internet--if your internet service goes down you no longer have access to your data base
What do you do if they go out of business? This is the negative you really need to look at closely. Make sure you are confident that you would still be able to access you data somehow should the web based software provider suddenly go out of business.
Medical Billing Business Packages: You will come across companies offering what are often referred to as "turn-key" medical billing packages. These typically consist of medical claims billing software combined with software training, technical support, as well as different levels of marketing assistance.
But buyer beware! While these package deals are convenient and sound very attractive, they often come at a much higher price than you can get by buying the services separately from multiple sources (as is covered in great detail on this site). You also have the risk of paying a large upfront fee and having the company go out of business.
Regardless of which option you choose, it is crucial that you thoroughly research each company. Don't forget the old standbys such as the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission. Be sure to order a demo of each medical billing software you are considering and also visit some of the medical billing forums to get additional ideas.