Medical Billing Software Lost in EHR Mix

One of the many things that seems to be getting lost in the mix of all the noise about EHR software and the EHR incentive money is medical billing software. As I think through all of the presentations from EHR vendors and discussions I’ve had with doctors, consultants and other professionals in the Healthcare IT industry, I think the practice management system is getting lost in the EHR shuffle. Let me ask some important questions:

Does anyone care about the billing software now? What if the billing software that comes packaged with your EHR sucks?

A regular reader of my sites John Brewer often talks about how many of the benefits we like to talk about with technology in a practice are coming from the practice management system, not the EHR. These days most people seem to consider the EHR and PM one package. Yet, I’ve seen people spend little time really understanding whether the billing side of the EHR is going to work for their practice.

In contrast to this comment though is that I haven’t seen an uproar of people complaining about implementing an EHR and their billing going down the tubes. Does this mean that medical billing software has basically become a commodity that every EHR vendor has done to a reasonably sufficient level that no one has a problem? Or maybe we don’t hear about it much because most doctors aren’t business people.

While I don’t have anything but anecdotal evidence of the disregard to medical billing software, I think this is going to eventually come back to bite us. Although, in our generally provider driven world the EHR matters more in the daily workflow and so this isn’t a surprise that we see the EHR bias during medical software selection. Once the physician sees the reimbursement levels lower, they’ll likely wake up to the reality that you need both a solid EHR and a solid PM.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

7 Comments

  • I agree entirely. Everyone is so distracted by incentive money from Meaningful Use they have forgotten that a good practice management system is THE revenue machine! If the PM system is not top notch, medical practices will suffer in the long run. Thanks for the reminder!

  • This points out the different approaches that the Federal Government is using for HIT implementation and standardization. Under HIPAA, since 2003 plans and providers are supposed to be using standardized electronic transactions which theoretically imprpove efficiency and reduce software cost. No incentive is paid, there are penalties for lack of use of standards. Compare this with the incentives for EHR which are getting lots of attention at the expense of the practice management systems.

  • This is a great point. I have changed billing companies in my practice several times but was never held hostage by them because we have used a strong practice management systems integrated with our certified EHR. Billing companies should be logging into the practices to send claims and generate reports and not the other way around.

  • I am creating a “bridge” program that will allow a physician’s office to email superbills to a specific address that will automatically (via the bridge program I am working on) pull the necessary information from the email and import it into one of several billing systems. This effectively frees the physician group to choose how they want to handle their billing (in-house, local company, big corp) instead of being tied to whatever comes bundled with the EHR program the group chooses. Anyone else try something similar? got a better idea for a “universal” parsing tool like I describe?

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