20 Criteria for Choosing the Best Practice Management Solution

1. PORTABILITY – It's important that your solution is portable. The best solutions use iPad or similar technology so that you have access to the entire system as you travel from exam room to exam room.

2. USABILITY – The best solutions don't detract, but enhance your workflow and allow you to find more time in your day.

3. CLINICAL INTEGRATION – The ability to access all of a patient's records is a minimum, but the best systems also include clinical criteria such as patient records and charts.

4. PATIENT RELATIONSHIP OUTREACH – The ability to handle correspondence is standard, but the ability to proactively contact patients for disease management, appointment reminders and so forth using a Patient Portal is not. Make sure your system will provide this functionality.

5. SPEECH RECOGNITION for NOTES and MORE – Transcription is expensive and unnecessary with the proper speech recognition technology. Ensure that your new system can handle speech recognition using a recognized expert like Speech MagicTM.

6. NOTES COMPLETENESS – Notes complete the chart, and it is crucial that your system's notes capabilities include the ability to record: all pertinent and negative symptoms; vital signs, physical exam findings and lab and test results, comorbidities, etc.; assessment including diagnoses, and; treatment plan.

7. BILLING – Complete billing functionality is a key to success, and your system should include: eSuperbill capabilities with customized superbill setup, claim scrubbing, systematic follow-up from initial entry through denial and eventual payment (if denial occurs, as claim scrubbing will decrease denials); electronic claims submission, patient invoicing (electronic statements), payment posting and reconciliation, collections, HIPAA compliance, and; deep reporting and analysis capabilities.

8. COMPLIANCE MONITORING – Constant monitoring for compliance and violations is crucial for any practice, and your system should be able to monitor for compliance violations and the correct management of patient progress notes

9. DEEP REPORTING DATA MINING CAPABILITIES – Your system should provide an excellent set of standard reports that include claims submitted with key info, a denials report, operational reports and compliance reports. In addition, the system should include data mining capabilities that are simple and easy to use, so that you can construct your own reports quickly.

10. BILLING DETAILS – Your new system should provide reports with details that include delays between submission and payment, the CPT codes used, denials and reasons and all of this in REAL TIME.

11. DATA ENTRY and CLINICAL PROTOCOLS – Any effective system will include clinical protocols to assist with intelligent prompting and a complete database of clinical knowledge.

12. MULTIPLE HOSTING MODELS INCLUDING SaaS, or ASP – Your new vendor should offer a range of system hosting options, from SaaS (Software as a Service), also known as ASP, which allows you to "pay as you go" for access to service over the Internet, to full turnkey (for larger practices) where you own your own hardware, to hosted turnkey (for any practice) where you own your own system and hardware, but the vendor runs the machines and updates for you. These last two options allow you to take advantage of tax codes allowing you to capitalize the cost of the system.

13. DATA SECURITY and PROTECTION – Ask outright whether the vendor guarantees HIPAA compliance with your data and how your data will be protected from unauthorized access. The practice will be responsible for maintaining security of the system over time, but the system must have a robust security capability in the first place.

14. COMPLETE IMPLEMENTATION SERVICES – Your new vendor should provide comprehensive implementation services that leave you with a completely set up system, NOT a list of instructions on how to set up the system.

15. TRAINING at YOUR CONVENIENCE – A good practice management vendor will provide training that works with your schedule, so that your practice can continue to function while the implementation proceeds. Your business should not have to stop to implement a new practice management and billing system. Choose a vendor that will provide a cost effective and efficient training option.

16. PERFORMANCE MONITORING – Your performance on key indicators should be documented by your new system's consultants and monitored over time. In addition, your new vendor should provide the expertise to help you re-train or change setup as needed to bring your key performance indicators (KPIs) up to industry standard levels and higher.

17. BACKOFFICE OPTIONS – Finally, the best vendor will offer the option to outsource functions as needed, so that as you grow you can get the assistance you need without adding new departments or staff members, if needed.

18. ROBUST SUPPORT – Effective post go live support is crucial. Make sure your vendor's Support department meets or exceeds recognized industry standards. Ask about their performance standards such as abandonment rate, wait time, time to answer, timelines for issue resolution, etc.

19. INDUSTRY CERTIFICATION / READINESS – CCHIT (or whoever the permanent certifiying bodies will be), ability to meet MU requirements


If you follow these criteria, the result should be the selection of a system that has functionality with the width to cover all areas of need and the depth of reporting needed to help you monitor operations successfully.