How PMS is Changing the Face of Healthcare
Technology is revolutionizing the way industries do business, and the healthcare industry is no exception. The digital disruption in hospitals and clinics is changing how medical providers operate, from patient bookings to medical records management. With the embrace of technology projected to increase, physicians are seeking innovative solutions to accelerate growth and improve profitability. To achieve this, healthcare professionals are turning to PMS that improve customer experience, operations, security, and the bottom line.
So what does PMS stand for? Short for Practice Management Software, it is a type of program used by practices with the aim of organizing administrative tasks, streamlining appointments, simplifying billing and invoice creation, and managing patient medical records. At its core, PMS includes a scheduling program that handles patient bookings along with a client management function for storing valuable patient information.
What Does Practice Management Mean?
The term ‘practice management’ is used to describe the process of handling business and administrative aspects of healthcare practices or clinics. While hospital chains usually have a dedicated practice manager to look after these activities, most health organizations assign these functions to the clinic owner, admin team, or receptionists.
Practice management has a broad scope, including:
- Business planning
- Patient communications
- Regulatory compliance
- Daily operations management
- Inventory management
- Records management
- Appointment management
- Hiring and staff management
Of course, these duties are distinct from clinical roles that form the basis of actual health services offered by the clinics. What a practice management application does is compile all these tasks together onto a single platform and manage the data involved with running a clinic or hospital. PMS is specifically designed for health practices to streamline and automate common practice management tasks.
The flexibility of practice management systems helps them cater to the needs of medical organizations big or small. You might think that a small, low-volume healthcare practice can survive with manual, paper-based systems. But the truth is, most owners find they are more professional and efficient after moving to PMS.
Instead of having separate applications for treatment notes, invoicing, client contact records, and appointment calendar, a practice management system provides access to all these details in one, integrated space. Moreover, PMS increases the efficiency of other tasks significantly, such as scheduling follow-ups, generating prescriptions, displaying offers, and writing treatment notes. Of course, many high-end PMS also generate regular reports to give physicians an idea about what’s going on in their clinics, so they can make adjustments accordingly.
What is the Best PMS?
Practice management software providers offer customers numerous features, depending on the type of health practice they have. So what works for a multi-office medical organization may not be compatible with a multi-physician practice. Also, there are HIPAA compliance, pricing, and other factors to consider.
That being said, customers should look for the following features when choosing a medical practice management system so they can help the front and back offices complete tasks with greater transparency and efficiency:
Multi-Channel Appointment Booking
Look for a PMS that supports real-time appointment bookings via hospital websites, doctor/patient apps, widgets (doctor, clinic, department and branch levels), OPD staff and social media channels. A smart, user-friendly interface will help patients schedule consultations based on doctor availability and speciality. Customizable settings assist with doctor schedule centralization and calendar management. Ideally, there should be a single window view for appointments across multiple clinics along with automated provision to mark delays and follow-ups.
To streamline the OPD process, your preferred PMS should manage walk-in patients, provide instant information on waiting patients, prioritize high-value customers and VIPs, manage leaves across all channels, support digital billing and give role-based access to hospital and clinic staff. The PMS should excel at patient communications, notifying them about appointment status changes and cancellations, sending follow-up reminders, sending detailed visit and procedure-specific instructions to patients, and rescheduling appointments based on doctor’s availability.
A good PMS must also enable medical providers to manage their practice’s call center for appointment booking purposes.
Queue Management System
A good PMS will include queue management systems to improve service quality with end-to-end patient visit organization. Clinics will enjoy greater control over queue formation and service efficiency at waiting areas. Intelligent algorithms are a must for real-time queue analysis and flexibility to minimize waiting time. The automated process will reduce stagnation during peak periods of activity and limit stress on staff through centralized monitoring of patient flow at various points.
Electronic Medical Records
Worldwide EMR adoption will have an estimated value of $36 billion by 2024, and with good reason. After all, EMR provides detailed insights into patient-centric clinical records, supporting prescription generation and systematized digital archiving and transmission of patient medical details. Hands-on access to patient medical records and prescriptions allow for medication adherence, health status monitoring, and preventive care. EMR helps doctors generate e-prescriptions quickly, improve data security and privacy, minimize errors, check patient records, optimize consultation time, and prevent prescription drug abuse.
A good PMS software should have the capability to store certain medical records along with the option to be integrated with EMR systems. While some information in EMR and PMS are related, EMR is mainly used to help the practice with clinic functions. PMS, on the other hand, focuses on financial and administrative matters. Integrating EMR with PMS proves useful in improving operations and patient satisfaction. By combining two separate systems, providers spend less time on administrative duties and devote more time to everyday patient care. Integration also reduces the chance of duplication error and increases the value of each system.
Use telemedicine to set up a virtual clinic and deliver remote care across all patient demographics, irrespective of location. Broaden the clinical landscape by improving penetration in remote areas and de-stress a strained public healthcare system during health emergencies. Interestingly, you can use PMS to control the flow of telemedicine by managing patient consultations more effectively.
Telemedicine counters location- and schedule-related constraints, supports remote patient monitoring, minimizes staff requirements and costs, promotes online payments, and provides round-the-clock access to digitized patient medical records.Find PMS that support the addition of multiple family members for chronic care delivery and phone/chat/video consultation.
How Do You Use PMS Software?
Running a standalone medical practice without technology is challenging in a world where innovation forms the heart of the healthcare industry. Just as video communication improves access to healthcare and new data collection methods make communication between hospitals and clinics quicker and easier, investing in PMS makes a difference to your practice. Evaluate your existing systems and you will immediately realize how PMS fills the gap.
If you upgrade or replace your current healthcare system, you will fulfil several growing needs when switching to a new practice management software:
Your clinic will benefit greatly from the right PMS if these functions are necessary for your clinic.
Types of PMS
The wide range of practice management systems available on the market right now provides numerous functionalities and features.They address the needs of healthcare providers of all practice areas and sizes. With several options available, doctors and administrators will need to select the right type of PMS that meets their requirements based on two primary areas - software design and features.
Two types of PMS exist:
Standalone PMS is offered as its own product and needs to be combined with suitable products like pharmacy apps and EHR. Integrated practice management software, on the other hand, is offered as part of a software package or as an optional add-on.
Aside from the practical benefits of being required to manage only one vendor and one system, the strongest reason for choosing a fully integrated PMS involves the removal of barriers to data sharing and analysis in the practice/clinic environment. Integrated PMS supports the collection and analysis of data in a seamless manner.
While many hospitals and clinics can function without a fully integrated PMS, an integrated solution allows clinical staff and administrators to monitor and analyze different metrics throughout the organization. In this context, an integrated PMS promotes coordination between locations and departments in areas like inventory management, billing, and staffing.
The features available in most PMS products nowadays range from basic to advanced features. Different PMS products enable healthcare organizations to better plan and manage operations. Some of the common PMS features to watch out for include medical billing, patient check-in, digital prescriptions, and provider scheduling. Hospitals and clinics considering PMS must also consider software vendors offering advanced products that provide administrators with analytic and monitoring tools.
Sophisticated PMS features help address historical and current data, and provide features enabling predictive modeling and forecasting, especially in the area of the healthcare provider’s finances. The type of PMS a practice decides on will depend on individual circumstances, but the process of deployment will be general to all settings.
Benefits of PMS
A practice management software provides several benefits, including:
- As long as you have a working Internet connection, you are free to run the practice from any location. This makes PMS a lucrative proposition for doctors with hectic schedules. Online PMS does not chain you to a desk, and you no longer have to deal with tons of files. All the information is stored offsite and you can run your clinic on-the-go with ease and confidence, using just your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
- Minimize the time you spend on administrative tasks with PMS. Leave more time to focus on clients or invest in business building activities like marketing. PMS reduces the time spent looking for information, writing client communications, preparing notes, searching for patient records, and more.
- Cut down on the number of no-shows dramatically through appointment reminders and notifications. Use a combination of email and text messages to remind clients of upcoming sessions. Get instantly notified on client confirmation and follow-up scheduling.
- Improve communication with third parties and clients, and attract the right kind of attention with PMS. Set up templates with the common types of communication you need to send SMS, letters, and emails within seconds. Display your professionalism to partners and clients.
- When you have a PMS in place, it becomes easy to grow your practice and provide your team with access to the right information. Schedule calls and appointments in your PMS and manage bookings between every clinic seamlessly.
- Ensure the safety of valuable medical data. Let the PMS provider handle all the backups and security protocols on your behalf. Keep your client and patient details protected in a secure server. Rest easy knowing your proprietary information is in safe hands at all times. Retain ownership of the data and enjoy access to updated software.
Why Choose PMS?
Superior PMS software makes it easy for practice owners to track important metrics and generate financial reports - all necessary to the growth and financial health of a clinic or hospital. Unsurprisingly, global clinical PMS adoption is expected to grow 15.2% between 2017 and 2023.
Remember the right PMS can transform an inefficient medical practice into a great one. By tracking appointments, staying on top of billing, streamlining patient relationships, and managing employees, you find it easier to focus on the needs of patients and enhance their quality of life.
Keep in mind that when patients visit your practice, they are focused on feeling better as soon as possible. They have no interest in what goes on behind the scenes to keep things running efficiently. But you need to care for your employees, and a good way to do so involves ensuring your medical practice runs smoothly. The right software makes employees spend less time on mundane, repetitive tasks and allows them to focus on the needs of patients. A PMS makes it easier to keep both patients and your staff happy.