Taking care of your patients is every healthcare provider’s most critical concern. But patient health engagement, quality session time, and other core healthcare services take time, and unchecked daily admin can often be a source of stress.

It’s exactly why telemedicine and virtual care software developers, alongside medical practitioners, have created a ton of medical software solutions that are readily available in the market, helping practitioners automate non-core but important tasks – like appointment scheduling, billing, and paperwork.

In this article, we’ve compiled the most significant features to look out for if you’re on the hunt for treatment software, as well as all the perks that tag along with it. But first, let’s define what treatment software is.

What Is Treatment Software?

Health Information Technology (HIT) is a term used across industries to describe technology that stores, studies, and shares patient health information. Under this broad umbrella, you’ll find plenty of treatment software that’s designed to help doctors, therapists, counselors, and more.

Many terms are used to refer to treatment software in our everyday language. As a provider, you’ve probably come across terms like:

What all these are terms have in common is that they refer to the various efficient automated practices that are designed to monitor and track patient data. This information includes data on and notes from:

  • Interactions
  • Diagnoses
  • Prescriptions, and
  • Virtual sessions that take place within health institutions like medical hospitals and clinics.

Types of Treatment Software

Some of the software applications are focused on overall patient management, but others deal with specific processes like blood testing or inpatient tracking.

One common goal is they all make processes and for caregivers smoother and manageable. Treatment software work similarly to patient management software (PMS).

Some such software is regulated in a similar way to medical devices such as fitness trackers, and as mentioned, can operate by retrieving information from them. Others interact with computers used to store treatment records, electronic medical records (EMR), and patient databases.[1]

Treatment software offers tools that enable network system customization and data streaming, which helps hospitals and clinics their revenue potential.

Medical devices, on the whole, are classified into four classes, and treatment software is in Class II. For treatment software to function, some processes such as data analysis, data editing, and determination of previous medical records must take place.

For an organization to adopt any treatment software as part of their day to day operations, the practice or institution must have an establishment licence and other certifications, proving ISO 13485-compliance.[2]

Treatment Software Features

What features should healthcare providers be looking for in treatment software, then?

According to one 2004 Oracle survey, at least 73% of US health institutions were under perceived government pressure to lower their costs; another 55% faced consumer backlash from rising prices.[3] With the growing treatment software market, practitioners and organizations now have more ways to cut costs and address these financial healthcare issues.

Treatment software, specifically, offers tools that enable network system customization and data streaming, which helps hospitals and clinics their revenue potential.

How Does It Work?

If you own or run a healthcare center, it’s important to select the treatment software that will best optimize the specific operations of your practice.

But faced with a vast range of different software – all of which vary in functionality and price – healthcare providers may not be sure of what features to shop for in software solutions. For this very reason, healthcare centers end up choosing the wrong software.

It’s worth noting, therefore, that not all will have the functionality to meet your unique practice requirements, and it’s why we’ve compiled a list of features that you should check for when purchasing software applications.

Medical Records Features

The ability to store, monitor, and access patient’s health records electronically is one of the most crucial procedures for a healthcare provider.

Charting and EHR Integration

As such, some treatment software offers personalized charting modules, while others incorporate exceptionally well with independent Electronic Health Record (EHR) solutions.

Whichever you opt for, it can be useful to have software with charting features that record, store, and update essential patient data in your practice system so you can access it in the future.

Such features often also create flow-sheets for each patient, which records relevant information such as immunizations, past diagnoses, surgeries, chronic issues, therapy notes, test results, and more.

When it comes to medical recording features, there are at least two issues to keep in mind:

  • First, treatment software is designed to help medical care centers and blended care practitioners retrieve records fast
  • Second, it can be a great way to easily track down patients medical records.

Managing Inpatient Data and Experiences

There are numerous ways that Medical Practice Management (MPM) systems can be used to manage inpatients in hospital centers.

Monitoring the Inpatient Experience

Here are just a few examples of what inpatient monitoring features do in practice:

  • Some treatment software can operate admissions and monitor patients’ wait-time. These are designed to ensure patients can contact their care providers. When patients are admitted, these MPMs let the user track a patient’s location, schedule surgeries, and even coordinate emergency responses.
  • Other software allows users to plan bed occupancy and equipment, helping providers avert overcrowding and hygiene issues.
  • Elsewhere, some treatment software helps practitioners manage medication doses, making sure patients get the right prescriptions in the right amounts. When patients have improved to a point they can go home, these MPMs allow users to plan and complete discharges.

Back when charts and patient records were kept in files and stored in cabinets, hospital processes were tedious and quite backward, but those days are long gone.

With today’s practice management systems, healthcare professionals can use charting modules with minimal fuss, integrate their data with stand-alone EHR modules, and store patient information, charts, appointments, and billing data together in one digital folder.

Organizing Patient Data

Data organization is another critical feature that practitioners should always be on the lookout for when shopping for treatment software that’s centered around MPM.

Digital storage not only saves physical space, but helps to create a neater, and a more welcoming office, as well as less stressed employees.

Compared to paper files, digital data storage can sometimes be more secure, such as HIPAA-compliant software that helps hospitals and clinics comply with privacy regulations. Like all medical and behavioral health solutions, however, digital data is never 100% invulnerable.[4]

Medical Billing

Treatment software may also offer billing modules that help counter the stress of revenue cycle management processes. This feature manages patients’ accounts to keep a list of all previous and present payment data and diagnoses.

Insurance and Claims Management

Once a patient checks-in, medical billing modules confirm their insurance eligibility to ascertain everyone agrees on co-pays and deductibles.

Good treatment software that streamlines medical billing functions makes healthcare staff more able to:

  • Speed up payment procedures
  • Reduce paperwork and manual billing
  • Receive faster compensation from insurance companies, and
  • Process claims more effectively and efficiently

Automated Billing

After consultations, surgeries, and other encounters, treatment software also often automates billings processes, standardizing all bills and payments collected.

When payments are unpaid, the software provides automated payment reminders, and patients can make payments online through the adopted patient management systems.

This allows patients to pay medical bills from the comfort of their homes, making it a popular feature with tech-savvy demographics such as Millennials.[5] From this perspective, the added convenience that medical billing features provide can have an additional marketing advantage.

With patient retention in mind, automatic reminders may help keep customers coming back to your healthcare center when seeking medical attention. Do note, however, that most treatment software providers charge a subscription fee for such features.

Scheduling

Scheduling is another critical aspect of medical processes. Software that simplifies scheduling can enable patients to book appointments online 24/7 hour, via secure access to a patient portal.

Reminders, Cancellations, and Rescheduling

Patient portals usually also allow clients to cancel or reschedule their appointments with the system, reducing the administrative burden on front desk clinic and practice staff.

Once appointments are scheduled, such treatment software often sends automated appointment reminders by email, text, or phone call – often an effective way to help reduce no-shows and forgotten appointments.

Some medical treatment software also maintains a record of the previous appointments, including those where the patient didn’t show up.

Patient Encounters

In most treatment software, this feature can track and control patient encounters even before they walk through the door.

For example:

  • Patient registration system modules can create electronic data forms for patients to fill out before visiting. By streamlining in-clinic processes, this capability also reduces the wait time that would have been spent filling out the forms in person.
  • Patients can also use such software to check-in electronically when they arrive. Their waiting time is then monitored to collect metrics, and often fed back into a performance analysis system so healthcare providers can make improvements where required.
  • Treatment software solutions also track the availability of exam rooms, monitoring test progress. Therapists, doctors, and counselors can then use integrated typing features and note-taking functions or online treatment plans right within the system.
  • Finally, when appointments are complete, most MPM systems can also automate checkout procedures for greater efficiency.

Benefits of Implementing Health IT

The primary purpose of implementing Health IT such as treatment software in institutions is to provide better patient care and ideally, greater health equity.

With the growing treatment software market, practitioners and organizations now have more ways to cut costs and address financial healthcare issues.

The applications of technology in today’s health sector are many.[6] In particular, treatment software can offer scores of tangible and intangible benefits to all kinds of healthcare providers, big and small.

To summarize how such software solutions have benefited institutions and their patients – we’ve listed some of the fundamental advantages of applying treatment software in the table below.

Benefit

Details

Fewer Errors and Better Documentation

  • Standardized, digital documentation systems effectively reduce inaccuracies from hand-written provider notes.
  • With much documenting, charting, or coding treatment software being mobile-compatible, bedside or point-of-intervention note-taking may also be made easier through reduced recall bias.
More Eco-Friendly
  • As digital solutions for medical documentation (e.g. claims and billing) become more popular, more eco-friendly, paperless practices are on the rise.

Streamlined Daily Operations

  • By automating processes and their management, practices can streamline practice admin and encourage greater standardization. Medical staff have more time to focus on patient care – their core priority.

Greater Job Satisfaction

  • Regarding the above, this can even promote greater job satisfaction, potentially raising the standard of value-based medical care for patients. The scientific data on this, however, is mixed.[7][8][9]

Shorter Patient Waiting Times

  • Treatment software offers a standardized system that maintains peak performance. In minimizing errors and redundancies, it can also help staff run their operations smoothly and efficiently and cut patient waiting times.

Better Organizational Performance

  • Treatment software can also monitor and report practice performance metrics, allowing for early identification of issues.
  • When practice staff can troubleshoot and proactively intervene, more timely potential improvements are made possible.

Lower Healthcare Costs

  • Automating routine processes such as patient flow management can help health institutions minimize administrative expenses, for example, by reducing the number of data jobs left to front desk staff.

Key Treatment Software Elements

Three components make up most practice management software:

  1. Billing Systems
  2. Scheduling Systems, and
  3. EHR Integration.

When it comes to treatment software, larger hospitals and clinics can enjoy the same benefits as smaller and independent practices, but with the added advantage of more efficient patient-related processes on a larger scale.

In the table below, a little closer look at what functions these systems can perform, and how they benefit practitioners.

Component

Details

Billing Systems
  • Found in most treatment software with practice management capabilities, billing systems handle everything from verification for insurance to statement generation and processing.
  • Often, they provide coding assistance, a critical feature for physicians, therapists, and telepsychiatrists.
  • Using up-to-date systems with the latest codes, doctors can save time entering notes by searching a software database rather than having to know what codes to use and when.
Scheduling Systems
  • Often equipped with intake forms to simplify health and mental health administration, scheduling systems enable and prompt patients to fill out paperwork ahead of their appointments.
  • Collecting patient data – such as treatment plans – before a session helps physicians better plan appointments length and recurrence, streamlining practice management, and potentially reducing wait times.
EHR Integration
  • Integrating EHR and MPM systems is a great way to manage documents and paperwork better
  • By using robust reporting tools, institutions can submit reports that qualify for reimbursement without spending lots of time compiling information.

Some specialized independent software systems are built to handle each of these three elements individually, but the all-in-one approach that a robust practice management suite offers can be a real benefit.

By integrating billing, scheduling, and EHR processes – as well as the smaller steps involved in each – independent practitioners stand to save plenty of administration time.

In larger companies with dedicated administrative staff, support employees can then spend more time supporting doctors and patients.

Final Thoughts

Today, treatment software has set the bar high for quality inpatient and outpatient care. It has provided plenty of healthcare facilities with greater economy, improved service quality, enhanced accuracy, and heightened efficiency when serving customers.

Hospital staff with the right treatment software can now schedule patient visits, share data with other hospital staff, and easily add new patients to practice databases. Overall, they’re free to spend less time on paperwork and more with patients.

What experiences have you had using treatment software in your practice? If you’re not using it yet, what are you looking for in a patient management system, billing app, or integrated suite? Let us know with a comment.

References

  1. ^ Helm, S., & Hansen, H. C. (2004). Information technology in the interventional pain practice: Electronic medical records, practice management software, and document management. Pain Physician, 7(3), 357.
  2. ^ ITAC & ACTI. (2010). Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Patient Management Software Licensing. Retrieved from http://itac.ca/uploads/pdf/FAQ-Patient_Management_Software_Licensing_V1.pdf
  3. ^ Oracle. (2004). Efficiency Cure - Finding Cost Savings in Healthcare. Retrieved from http://www.oracle.com/us/solutions/046210.pdf
  4. ^ Brooks, E., Turvey, C., & Augusterfer, E. F. (2013). Provider barriers to telemental health: obstacles overcome, obstacles remaining. Telemedicine and e-Health, 19(6), 433.
  5. ^ Pennic, J. (2015). Survey: 5 Millennial Trends Altering the Delivery of Healthcare. HIT Consultant. Retrieved from https://hitconsultant.net/2015/03/25/survey-5-millennial-trends-altering-the-delivery-of-healthcare/#.XruXRMCEZPY
  6. ^ Marr, B. (2018). How Is AI Used In Healthcare - 5 Powerful Real-World Examples That Show The Latest Advances. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/07/27/how-is-ai-used-in-healthcare-5-powerful-real-world-examples-that-show-the-latest-advances/#37f38d4f5dfb
  7. ^ .Janicijevic, I., Seke, K., Djokovic, A., & Filipovic, T. (2013). Healthcare workers satisfaction and patient satisfaction–where is the linkage?. Hippokratia, 17(2), 157.
  8. ^ Nikic, D., Arandjelovic, M., Nikolic, M., & Stankovic, A. (2008). Job satisfaction in healthcare workers. Acta Medica Medianae, 47(4), 9.
  9. ^ West, M.A., * Dawson, J.F. (2012). Employee engagement and NHS performance. The King's Fund. Retrieved from https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/sites/default/files/employee-engagement-nhs-performance-west-dawson-leadership-review2012-paper.pdf

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