Taking your practice to the cloud – what you need to know

Taking your practice to the cloud – what you need to know

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve already considered the benefits of cloud-based medical billing software. Whether you are replacing a server-based system or migrating away from paper, there are some things you need to know about cloud-based medical billing software to help you maximise its benefits.  

1. What is the key difference between desktop and cloud-based medical billing software?

The key difference between desktop and cloud-based software is desktop software is software that is installed usually via a CD or memory stick and runs on a stand-alone computer’s desktop. Cloud-based software can be accessed from any device that is connected to the internet.

Because of the nature of how desktop medical billing software is installed, practice data and records are stored and accessed from specific computers located at your practice. Desktop applications require hardware infrastructure, manual updates and IT support. All of these requirements come at an additional cost.

On the other hand, cloud-based medical billing practice data and records are securely stored in the cloud. This means that the information can be accessed by authorised personnel from any device connected to the internet. This alone negates the need to invest in and maintain dedicated hardware, which amounts to a substantial savings in up-front costs.

2. What are the benefits of moving to cloud-based medical billing software?

For some practitioners, the idea that sensitive information is stored somewhere outside of their premises can be unnerving but you can rest assured that cloud-based services are safe. Cloud-based medical billing software will have been configured on a proven security model using high-level encryption that renders data unreadable. You are also protected against theft, and fire, flood and other natural disasters because the data isn’t stored on a physical computer.

Another practical and financial benefit of cloud-based medical billing software is that there is no need to hire IT support staff to maintain the system and the security of the information because your solution partner does this as part of the deal.

For many practices, having a solutions partner who is responsible for the security of information and helps them stay on top of regulatory requirements is priceless.

Cloud-based medical billing software is regularly and automatically updated with the latest releases of important industry information, such as ICD-10 codes, etc. This is especially valuable for smaller practices that don’t have an excess of admin support and resources, however practices of any size will benefit from outsourced support from their solution provider.

3. How do I select a cloud-based medical billing software provider?

With all the benefits of moving to the cloud it might seem like a straightforward decision, but how do you choose a cloud-based medical billing software partner? Because of the associated cost savings with moving to the cloud, you might be tempted to choose a service based solely on price but this can be more costly in the end. There are a few important questions you should ask every provider you engage with and their answers should help you know whether they are the right fit for your practice. Remember to ask:

  • Do you provide cloud-based medical billing software?
  • Do you offer an electronic medical record(EMR) that can integrate with the cloud-based medical billing software? If not, are you able to integrate with my EMR?
  • Which business processes does it automate and what real-time services does your cloud-based application offer to improve my practice’s efficiency?
  • What is your process for protecting personal health information?  
  • Do you have a track record to verify improvements in claims reimbursements and practice revenue?
  • Can you give me a full breakdown of charges and fees for using the full medical billing solution?
  • Are there any upfront costs?  

It’s imperative to have an open and frank discussion with providers whereby you insist on complete transparency. It’s also good to think about some of the nuances of your practice to know which solution is right for you. Do you travel a lot? Do you need to be able to access information outside of the office at times that suit you? Are you a small practice that needs a competitive advantage over larger practices or other facilities in the area?

4. What should I expect when transitioning from desktop to cloud-based medical billing software?

Once you’ve chosen a solution partner, transitioning to cloud-based medical billing software should be fast and straightforward. Once the initial reviewing and planning is complete you can expect to have the new system up and running within 7 business days (depending on the complexity of your practice).

Moving to the cloud makes sense for a number of reasons including lower costs, better security, better support and mobility. If you still have doubts or concerns think about some of the benefits of transitioning you may not have considered:  

  • Costs savings from cloud-based software means you can pass the savings onto your patients; or reinvest in other areas of your business.
  • Patients are assured of timelier service because authorised personnel can access information faster;
  • You also have access to a number of add-on services that open communication with your patients to encourage customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Taking all the benefits into account for your practice revenue and your patients, cloud is an easy choice. For more information about how cloud-based medical billing software can improve efficiency and the bottom line at your practice, contact Healthbridge on sales@healthbridge.co.za

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