More and more providers and billing services are looking into the benefits of web based software over the old fashioned server based practice management systems. After running a medical billing business with server based software for fifteen years, we decided it was time to look into some of the newer features.
The field of medical billing is always changing and improvements should be expected in our software capabilities. As technology develops we should find our software doing more jobs for us in less time and dealing with regulations and coding changes in real time. Of course we want all this available to us at a reasonable cost. We found that with the newer technology of web based practice management systems can really save time and money.
The newest software offers unbelievable features creating shortcuts that save time, money, keystrokes, denials, and improves cash flow. With a web based practice management system you can sign onto a secure program on the web on any computer, not just the one with the software installed. Here are ten amazing advantages of some of the best of the new web based medical billing software.
1. Saves time – Development of new technology has automated so many processes previously dependent upon employee data entry that incredible amounts of time can be saved. Electronic payment entry, one click printing capabilities, problem claims stored in a queue rather than searching through electronic reports, and one click reproducing of last claim codes are just a few of the amazing shortcuts now available.
Just imagine the time saved alone in not having to enter payments. The eobs can now be scanned and converted to an 837 file that electronically enters the insurance payments and automatically bills the secondary insurance carrier or the patient.
In our server based system we had to open a box and choose whether you were printing a primary insurance, a secondary insurance, or a patient statement. When you clicked on one of those it asked which form you want to use. After clicking on the appropriate form, a box would ask if you which printer you use. Then if the printer had more than one drawer, you would have to click on properties and choose the drawer with the correct type of paper for the form you are printing. If one of my workers printed out only 25 paper claims or patient statements a day, a one click printing job would save over 100 commands per day. As a billing service, we receive hundreds of electronic reports per week that we must open, read, and deal with the problem claims. This task was overwhelming with the server based program. The new web based program we now use sends just the problem claims to a queue. We now go to the queue and check on only the problems instead of wading through all the accepted claims to find the rejections.
These are just a few of the time saving systems now available with some web based programs. These systems have enabled us to increase our work load by 50% without taking on more employees or increasing our hours.
2. Saves money – With so many time saving advantages of web based software we were able to take on extra accounts without increasing our payroll. We put our employees to much more productive work. Web based software can also save the upfront costs of purchasing a server based software along with the required licensing, support, and updates. The web based program we decided on charges one small monthly fee. That’s it. No extra charges for electronic submissions, support, provider scheduling, providing a superbill, patient online payments, ICD9 and CPT codes, code query, set up fees or back ups. No up front costs. Not only does this cost less, but it works better.
3. Eliminates many errors that create rework. The automated methods used with the newest web based software take many jobs that were once entered manually by billers and now eliminate the human errors through automation. A simple typo can cause a claim to be rejected or denied slowing down the payment cycle and causing much extra and unnecessary work. Rework is one of the most costly problems in an office. Whenever you can eliminate rework with better systems you save money.
4. Works in “Real Time” – When you are used to working on a static server based software you have no say in updating a process until a new version is released which you must purchase if you want to be able to update to these new requirements. This can be a problem when you have an outdated code you want to change or there are new requirements such as the NPI numbers, addition of taxonomy codes, or changes to the workers comp form. A web based program can provide for these changes as they become necessary. Instead of spending thousands of dollars to purchase the latest version of a server based software, the web based program is updated as it becomes necessary for any changes to be made. As diagnosis codes and CPT codes are added or eliminated, web based software can deal with these changes immediately, not with the next update. This feature can eliminate coding denials of insurance claims due to CPT or ICD9 changes.
5. Claims scrubbing – Claims scrubbing can go well beyond just letting you know that a patient’s birth date is missing. One small example of how helpful an effective claims scrubber can be is when a chiropractor bills a claim to Medicare where Medicare requires the AT modifier. If the modifier is not on the claim to Medicare it will be denied and if the AT modifier is on a claim to another insurance company, that claim may be denied for invalid modifier. A good claims scrubber will flag the claim if you have used the modifier incorrectly.
6. Capable of billing UB04 forms as well as CMS 1500 forms – Small facilities such as rehab clinics and mobile surgery centers are sometimes required to submit their claims on UB04 forms, depending on if they are credentialed as a facility or a provider with the insurance carrier. We found a web based software that will allow submissions of UB04 as well as CMS 1500 claim forms eliminating the need for two separate billing programs if you are billing for a facility. This is a great option for a billing company who may take on a small facility and has no way to print UB04 forms as well as for the small facility that needs to bill UB04 forms.
7. ICD9 and CPT codes preloaded for your specialty – Our server based medical billing software did not have the codes preloaded. We were constantly adding diagnosis codes and unfortunately some invalid diagnosis codes were added. When an invalid code was used, usually the claim was denied for invalid diagnosis code. The claim was then corrected and resubmitted – a good example of the rework I was talking about earlier. The web based program we decided on has all diagnosis codes and procedure codes for the specialty of the provider already preloaded. There are no unnecessary codes but you can add codes. As codes are updated, added or deleted by the AMA, they are changed automatically in the program. This will be especially helpful when we go to the ICD10 codes.
8. Automatic insurance company updates – You don’t have to keep up with insurance company address changes or electronic payer number for your clearing house. Our favorite web based software preloaded all insurance companies that could go electronically with the correct payer number. If a carrier changes their payer ID# it is automatically updated by the web based software. You don’t have to worry about it. How many of us have suddenly had all claims for a particular carrier fall into a black hole and find out it was because they changed their payer number and only notified providers on a small sidebar on their website. With good web based software this would not happen. Because they work in “Real Time”, insurance companies and their electronic identifiers are added or updated as the clearing house adds/updates them.
9. Eliminates need for accounting software – A billing service finds the need for accounting software like Quickbooks to keep track of billing their providers for their services. With the new technology, a billing service can now bill their providers, print statements, send past due notices, run reports, and enter payments all in the web based system eliminating the need for Quickbooks. The web based software we chose performs all the functions we once used Quickbooks for.
10. Multiple practices, eligibility, and electronic submissions at no extra cost – This makes a huge difference to a billing service. When we first started looking at the web based software we were afraid that it would be cost prohibitive for a billing service with multiple providers as most companies charged based on the number of providers. We were thrilled to find an application which not only had more technical features but didn’t charge by the provider or practice but rather by the user.
After researching the advantages of web based software extensively, we found that we could not afford to ignore the advantages of web based software. The next thing was to find an application that was affordable for a billing service.
We found that a company that used the SaaS (Software as a Service) concept could offer a much more reasonable product than a typical licensing product. Most web based programs charge per provider or practice so if you are billing for 60 providers, it can get real expensive. Using the Saas concept a web based medical billing software could now be offered to medical offices and billing services for a reasonable monthly fee and with no set up costs.
Xena-Health software quickly showed us a superior product with a host of benefits we didn’t know existed resulting in cutting our data entry time in half. We never dreamed of all the possibilities that newer technology could supply and at such a reasonable cost. With many medical office costs rising yearly, it was a wonderful surprise to find a cost savings product that actually increased our efficiency. Xena has been great to work with and we have been thrilled with the results.
Copyright 2009 – Alice Scott – Solutions Medical Billing Inc