A recent study has revealed that primary health care consultants in India spend only about two minutes attending a patient, as compared to an average 20 minutes in western countries. The poor doctor-patient ratio could be a reason for this. Additionally, the growing prevalence of lifestyle diseases and a rise in the number of patients shows the huge opportunity for doctors to leverage on.
With medical science constantly evolving and more super specialty hospitals taking roots, there is an indispensable need for effective management of medical practices and processes. Technology has now become key for hospitals to streamline and ensure efficiency in day-to-day operations.
To bring about the necessary seamlessness in procedures, hospitals and medical professionals must invest in management software, that can help them smoothly handle business aspects and everyday tasks, from scheduling appointments to completing billing procedures.
Features Of A Hospital Management System (HMS)
A HMS helps in effectively managing areas like,
✓ Patient information documentation
✓ Room and ward management
✓ Ambulance and other services
✓ Operation theatre availability and details
✓ Laboratory tests and equipment management
✓ Report creation & generation
✓ Inventory and pharmacy management
✓ Staff management
✓ Billing and insurance
How Hospital Management and Billing Software can benefit your medical practice?
The software is designed in a way to facilitate a better and more efficient running of a hospital, thereby reducing costs and boosting profitability. Let us look at how the software achieves the same.
- Scheduling Appointments
A major aspect of all medical facilities is scheduling and managing appointments. Most medical practice management software include a scheduling and calendar tool, which enables receptionists and staff to efficiently manage hundreds of patient appointments. They also offer flexible options for appointment timings.
The software helps keep track of numerous patient visits. Many also feature automated scheduling functions. If a patient needs to change a schedule, the staff can easily trace appointment information in the system. This software also features a colour-coding system to help doctors and other healthcare providers identify their available appointments and patients assigned.
- Maintaining Patient Records
Maintaining proper and accurate records of patients is critical to the success of any medical practice. A management software, in this regard, enables the staff to create electronic patient information charts.
The charts include vital information like patient medical history, medications, reasons for visits, insurance information along with other personal details. Typically, the information is entered into the software and the system automatically updates the chart and verifies insurance benefits, through electronic data interchange.
- Creating Reports
Many software systems come with pre-established reports and the ability to create new reports. Others have customisable reporting abilities that enable stakeholders to assimilate patient data and financial information into useful reports. Having software makes it easier for medical personnel, patients, and insurance companies, to access reports, as all reports would be located in one place. Some software also provides basic billing reports for patients and insurance companies.
- Billing Procedures
The billing process is one of the most important modules in a healthcare system.
It involves patient registration, tests conducted, doctor fees, ambulance and other charges. Before a patient is discharged, he or she needs to pay the entire bill, and here, a management software aids in an error-free and speedy process.
Software systems allow staff to input the prices of services, insurance discounts, and additional charges. Every charge is typically matched with a particular service or treatment performed on a patient. They are usually entered using certain codes. The systems also allow for automated billing processes.
For insurance claims, the software makes the process much easier and faster. It assigns special billing codes for a variety of procedures, to ensure the process goes smoothly when submitted to insurance companies.
“Insurance companies would like billing in an organised format, and that will also push IT,” puts Agrees Jalan, former CEO of Apollo Health and Lifestyle.
Examples of Hospital Management Software solution providers
Some examples of hospital management software solutions include MediXcel EMR, NextGen by NextGen Healthcare, MediSteer, eHospital, SkyVF and Aarogya. A hospital management software is, therefore, an important determinant for medical facilities in assuring professional operations, and effectively meeting patient needs.
Every hospital management system has a unique design and structure to meet the needs of a medical facility. The systems are created to work on an array of configurations including networks connected to the Internet, desktops, and client services.
How much does an HMS cost?
Advanced hospital management software is available as a cloud-based solution or as standalone software. The price ranges from $1500 to $70,000 per provider. For a cloud-based solution, the average cost of deployment is $26,000, with a $8,000 per year running cost. For stand-alone software, the average cost of deployment is $33,000 with a running cost of $4,000 per year. So, for deploying the right HMS, along with technical expertise, a flexible and stable source of finance is also necessary. For this purpose, NBFCs like Bajaj Finserv offer special loans for doctors that offer high loan amounts and are disbursed to doctors within 24 hours with minimal documentation and door-to-door services.
A good hospital management software helps you manage all operations of your practice, achieve good-quality ratings, manage your revenues better, reduce errors, improve clinical decision-making, improve data-security and thus technically advance your practice.