How Much Does Physician Practice Management Software Cost?
Choosing the right practice management software (PMS) often feels overwhelming, even when you're experienced using it. You need to look for a product that has the features you need and that integrates seamlessly with your practice's workflow. Features you don't need usually result in higher costs, and the wrong system frustrates everyone using it.
You need a system that is federally compliant, with the right billing codes, one that comes with excellent vendor support, and works efficiently.
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What to Look for in Practice Management Software
Technological advancements have made automation easier than ever, with myriad previously manual administrative tasks now automated, such as patient billing and eligibility verification. You want to choose a PMS solution that helps leverage these efficiencies, so choose one that has the following capaabilities:
- Capture patient demographics
- Determine the patient's financial responsibility as regards collecting point of care payment
- Generate administrative reports
- Maintain a list of insurance payers
- Perform billing functions
- Preregister patients by checking benefits and insurance eligibility
- Schedule appointments
The wrong software often results in added costs, frustration, and wasted time. The lesson here: take the time to research your software choices, including vendor support, to ensure the PMS system you choose works best with your organization.
Practice Management Software Costs
Like everything else in healthcare, costs around PMS systems vary widely depending on the type of practice, what you need, and which features you choose. To get an accurate estimate of pricing, you likely need to sit down with a vendor and explain the specifics of your requirements. Ask specifically about any hidden costs, especially those tied to optional features, as these are often the cause of inflated pricing.
You have two basic options in PMS: cloud-based and self-hosted software. Some vendors offer customers a choice between the two software solutions. The cloud-based option includes monthly billing, usually based on the number of users. Some vendors offer discounted rates as the number of users rises. You may also receive a variety of additional charges, such as a percentage of collections or a charge for sending invoices and appointment reminders. For most smaller practices, a cloud-based solution is usually best.
Installed software pricing is where you see the greatest variances in price, with packages topping $50,000 or more for larger practices choosing all-inclusive PMS solutions. If your practice is very large, installed software is likely your best option.
The Cost of Self-Hosting Medical Billing Software
You must have some basic equipment to self-host your PMS solution:
- Ethernet switches and wires
- Backup hard drive
Prices on these items vary widely, depending on capacity required and advances in technology. For example, five years ago, a computer server would cost you around $4,200. In 2016, though, you can usually find them for between $500 and $1,000.
Other prices aren't affected by advancements in technology:
- Training on the software will run you an average of $2,000
- Software licenses per user vary depending on the system, but expect to pay between $1,500 and $3,500 for each user
- Upgrades to the software, usually occurring annually, cost around $1,500 to $3,500
- Calls to IT support, and you will have them, average around $200 per hour, depending on your location
Examples of Practice Management Software Systems
We provide three examples to demonstrate the variability in cost and features. Again, research your options carefully to find the right system for your practice.
This system includes all of the features a practice needs, plus great technical support to keep your front office running smoothly. Acceptance of claims after first submission attempts clocks in at 95 percent. The PMS system cost, per provider, is $429 per month. The PM/EHR system runs $729 per month plus your upfront costs totaling thousands (depending on your practice needs).
This is a cloud-based PMS system that supports scheduling for multiple physicians, numerous reporting features, and an intuitive user interface. More detailed analytics are available with upgraded pricing. Vendor support during regular business hours only. Pricing starts at $349 per month for just the PMS system, running up to $629 per month for the fully-integrated PM/EHR system.
This system focuses on multispecialty, small- to medium-sized practices. It offers a wide variety of features, including an intuitive patient portal, on-demand reporting, and customizable workflow. It easily integrates with most EHR systems and pricing begins at $475 per month, per physician, and $280 per month per PA or NP. Adding 11 or more providers drops the base fee to $350 per provider.