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The Top 12 Medical Scheduling Software Programs for Medical Assistants
- August 16, 2018
- Posted by: claudine
- Category: Uncategorized
Medical Scheduling Software: Our List of the Top 12 Programs
If you’re currently attending school to become a medical assistant, there are a few things you ought to keep in mind. First, remember that you’ll need to engage in some medical assisting test prep once you’ve finished up your course of study, so that you can pass one of the medical assisting tests that awards certification to medical assistants. Just as importantly, though, it’s important to remember just how varied your job duties will likely be once you enter the field. For this reason, it’s essential to follow along with the varied coursework that’s presented to you as part of your educational program.
What do we mean by this? Simply put, medical assisting typically involves both time spent working one on one with patients as well as administrative and clerical duties. While it’s important to understand how to work with patients, put them at ease before and during their appointment, and assist the nurse or physician as needed, it’s just as vital that you learn the necessary skills that will allow you to work behind a desk in the office. And amongst the duties that you might be expected to perform, perhaps none is more central to the overall functioning of a medical practice as scheduling.
On the one hand, scheduling seems incredibly straightforward. You simply take down a patient’s name and plug them into the calendar on the computer, right? In fact, the software used by a medical office tends to be much more complex than this. Most practices use an integrated practice management software (PMS) which manages and tabulates each patient’s electronic health record (EHR). By understanding what these terms mean, you’ll be in a better position to jump right in once you land your first job at a medical practice or hospital.
In this blog post, we’ll start by discussing what practice management software and electronic health records are and how they work. From there, we’ll take a look at our list of the top medical scheduling software programs out there today. By familiarizing yourself with this list, you’ll have some familiarity with the various software options that might be in use at any given medical practice. This will help to better prepare you for job interviews. It will also give you a leg up when you start your first job after school. Becoming familiar with these various software programs is a great thing to do in addition to medical assisting test prep as part of your overall preparation for entering the job market.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
Practice Management Software and Electronic Health Records
Most medical practices don’t use a simple calendar app such as Google Calendar to schedule patients. Instead, they rely upon sophisticated practice management software systems to run their practice. These software suites are usually quite comprehensive, and will come with the ability to schedule patient appointments, record patient information, invoice patients, record payments, and more. As a medical assistant, you’ll likely be expected to understand use this sort of software as part of your day to day work tasks. This can include scheduling patients for their next appointment, generating insurance claims, printing patient reports, and other responsibilities.
Years ago, doctors offices relied almost exclusively on physical paper copies of patient records. Each individual patient had their own chart, a medical term for the patient’s file. Their chart contained all of their relevant information, and was kept in a large folder storage system somewhere in the front of the office. Nowadays, though, things are changing. Doctors officers are transitioning to electronic health records, with many practices having fully made the switch in recent years. This means that paper records are a thing of the past in some doctor’s offices. As a result, medical assistants are expected to work exclusively with the office’s electronic system, including patients’ electronic health records.
There are quite a few advantages associated with storing patient records electronically in this way. For one thing, it eliminates the potential for error the comes with attempting to read someone else’s handwriting. If a doctor makes a note that they want a patient to come back for a follow up appointment after a certain number of days or weeks and the medical assistant in charge of scheduling misreads what they wrote, they could schedule the patient for the wrong interval of time. Additionally, electronic records make it easier to keep all of a patient’s data in one place. These systems also allow for greater automation, such as an annual reminder for a wellness visit.
That said, though, learning how to navigate medical practice management software and electronic health records can take some time. The more familiar you are with the variety of medical scheduling software options that are out there, the better prepared you’ll be for your first job as a medical assistant.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top 12 medical scheduling software programs available.
NueMD is a comprehensive practice management software suite. It includes medical billing software, electronic health record capabilities, online patient portal software, e-prescriptions and e-labs, on demand claim info, custom report generation capabilities, and more. NueMD is cloud based, too, meaning that electronic health records are stored in a secure location in the cloud rather than on your local servers. NueMD claims to be able to shorten the overall payment cycle, making practices more efficient overall. According to their website, using NueMD can result in up to 30% fewer appointment no-shows and a 99% insurance company claims acceptance rate. It’s currently used by over 24,000 medical practices in all 50 states, and remains a widely popular option amongst medical offices.
Like NueMD, Phreesia is more than just a simple scheduling program. In addition to scheduling appointments, Phreesia allows patients to engage in their care. It also claims to automate as many processes as possible, allowing medical offices to devote their time to other tasks. Phreesia’s suite of software as a service (SaaS) applications includes the ability to register patients via mobile and in the office, speed up the revenue cycle with insurance verification and flexible patient payment options, generate detailed analytics and data reports, engage in patient satisfaction surveys and preventive care outreach, and conduct clinical screens to assess patient health risks. With Phreesia, medical offices are able to offer a consistent experience to patients.
Acuity is a widely used and very popular scheduling software program. It allows patients to book their own appointments by viewing an office’s availability in real time, and gives them the option of making a payment in advance. While Acuity can work well for certain types of practices, it’s not a medical specific software. This results in a number of limitations when it comes to integration with existing patient records, amongst other things. So while Acuity is quite common amongst a variety of businesses, it’s not necessarily something you’ll see in a larger doctor’s office setting.
vCita offers a variety of business management software solutions that address the needs of various industries. As part of their family of offerings, vCita’s LiveSuite software makes it easy for patients to register for and use an online patient portal. Here, patients can book an appointment, ask their doctor’s office a question, share a document with the office, pay for an invoice, or schedule a regular checkup. They also have access to their complete medical history, making it easier for patients to engage in their care. vCita focuses on automating as many processes as possible and allowing patients to take action on their own behalf, thus relieving a medical office’s staff of repetitive duties such as manually scheduling patient appointments and sending out billing reminders.
QGenda claims to be the #1 automated physician scheduling solution available, with more than 170,000 clinicians in over 30 medical specialties currently using the program. According to QGenda, their cloud based scheduling solution is the highest rated in overall satisfaction and overall product quality amongst physicians. The software’s scheduling engine is built to resolve scheduling conflicts on the fly, with the goal of reducing overall labor costs while optimizing performance and coverage. Additionally, a subscription to QGenda includes dedicated support staff with experience in your particular medical specialty’s scheduling needs. QGenda also offers various analytics and reporting options, along with the ability to integrate into your existing payroll and other business software systems.
BookSteam is a non-medical specific scheduling option that’s designed for large and small businesses alike. The program includes tools for calendar management that are designed to automate the scheduling process for patients, making it easier for them to book appointments on their own rather than having to call in and do it over the phone.
PracticeSuite is another full service, comprehensive medical scheduling and record management software option. Claiming to be both sophisticated and affordable, PracticeSuite offers a range of capabilities to medical offices. Physician billing services allow for claims to be outsourced with the aim of improving reimbursement rates. Electronic health records are designed to increase efficiency and charting accuracy. PracticeSuite’s medical billing software component is aimed at shortening the time from patient appointment to final payment, while its medical scheduling software cuts down on the number of no shows and improves the rate of cash collection. PracticeSuite also includes online payment services, automation of prior authorizations, an online patient portal, automated patient surveys, and a full medical customer relationship management (CRM) solution.
Like PracticeSuite, NueMD, and Phreesia, CareCloud is another full spectrum medical software suite option for practices large and small. As a cloud based software suite, CareCloud works to increase efficiency, improve each patient’s overall experience, and grow a practice’s margins over time as a result. CareCloud’s electronic health record system is specialty-driven, with an interface designed to integrate well with a given practice’s individual specialty. As part of the full software suite, CareCloud’s tools include revenue cycle management (RCM), electronic health record management, patient experience management, and in-office patient management.
Eclipse is an all-in-one practice management software solution. It includes patient and insurance billing, electronic health record capabilities, the ability to generate records and reports, and medical scheduling software functionality. Eclipse has been around for more than 25 years, and is designed with both large and small practices in mind.
TotalMD is a fully integrated medical specific software suite that includes practice management capabilities, electronic health record integration, medical scheduling software, and more. Both cloud-based and on-site software options are available.
Meditab provides is a cloud based and mobile ready practice management software solution. Case studies listed on the Meditab website claim that the software has been able to grow practices’ bottom lines by 28%, increase workflow efficiency by 80%, and increase overall patient volume by 30%. Meditab is specialty specific, offering products tailored to more than 25 different medical specialties. In addition to electronic health record and practice management, Meditab also includes patient engagement tools and billing software integrations.
Developed by GE, Centricity is an integrated practice management and electronic health record system. The software suite aims to be comprehensive, allowing providers to manage their practices, integrate merit-based incentive payment systems, and making it easy for patients to schedule appointments.
Medical Assisting Test Prep
While it’s important to familiarize yourself with some of the medical scheduling software solutions that you might encounter at any given practice, becoming a medical assistant means first completing your program of study and then passing one of the national tests that awards you certification. Whether it’s the CMA exam, the RMA exam, or any other national test, medical assisting test prep is essential to your success. ScopeNotes™ offers affordable and effective test prep for medical assistants: click here to get started.