The medical industry has gone through a great deal over the last few years – disruptive changes that have affected not only how professionals deliver care, but how they use technology in their practices. Here are just a few of them:
Meaningful Use. At its core, this program focuses on the improvement of healthcare infrastructure, leveraging technology. It grants incentive payments to eligible professionals or hospitals who can demonstrate that they have engaged in efforts to adopt, implement or upgrade certified EHR technology. The result has been a torrent of technology developers entering the health care arena, providing not only Electronic Health Record systems, but also Electronic Medical Record and Practice Management software.
ICD-10 Coding. Recent wholesale revisions to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) impact nearly every business-related function within a practice, from billing to care plans to insurance claims. If practices were using any sort of management system tracking ICD codes (chances are, they were), the new system requires significant overhauls of technology and process.
Security. Keeping patient records safe has always been crucial. As practices have moved their sensitive data onto networks and cloud solutions, the need to protect systems has increased. With high-profile data hacks in the news, practice groups have employed IT and security professionals to buttress their systems against these threats.
Consolidation & Process. In a market with declining payer reimbursements and increasing costs, many practices have decided to pool resources, realizing economies of scale through mergers and acquisitions. This sort of change requires an utter rethinking of how business is conducted – new offices, new processes, new computer systems.
What does any of this have to do with payments technology?
These updates to how practices in the behavioral health and medical fields, while positive overall, have meant hardship for many. Practices have had to incur the expense and effort of implementing new systems. Developers of practice management systems have had to delay adding new features and functions, because dev cycles were dedicated to keeping software relevant and competitive in the face of these new requirements. Now that the bulk of development to meet these requirements is complete, developers can turn their attention to adding features.
For many, adding payment functionality is near the top of the list for software improvements. Patients are becoming more adept and knowledgeable on payment options. Mobile, NFC, patient portals, front office co-pays, recurring payments, wellness plans – there have never been so many avenues to pay a medical bill. The practice management system not offering advanced payment functionality is at a disadvantage.
The road is clear to look at development for payments in practice management software. OpenEdge’s single API model and expert developer resources can help you add this valuable feature. Learn more here.