Medical Billing and Coding Software
Comparing and Choosing the Perfect Package

Learn all about medical billing and coding software. What it is, why it's needed, how to choose the right electronic package for you, and overviews of popular options...

Doctor's offices rely heavily on the speed and efficiency of medical billing software.

Handling patient information electronically makes data entry for medical diagnosis and procedure codes easier. Turnaround for the payment of medical claims is also a lot faster.

For those of you considering a career in medical billing and coding, mastering medical billing and coding software is essential for getting any kind of employment in the field.

You may want to begin by looking at this step-by-step medical billing software walkthrough, which describes the steps taken in most software packages to enter new patient information and bill claims.

Features of medical billing software programs

Medical billing and coding software packages have a number of similar features
  • Connectivity: A typical medical billing software program runs on a Windows-based operating system with minimal system requirements.

    More comprehensive packages require purchasing modules which provide specialized features that enhance the functionality of the overall program.

    Some packages are web-based and run on a remote server. This lets you connect 24/7, 365 days a year from any remote location.

  • Functionality: A basic medical billing and coding software program allows you to:

    • register and schedule patients
    • enter insurance information
    • enter claims and charges
    • send claims to insurances
    • enter patient and insurance payments.

See our explanation of why medical appointment scheduling software is necessary for more information. The article also has a basic guide to scheduling appointments.

Other specialized systems are Electronic Medical Records (EMR) or Electronic Health Records (EHR), which are electronic versions of paper charts. These systems require portable computers and terminals in addition to the software itself.

If you switch to using web-based EMR, your office may be eligible for government incentives. See the guide to web-based EMR implementation incentives to see your office's eligibility and potential stimulus.

Modern billing software systems are HIPAA compliant and have the most up-to-date security standards in place to accept and store patient information. See the page on HIPAA compliant medical billing software for more information.

The best software includes built-in data encryption and security levels to be used by appropriate personnel working in the doctor's office.

Choosing your software

Choose your medical billing software depending on what your practice needs

The software that you ultimately choose will depend on the needs of your practice, including:

  • daily patient load
  • billing and coding
  • and the number of doctors.

The biggest thing you need to determine is which modules you need to perform all of your necessary daily functions, and your budget. The number of different modules on your software usually corresponds to the price of the software.

For example, if you only purchase a demographics and scheduling software, the price will be much lower than if you purchased software with full practice management functionality.

Furthermore, each software package is designed to work on only a specified amount of computers.

If you buy a single-user software, it means that the software will only work on one single computer. If, however, you need the software to function on 10 computers, then you will have to pay more for the added user-functionality.

You also need to factor in the ability of your software to change with your practice, such as:

  • The price of adding new modules
  • Can you add new doctors to the system and delete old doctors?
  • Can you split into multiple locations?
  • If you find that you do not need a module, can you have it removed from your software?

It can be tricky to know whether or not you're getting a good price for your software. We have a guide to medical billing software prices which explains how this kind of software is usually priced, and what you can expect to pay over the long-term (it's normally always more than the initial cost!).

So which one do you choose?

Choosing the right software can easily become one of the most confusing, time consuming, and stressful things you have ever done. And if you need the software to begin your billing service or practice, it can often be a crazy and demanding situation.

Keep in mind your special needs. Keep a notepad of all the things that you MUST have for your medical billing or practice management software, and a list of things you only WANT, but can live without.

Ultimately, your software choice should remind you of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. You may have to try a few out, but eventually you'll find the one that's just right.

You may find this short guide to comparing packages and choosing the best medical billing software useful.

There are many low-cost options if you're starting out. This guide to cheap medical billing software has overviews of popular, affordable packages.

We've compiled a list of medical billing software overviews, and rated each package according to a number of criteria. You may find this resource useful in making a purchase decision.

Specialist software

If you need to bill for a chiropractor, this list of the top chiropractic medical billing software packages should be useful in making a decision.

If you work in a hospital setting, it is strongly recommended that you use special software. This page explains why, and how to choose hospital billing software that matches your needs.

Durable medical equipment billing also requires different software. This article explains how to find the right DME medical billing software.

The Texas Health Information Network is a widely-used electronic transaction system and clearinghouse. Find out if THIN medical billing software is right for your office in this overview.

If you're ready to start choosing a medical billing and coding software package, we recommend you start by browsing these reviews and ratings. Good luck!

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