What is Practice Management Software, Anyway?
November 20, 2023
When it comes to the ever-changing and complex world of healthcare, trying to figure out the subtle nuances between the different types of software solutions on the market can be a bit overwhelming. With so many vendors out there, journeying down the path to purchase can make even the most sophisticated of software aficionados tremble. But don’t stress; we’re here to break down what you need to know in an easy-to-digest, bite-sized way.
First, it’s important to know exactly what type of system your healthcare organization needs. Two of the most popular types of software used in healthcare include Laboratory Information Systems (LIS) and Practice Management Software. LIS is the platform of choice for molecular, clinical, and anatomic pathology laboratories, and practice management software is designed to help medical offices of any size run more efficiently.
What is Practice Management Software?
For medical clinics and offices, practice management tasks can seem never-ending. On any given day, the list includes the administration of daily operations, business planning, records management, client communications, hiring and managing staff, ordering and managing equipment and consumables, ensuring regulatory compliance, invoicing, and management of debtors, and appointment and calendar management. Medical practice management software helps clinics and offices deal with all of these aspects easily and efficiently by bridging the gap between clinical work and administrative tasks. Tasks like scheduling patient appointments, verifying insurance, and managing medical billing are very distinct from clinical roles that include the providing of health services.
Although practice management software generally includes features that involve patient information, practice management software is primarily designed to help medical clinics and offices manage administrative workflows, not clinical ones. Overall, practice management software helps improve a facility’s productivity and efficiency by allowing administrators and other staff to place more of their focus and efforts on patients and less on tedious, time-consuming paperwork. Some offices even use practice management software to connect with electronic medical records (EMRs), which is a completely different type of software. That’s why it’s important to note that medical practice management software is less about patient documentation or medical history and more about running the office.
What is the Purpose of Practice Management Software?
Practice management software can capture patient demographics but usually doesn’t include a patient’s medical history. It is specifically designed for healthcare practices to streamline and automate the common tasks that just can’t be easily managed with manual tasks. Although small, low-volume clinics and offices might be able to survive using manual, paper-based systems, most find that practice management software makes things run much more smoothly. Instead of having separate systems or ledgers for client contact records, treatment notes, appointment calendars, client referrals, and invoicing, practice management software enables all of this information to be in one integrated place.
Many practice management platforms even include reporting functionality that helps clinics and offices to better understand what’s happening within the organization in real-time.
The American Medical Association states that the goal of healthcare practice management is to enhance efficiency, professional satisfaction, and the delivery of patient care. In support of this, practice management software can help in many different ways. For example, with practice management software front desk staff will no longer have to make copies of patients’ insurance cards. Instead, they can simply scan the cards with the software capturing all of the necessary fields.
More Benefits of Medical Practice Management Software
Physicians can also use practice management software to validate a procedure with an insurance company before ordering it. This also helps patients that are uncertain about their insurance coverage or confused by an Explanation of Benefits (EOB). Practice management software even reduces paperwork and gives billers the ability to search through patient records as well as digital reports covering insurance information, remittances, and claim advice. Because practice management software maintains documents and data online, it streamlines operations within a practice, including the ability to search EMR/EHR documents.
What is a Laboratory Information System (LIS)?
Molecular, clinical, and anatomic pathology labs play a critical role within the overall healthcare delivery ecosystem. That’s why it’s important to understand what a laboratory information system (LIS), or lab information management software, is, as well as how it differs from practice management software. Simply stated, a LIS is a software system that helps to manage many aspects of molecular, clinical, and anatomic pathology laboratories, including inputting, processing, and storing the information and data of a lab. These specialized systems act as a data warehouse for all pathology and reference lab cases and include reporting, image acquisition, direct digital interface with microscopes, label printing, electronic sign-out, quality control, integration with prior test results, auto reflexing, and more. The LIS has become a common part of the data infrastructure of advanced healthcare systems, busy laboratories, and hospitals.
Inside labs, the LIS manages the data flow of information, including various lab processes, such as recording, updating, and storing patient-related data, along with sample management tracking, and reports management. LigoLab’s LIS & RCM Laboratory Operating Platform is a great example of today’s best-in-class solutions. The enterprise-grade software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution includes modules for anatomic pathology (AP), molecular diagnostics (MDx), clinical pathology (CP), billing (RCM), and direct-to-consumer (D2C), all on a single integrated platform that is infinitely configurable and supports every role (administrative, operational, financial), within the laboratory.
What Does LigoLab’s LIS & RCM Laboratory Operating Platform Do?
LigoLab’s platform ensures full interoperability with instruments, electronic health and medical records (EMRs and EHRs), and third-party services adopted by laboratories. Other salient features of the system include powerful specimen barcoding and tracking support, a robust and searchable audit trail, compliance verification at every stage, a built-in interface engine, flexible engines for rules and automation, fully customizable reports, and multiple distribution options. This comprehensive bundle of features comes with a user-friendly interface and unlimited customization capability to cater to the unique needs of various customers no matter the size of their laboratory operations, or the type of testing under their practice.
According to Frost & Sullivan analyst Amartya Bose, “LigoLab’s truly integrated LIS & RCM platform allows for the seamless integration, transparency, and situational awareness of all laboratory operations and RCM processes through its real-time, queue-facilitated workflow. This RCM module ensures billing cycle management starts at the order initiation, providing a single source of truth that’s supported by automated coding and regulatory claim compliance verification, thus reducing the risk of denials at a later stage by up to 98 percent and improving the net collections for laboratories.”
The LigoLab Laboratory Operating Platform is designed for use at general or specialized pathology practices large and small, and integration with hospital management systems. The platform also delivers maximum interoperability to all instruments and devices, EMRs/EHRs, and third-party services.
LigoLab LIS is under constant development in an ongoing effort to support every laboratory role. As such is the case, it would not be out of the realm of possibilities for the platform to someday soon incorporate all practice management functionality within the LIS. That’s the direction that we’re headed in as LigoLab and its partner labs are constantly on the lookout for ways to become even more efficient.
Can You Tell Me More About LigoLab?
LigoLab is an award-winning provider of innovative end-to-end healthcare software for pathology laboratories, servicing hundreds of facilities nationwide. As a comprehensive enterprise-grade solution, the LigoLab LIS & RCM Laboratory Operating Platform™ includes modules for anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, molecular diagnostics, revenue cycle management, and direct-to-consumer, all on one powerful and integrated platform that supports every role, every department, and every case. LigoLab empowers laboratories to better serve patients, differentiate themselves in the marketplace, scale their operations, become more compliant, and more profitable.