What is Practice Management Software vs. EHR?

Federal regulations like the 21st Century Cures Act and the HITECH Act are increasingly standardizing and demanding improvements to healthcare data management and software systems. These regulations — and public opinion in general — call for more security, interoperability, and value from digital processes in healthcare.

Two software solutions most commonly used by healthcare professionals and practices are practice management software (PM) and electronic health records (EHRs). These are just two components of Benchmark Solutions’ comprehensive healthcare solutions suite designed to support providers, staff, and patients. But what does each type of software do, and how are they different?

Below, we’ll explore some key differences in the purposes and capabilities of practice management vs. EHRs.

Practice Management Software: Administrative Support

Managing a medical practice is like managing any other business, only more complex, more sensitive, and with more regulations at the state and federal levels.

Whereas traditional businesses have a relatively straightforward process of billing customers for products and services rendered, practice managers and medical billing teams must navigate health insurance providers’ requirements, patients’ benefits and deductibles, and time-sensitive revenue cycles.

In addition to complex financial processes, medical practice management software also entails scheduling staff, patients, resources, and procedures. Scheduling can be a convoluted process as it requires coordination of multiple individuals, medical machinery, and potential changes in insurance coverage. When appointments are double-booked, rescheduled, or canceled, the entire practice’s efficiency, reputation, and revenue are all at risk.

Benchmark Solutions’ practice management software streamlines these complicated workflows to decrease the burden on administrative staff while avoiding common pitfalls and frustrations. With Benchmark PM, patients and staff can more easily collaborate from anywhere on these common administrative tasks:

Patient onboarding

Quickly capture patient demographics to create a medical profile while scheduling their first appointment, allowing for faster check-in. If your practice management system is integrated with your electronic health records, this patient data can automatically populate into their EHR before their first appointment.

Appointment scheduling

Benchmark PM allows administrators to easily navigate and filter calendars by provider availability, location, and required equipment so they can browse possible appointment times. Scheduling staff can even set appointment requirements so the system can automatically find the first appropriate time slot.

Electronic billing and patient statements

Once submitted, ICD-10 and CPT codes entered into Benchmark EHR can automatically populate into Benchmark PM, where billing administrators can import codes, make changes, and issue claims. Instantly generate patient statements on command, so patients stay in-the-know about their services and upcoming charges.

Online bill-pay

Benchmark PM allows patients to pay outstanding balances from anywhere, anytime, through our secure payment portal. Patients can even select specific services to pay for, amounts to pay, or pay the entire balance at once without waiting to speak with staff during office hours.

Claims management

Stay ahead of revenue cycle deadlines to avoid claims denials. View your claim status in real-time, allowing you to work, correct, or refile claims all in one place for easier and faster reimbursement from insurance payers.

The intricacies of managing an entire practice’s budget, staffing, scheduling, and patient care call for flexible, customizable software that can provide an efficient framework while also adapting to constant change. By standardizing processes and employing automation, technology can bear the brunt of day-to-day operations, so staff can better focus on providing personalized care to their patients.

Electronic Health Records:
Patient Data Management

Healthcare providers can only provide effective, personalized healthcare if they have the data necessary to support it. Electronic health records (EHRs) serve as cloud-based patient files containing comprehensive records of all their health information, including patient demographics, medical histories, diagnoses, treatment plans, medication prescriptions, and appointment schedules.

While practice management software is critical to a practice’s success on the administrative side, EHRs help collect and organize patient information so clinicians can instantly locate necessary data from patient records with a few clicks.

What about EMRs?

Electronic medical records (EMRs) are digital versions of traditional paper charts, whereas EHRs are more comprehensive, going beyond the quantitative data of labs and biometric data to include qualitative medical information, like symptoms and progress notes. Both are vital to effective patient care, but EHR systems are more conducive to establishing and maintaining a long-term patient relationship.

Benchmark EHR allows direct two-way communication between patients and a healthcare practice’s staff about ongoing treatments and changes in symptoms. Through the patient portal, patients can access lab results, order prescription refills, message their provider, check appointments, and complete forms.

Like practice management software, EHRs have the ability to broaden and improve patient care without additional time and effort required from practice staff. Consider how these software features could benefit your practice, staff, and patients:

HIPAA-compliant communication and data storage

Each patient’s medical history is unique and highly sensitive. You need patient records that are easily accessible by approved parties, yet protected according to regulatory requirements. Storing patient information with Benchmark EHR means you don’t have to worry about compliance — because we do it for you.

ICD-10 and CPT coding

Coding errors can cause billing claims denials, revenue cycle lags, and patient frustration. Benchmark EHR’s automated code recommendations are based on time spent and level of complexity, saving you time and money.

Test results and progress notes

Keep an accurate, time-stamped record of past diagnostic lab results and progress through treatment plans. These records can be located and referenced instantly during a patient interaction and shared with specialists for referrals, in medical billing claims, or with the patients themselves.

Patient portals

With a user-friendly patient portal, patients can easily access lab results, order prescription refills, message their provider, check appointments, and complete forms to streamline office visits and improve patient engagement.


Benchmark Solutions Can Build the Perfect System for You

Don’t adapt your practice’s operations to a software vendor’s process. Benchmark Solutions’ customizable interface and exceptional product support allow us to work with you to put your staff’s and patients’ needs first.

Our practice management and electronic health records software can revolutionize the care you provide — and that’s just two pieces of our all-encompassing healthcare solutions suite. We’ve been working with healthcare organizations for decades, using their input to constantly improve our solutions’ capabilities and adapt to the market’s ever-changing needs.

Whether you want to learn more about how Benchmark Solutions can work for you, or you want to share your thoughts, we’re here to listen.

Contact us today and consult our experts.

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